Elena Pesavento and Caroline Martell, 14-year-old Girl Scouts from Virginia, recently completed the 15-day Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge course with Outward Bound Costa Rica (OBCR). Alongside Girl Scouts from all over the country, Pesavento and Martell volunteered 41 hours each, contributing to two major service-learning projects and pushed themselves beyond their comfort zone with an array of adventure activities.
The girls and and their respective groups began their time in Costa Rica contributing to reforestation projects in a nature reserve located near the Outward Bound Costa Rica base. Next, the Girl Scouts journeyed to the small indigenous village in the Talamanca region where they volunteered their time painting a community hall, weeding and planting in a greenhouse, and more. The group spent time with the elementary students and wider community, practicing their Spanish, learning a few words in the local Bribri language and discovering more about cultures and customs in Central America.
Just across the border on the Caribbean Coast of Panama in San San Pond Sak, Pesavento and Martell participated in another service project to protect endangered leatherback sea turtles, working with local biologists to build habitats, catalogue nests, measure, weigh and release hatchlings and perform night patrols to protect mama turtles as they lay their eggs.
After returning to OBCR’s rainforest base in Costa Rica, the groups tackled Class III and IV rapids on the Pejibaje River, ziplined through the canopies, and enjoyed a city tour of San Jose to finish up their adventure.
“Outward Bound Costa Rica’s programs, like the one [they] participated in, create environments that allow for personal and leadership development through challenges, group effort and cross-cultural understanding,” said Jim Rowe, Executive Director of Outward Bound Costa Rica.
Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has been partnered with Girl Scouts of the USA to offer unique and
exciting Girl Scouts Destinations trips in Costa Rica and Panama. These trips provide young students the
opportunity to see the world, meet fellow Girl Scouts from across the nation and challenge themselves through adventure in unfamiliar settings.