How did you spend your summer? Did you hike through the lush Costa Rican rainforest and experience the country’s oldest traditions; or perhaps did you volunteer in Panama in efforts to protect endangered sea turtles and learn to scuba dive?
Well that’s exactly what these two local Girl Scouts did! Allison Schultz from Dallas was one of nine Girl Scouts from across the nation selected to participate in a Girl Scout destinations program in Costa Rica and Zara Evans of Plano was one of twelve to participate in a volunteer program in Panama.
Schultz, 15, participated in the Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Rainforest, River and Reef Destination, which is a unique course that features a 7-day tropical rainforest trek, an 80-foot waterfall rappel, and cultural immersion with traditional Costa Rican families.
Before reaching the family homestays, Schultz and her fellow Girl Scouts hiked and camped their way through untouched rainforest, seeing natural waterfalls and learning about the unique ecology from their Costa Rican instructors. The most difficult section, a 17-km stretch of terrain that the girls traversed, required them to support each other and use teamwork.
“Outward Bound Costa Rica has been an incredible way to see the world and participate in activities I wouldn’t have done otherwise,” said Schultz.
Evans, 14, participated in the Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure destination.
This 14-day course included a multi-day service project at San San Pond Sak, wetlands located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. There the girls dedicated their time to protecting the endangered leatherback sea turtle population. Evans and her group led night patrols where they monitored turtle numbers and nests.
“It was a life changing experience that will hopefully make me and others better people.” As Evans reflected more on her time in Costa Rica and Panama she said, “I loved releasing the sea turtles and meeting new people.”
Evans and her group spent the second half of their time in Panama based on the remote island of Solarte, located in the Bocas del Toro Province. There the girls learned about the local ecology and marine life while they learned how to scuba dive.
For more information regarding Girl Scout travels, click here.