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    Global Leadership Adventures: Costa Rica – The Initiative for Children

    Global Leadership Adventures: Costa Rica – The Initiative for Children


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destination: Costa Rica
    • Provided By: Independent Provider
    • Session Start: July
    • Session Length: Three Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: Community Service
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
    • Minimum Cost: $3,000 - $6,999
    • Career Clusters: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Education and Training, Human Services
    • Credit Awarded: No
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    Learn how development issues in rural Costa Rica, from education access to sustainable land use, are all related to youth wellness. You’ll be based in a very small town far from developed tourism hot spots. Bond with children and families from your neighborhood as you volunteer in their schools, help lead environmental education or community sports projects, and spend time working with grassroots organizations passionate about engaging the community in sustainable practices.

    Embrace Costa Rica’s Children And Make An Impact On The Next Generation In One Of Two Ways: Through Community Development At Local Schools Or Via Sports Leadership.

    -Volunteer on infrastructure projects at rural schools
    -Discuss critical community issues
    -Bond with local youth through cultural exchange or a shared love for sports
    -Experience Costa Rica’s rainforest canopy on a zipline and on horseback
    -Go river tubing on Rio Arenal near the volcano and relax in hot springs
    -Go on 2 overnight excursions: to the beach for a catamaran ride and snorkeling, and a whitewater rafting adventure (21-Day Flagship Program only)

    Community Service


    Work at a school or community center, where local children spend extended time every day. With community members and students, improve the infrastructure and conditions of the site, learn about the local challenges since COVID and opportunities available to children in the community. Depending on the needs of the community when you arrive, you might maintain gardens, build a greenhouse where food can be grown, refurbish a classroom or work on repairs.


    Sports can be an effective vehicle for positive change. Available only on the 14-day program, students with a passion for sports can lead projects that grow youth access to sports. Work on improving sports equipment or facilities used by youth and/or local community members, and with a little luck, lead community sports activities.

    Immersive Learning

    While Costa Rica is well known for its environmental and educational efforts, see first-hand how persistent development issues affect the daily lives of its youth. Visit some of the farms that surround the town of Santa Teresa. Students in the schools you’ll volunteer at are from the families who work on these pineapple and livestock farms. Try your hand at milking a cow, making cheese, and learn how coffee is grown. While here, spend time learning what it’s like to grow up and live in Costa Rica. Cross-cultural interaction provides lasting memories for the students, opening up opportunities for language exchange, various lessons and mutual inspiration.


    Take time away from community service and experience the adventurous side of Costa Rica. Ride on horseback near the world-famous Arenal Volcano. Relax in amazing hot springs, and follow a local guide who will teach you about the cultural traditions, history and natural features of the area. Wind your way through the farms and enjoy the unhurried pace of life. Go kayaking on a nearby lake. Follow that up with an incredible ziplining expedition and take to the water on a fun river tubing excursion. You’ll even have a chance to spend the afternoon swimming  in your very own private lake behind Home Base! On the 21-Day Flagship Program only, you’ll go on an epic whitewater rafting excursion down the Pacuare River.

    Reviews (2)

    • The Initiative for Children
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Nov/04/2017 by Jessie Paquette

      I cannot say enough about my trip with Global Leadership Adventures. I was 16 and traveling alone and to be honest I was terrified. That feeling went away very fast though because as I met the other people on my trip I realized a huge majority of them came alone too and we bonded very fast. I felt safe with my mentors and other GLA staff 24/7. I am a vegetarian and they were always very accommodating to everyones dietary issues. I loved all the work we did and loved how much responsibility we were given with the kids. We did lesson planning at night and I was even given the opportunity to lead a dance activity with someone else on the trip as we were both dancers. The bonds you create with the kids are honestly incredible. This is the best experience and I recommend it to everyone I know.

    • Costa Rica: Initiative for Children 2016
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Aug/21/2016 by Emily

      I vividly remember the day I found out that high school volunteer programs exist, I excitedly screamed at my computer as I realized that something I never realized was possible could truly come true for me. I struggled to convince my parents to let me travel alone and when I found the Initiative for Children and my parents agreed, it was just too good to be true. Still today, a few weeks after returning home from my trip, it is just too good to be true. I met a new family and created a bond with people who are just like me, passionate and driven. I've never felt as strong as I felt while my group built a driveway and mixed batch after painstaking batch of cement. So many little things throughout those three weeks changed my life, from when our little local friend named Josue remembered my name to when I conquered my fear of the ocean and killed it while surfing on Playa Guiones! I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone who is willing and ready to commit to three weeks of life-changing service and adventure.