Costa Rican Adventures, Wildlife and Service – Costa Rica Community Service

Hola from Costa Rica! We have had an exciting week and have so much to update you on so hang tight. We just spent an amazing few days in Flamingo and Rincon de la Vieja exploring wildlife, going on adventures, and of course serving the community.

We left Arenal and the stunning volcano and made our way to the Tamarindo shores and immediately kicked off our visit with some surfing lessons. After practising on the sand, we were anxious to hit the waves. Julia and Alex looked like they had been surfing for years! Sammi hit almost every wave she tried, and Egor loved it so much he asked to come back the next day. Surf was definitely up for the group.

The next day we went to help paint a small rural school. We had so much fun helping to beautify the classrooms and hallway. We worked together and the end result was one of our greatest accomplishments to date.

After painting, we rewarded ourselves and went to the beach, or as we like to say “vamos a la playa!” The waves were the perfect size for body surfing, and everyone made their way into the water for a while.

We were excited the next day to continue our work with the school. We cleaned up and moved all of the furniture so that the school would be ready for the students who were coming back from vacation the next day. Jess K. was very attentive to her painting job detailing letters and ensuring that her spot was clean.

With time flying by here in Costa Rica we were once again on the road and en route to Rincon de la Vieja. That meant we could finally zipline! There were 8 different zipline trails through the beautiful rainforest and we all felt like monkeys flying through the trees. After the first push off, Tara’s adrenaline was pumping and she was all smiles. Hannah and Diane showed off their adventurous side by climbing up the rock wall.

We couldn’t get enough of the Costa Rican rainforest, and the next day took a hike to a waterfall and swimming hole. Jess S. was one of the first ones to jump in. Alyssa and Olivia were quick to follow. Since we felt so in touch with nature, we continued our journey with a natural Costa Rican mud bath with purified mud from the volcano lava. We washed off in a hot spring and enjoyed the sauna which was relaxing for all of us. We were sad to leave the next day, but ready to get back to the Central Valley for more service.

On Monday we were all ready for service, especially Vasily who couldn’t wait to dig the moat for a house. Melissa impressed us all with her shovelling sustainability. Once again, our team’s work ethic was incredible and admirable. Everyone’s hard work and dedication continued the next day when we went to a school to play with the students. Aisling took control in one of the classrooms and lead a group of students in many engaging games. The kids were so grateful to her and the rest of us for coming to spend time with them. They hugged us and begged us not to leave at the end of the day. We were just as sad to go. However, we are now looking forward to this weekend when we get to run a sports camp for the children we met in La Carpio – it should be a lot of fun!

We can’t wait to update you with more Costa Rica adventures! Until then…

Costa Rica Community Service Teen Tour

The Westcoast Blogger

Keepin’ cool in Coolangatta! – Australia plus Hawaii

Hello from Down Unda!

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It is hard to believe we are already on day 9 of our trip here in Australia. Since our last scribe, we have spent 4 wonderful days in The Gold Coast, spending a lot of our time in Surfers Paradise. The name really does live up to its expectation; it truly is a paradise on earth. The beaches and views are simply breathtaking.

We had a day of travel from Fraser Island, where we took the opportunity to play some fun games on the bus and get to know each other a little more, which seemed to make the time go by quickly. When we arrived in Surfers, we checked into the Outriggers Surfers Paradise Hotel.  The hotel is in a perfect location, ideal for walks on the beach, shops, cafes and plenty of restaurants to dine at. We went for dinner as a group and then to the Infinity Interactive Light Show, which is a maze of lights, mirrors, and padded floors. All the trip members felt like they were in a dream or having some sort of illusion while walking through the light show. Rebecca, Chelsea, Kelly, Greer, and Morgan loved the light show so much they went back the next day after dinner and made sure to snap a few pictures to show friends when they get home.

The Next morning trip leader Derek led Chase, Julie, Lexi, Alina, and Holly on a nice jog along the ocean. It was a perfect start to an eventful day. After breakfast we went to Dreamworld. The park had so much to offer. Lauren and Noa got their fortunes read; Danny was able to attend a much anticipated tiger show; Robby got to feed one of the tigers horsemeat through a cage; Adam conquered his fear of amusement rides with the help of a few friends and went on one of the park’s scariest rides. After a fun filled day in the amusement park we went back to the hotel and had some time to walk around and see what the shops had to offer. Sydney, Ariana and a few other girls just had to purchase a pair of UGGs, which of course originated in Australia, that even came with a certification verifying they are the “ real deal.” We then went to supper and broke off into smaller groups as each group picked a restaurant of their interest. On the way to dinner, we passed some local buskers. The kids encouraged the performers to play Wonderwall by Oasis, next thing you knew we had 32 teenagers singing along on the streets of Surfers Paradise. That night Melissa, Chase, Drew and Ashley tried eating teriyaki kangaroo, which they all described as being delicious.

The next morning, we had a much-needed sleep in. Everyone woke up fresh and ready to take on an afternoon of surfing in Coolangatta. Where Owen, Morgan and Sidney Shiffman proved to be naturals. We also had some time to walk around Coolangatta and indulged in some of the delicious cafes and restaurants around town. Some of the members took the opportunity to shop at Rip Curl, a surf store that originated in Australia. Later that night we went bowling where some people such as Zach K showed off his killer bowling skills getting four strikes and a couple spares. Brennan surprised herself as much as everyone else earning her first ever strike.

Well that’s it for now; we took off to Cairns and are looking forward to more adventures in the outback and rainforest! We’ll send another update soon.

Hope all is well at home!
~Your favorite Aussie crew

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