When Virginia LaGrow was accepted* into the Rainforest River & Reef course in 2009, she had no idea what kinds of adventures she would face and what she would learn. But after returning from course in July, she knew what she experienced and the lessons she learned were worth sharing. From school to a Girlfest Convention, Virginia earned the title of Costa Rica Outward Bound Ambassador for her work informing others about her experience. Read her course reflection below, taken from an essay she wrote.
As you walk through the mountains of Costa Rica you will hear the birds chirping, snakes slithering, rivers running and leaves rushing from above. The air you breath in is clear, no pollution to tint it at all.
With friends by your side, this is a paradise that I would love to return to someday.
I thought I would just stay at the homestays, eat, sleep then get up in the morning and hike again, but it was more than that. The families helped us relax after the day of backpacking, they came and even if we couldn’t understand them, they would watch what we were doing, the moms made sure we had enough to eat, they were really nice. It was something that I had not expected at all.
I think my favorite thing on the trip was meeting all the girls from different parts of the country. It was fun to talk and find out where they liked to go to eat lunch or what they did for fun. It was really fun when we found words we all said differently. Even if we were all different we were friends in a day.
Going down the 200 foot waterfall was really weird. When I was waiting for my turn to go down, I was really, really scared, but as I was being told what to do and how to do it, I was less scared. Then, as I was going down the waterfall, I found out that I was paying attention to not falling instead of being scared to falling. That was really unexpected, but I still had the time of my life!
Backpacking was really fun, too. I had done it before with my family, but nothing compared to this. At first we were all going at a pretty good pace, but then a girl started to go really slow. Obviously she had not exercised at all, and it really aggravated all of us. But we were patient and before we know it, we were at our destination, even though it was later than we would have liked. I learned another level of patience from this experience and really liked how we all came tighter.
While I was hiking, I learned that I don’t give up easily. I learned that for a girl my age, I’m pretty persistent. I kept going even when my heart felt like it would give out at any time, and my lungs we hurting so much. Afterward I was really happy with myself. I think I will want to do backpacking again soon.
I had so much fun. Of course I missed my family and friends, but along the thirty miles I hiked, I had found at least sixteen new friends across the states. I would love to do another Destination in the future. This has made a great impact on my life and when I get old enough, I want to travel and make even more friends all over the world!
Read more "Girl Scouts Who Earn It":
Part 1: Kelly Wolf
Part 1: Kelly Wolf
*The Destinations program, on behalf of Girl Scouts USA, is a chance for members to participate in enriching travel and adventure opportunities, ages 11-18. Girl Scouts must apply through their respective Councils. Applications consist of an essay explaining their ambition to attend, two recommendations describing her as a qualified participant, and a general Q&A portion.
Costa Rica Outward Bound has been a Destination location for more than five years. In 2010, there are four Destinations for ages 13-18: Underwater Explorers, Rainforest River & Reef, Service Challenge, and Catching Waves. Click on the studio2b links on their respective crrobs.org pages to find the applications.