GIRL SPEAK: Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Ms. Elizabeth was the recipient of our Sea Turtle Retreat Scholarship essay contest back in September, 2015!


 

By Elizabeth, Girl Scout

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A photo of our whole group after doing community service – sanding and repainting at the community center in Ostional, where we stayed on the coast.

My Girl Scout Destination experience in Costa Rica has positively affected many aspects of my life.  Ever since I have returned to the U.S., I am more aware of my impact on wildlife around me and my community. I have also become more appreciative of my life.  These experiences have given me confidence in my abilities and helped me make up my mind about my future studies. Going to Costa Rica has really helped me become more aware of how I am impacting the world and all of the life around me, both near and far away. My time in Costa Rica made me more aware that everything I do has an impact on all life, even life I don’t know or think anything about it.

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Part of our Girl Scout group at the beach in Ostional.

While I was in Costa Rica the natural scenery and wildlife were the most beautiful I had ever seen. For example, we traveled to a volcano, watched sea turtles lay their eggs, and saw an endangered leatherback turtle. But, the instructors also told us about how rain forests are being destroyed which is harming the eco-system. Now, I am being more conscious of how my actions impact the environment. Since I have gotten back, I have tried to change some of my daily habits. For example, I try not to eat beef or any meat. By doing this I can make a little difference. Even though it might not be very much, I know it’s something. Traveling to a developing country also gave me the chance to be more appreciative of the things I have and the place I am able to live. This trip gave me the chance to meet people from all different walks of life – both American Girl Scouts and local Costa Ricans.

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Our group made time for some fun and went zip-lining!

I loved getting the chance to meet different people and hearing their stories of they grew up. By interacting with some of my counselors and the local people I got a little taste of Costa Rican culture and life. I really liked the Costa Rican people that I met, and I also noticed that their living conditions were much simpler than my own. After my trip, I now have a better understanding of how poverty affects daily life for people in some parts of the world and I am thinking of what I can do to help. Lastly this trip made me more confident about my future and helped me make up my mind about what I want to do in college. This was the first time that I traveled completely on my own. There were some delays and complications with my flight home, but everything worked out and now I know that I can travel on my own in the future. Additionally, I was undecided about what I wanted to study before I got the chance to go to on this destination.

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The sea turtles we traveled thousands of miles to help save.

Before I went, I was considering Forensic Science or Marine Biology. After going to Costa Rica and getting to work with the sea turtles, I have decided to choose environmental studies or marine biology as my major for college. I feel more certain about my decision and my future, now, thanks to this trip. Overall, I know I was so lucky to have been selected for the Girl Scout scholarship and to have been able to have an experience that has impacted my life so much. Before I left, I was excited, but I didn’t realize how much I would learn and how my whole perspective would be changed.

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The whole group at Base Camp, near San Jose.

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