Destinations Spotlight: Exploring the Rainforest

Destinations Spotlight: Exploring the Rainforest

Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something exciting for every girl! You will not only acquire new life-changing experiences, but you will also make friends from all over the country as you travel with Girl Scouts from different states.

This past summer, some of the girls in our council went on their own Destinations adventures; three of our Girl Scouts participated in Space Camp at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, one explored the European Alps and the other trekked through the Costa Rican Rainforest! We hope you enjoy this story from Girl Scout Veronica as she explored one of wettest places in the world!

Veronica and her fellow Girl Scouts hiking through the mountains.

Veronica Kleinschmidt’s Trip Journal

This past summer, I spent two weeks in Costa Rica on the Rainforest, River, & Reef Destination trip. Along with six other girls, I spent eight days hiking in the rainforest while staying with local families and experiencing the local culture first hand. We got a chance to make brown sugar out of sugar cane, empanadas with fresh home-made cheese, and learn about and plant banana trees. Afterwards, we spent two days at the beach near the Manuel Antonio National Park, enjoying ourselves and the plentiful wildlife of the park.

We rounded out our trip with some high adventures: zip-lining on a canopy tour, rappelling down a waterfall, and whitewater rafting on a nearby river.

This trip opened my eyes to a different, simpler lifestyle. The families we stayed with were very friendly and open, and so were their houses. Most had no windows or doors and those that had them,kept them open all the time. The families relied on the land for food, eating fruits from their own fruit trees, chicken and tilapia that they raised, and milk and cheese from their own cows. The banana trees were used not only for harvesting bananas, but the leaves served as wrappers for food to take along, and for making fire. Even entertainment was provided by nature. Together with the young children of one of the families, we enjoyed jumping and swimming in a nearby waterfall and running a makeshift obstacle course built in a ditch in between the sugar cane plantation, the chicken coop, and the pig sty. Children from the whole settlement tended to play together unsupervised.

Most houses had no TVs or other electronics, and we didn’t even wear a watch during the whole trip. Life there goes at a measured pace; we woke up with the rooster’s cry, ate when we were hungry, and went to bed when it got dark.

This trip made me appreciate the benefits of a simple lifestyle, separate from what we experience daily in the modern world. There was a huge contrast between the life we experienced in Costa Rica and our lifestyle at home. Even though they had much fewer possessions than we do in the US, they enjoyed their lives just as much or even more than we do.

My days in Costa Rica inspired me to slow down in my own life, and to try to incorporate the “Pura Vida” motto in my daily life (Pura Vida means a simpler life, less stress, being thankful for what one has, and dwelling lesson the negatives). It also confirmed my desire to make adventure a part of my life.I will continue to participate in adventure activities and I hope I can continue to travel and discover new cultures.

If you’re interested in going on a Destination, check out the GSUSA website.

Learn more about other GCNWI travel opportunities.

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