Our Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge course provides you an exciting opportunity to experience a new culture through service projects and adventure activities. While on course, you will work to improve the lives of Costa Rica’s rural, indigenous peoples and to protect the unique and fragile ecosystems of these tropical regions. Meet other Girl Scouts, expand your cultural awareness and leave Costa Rica and Panama better than you found it.
Experience a tropical adventure while making a difference in a unique cultural setting. On this 14-day course, you will dedicate your time to assisting with community projects in an indigenous village in Costa Rica and to protecting the unique and fragile ecosystem of Panama. Past year’s participants have earned up to 65 hours of community service.
You will begin your first major service project in the indigenous region of Talamanca, Costa Rica. While staying in a remote village, you will work with your group to support the local community. Projects may include food distribution, garden building, painting, teaching English, building aqueducts and recycling projects. Learn about native customs, culture, language, and food while making an active contribution to the community.
For your second major service project, you will travel just across the border of Costa Rica to protect the diverse marine life located along the Caribbean Coast of Northern Panama. Learn about and protect Panama’s beautiful and interesting ecosystems while working on a sea turtle conservation project. Assist with local conservation efforts through activities such as nightly patrols, cataloging nests, habitat creation, and (hopefully!) releasing newly hatched baby turtles into the wild. You may also participate in other service projects such as beach clean-ups and/or trail preservation.
When you are not engaged in service projects, experience an action-packed adventure while braving the rapids on a day of whitewater rafting, zipping through the treetops on a canopy tour, and soaking in the vibrant culture of Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose with a visit to a local artisan market.
Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has been hosting Girl Scouts from across the nation, honing its approach to experiential education for this unique program. Girl Scouts will be exposed to Outward Bound Costa Rica’s focus on both leadership and personal development throughout their adventure, facilitated by discussions and meetings woven into all course activities. Explore how the challenges you meet in and out of the Costa Rican waves help you confront the challenges that life presents.
15 scholarships worth $500 of financial assistance, available to select participants.
Download your application here.
Session 1: 6/21 – 7/5
Session 2: 7/5 – 7/19
This course is open only to current members of Girl Scouts of the USA. Tetanus vaccination and valid passport required before arrival.
Outward Bound Costa Rica provides all meals, safety gear and camping equipment. Students will be provided a detailed packing list for clothing, toiletries and personal gear. All students are asked to bring personal spending money, as souvenirs and incidental expenses are the responsibility of the student. Please see the packing list for information regarding items not allowed on course.
Students will be camping or staying as a group in student dorms (bedding provided).
Surfboards are provided, but you may bring your own if you would like.
Airfare to and from San Jose, Costa Rica is not included in course tuition. All international travelers are required to pay a US$28 exit tax prior to departure; this is the responsibility of the student.
All students are met at the airport by Outward Bound Costa Rica and transported to our main base facility outside of San Jose. Outward Bound Costa Rica provides all transportation throughout the duration of the course, including transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport on the final day of course. Airport regulations do not allow us to accompany students into the airport unless they travel as an Unaccompanied Minor (a paid service provided by each airline).
Because safety is paramount, all itineraries may change on account of weather and water conditions. All of our instructors have internationally recognized safety certifications relevant to their specialties. A minimum of two instructors accompany groups at all times.
To participate, girl scouts must complete the following steps:
1. Download and fill out the Girl Scouts Destinations application and reference forms. Submit your completed application to your girl scouts council. Specify which session(s) you are applying for when filling out your application. If you are applying for more than one destination with Outward Bound Costa Rica, please rank your preferences (1 being your top choice). You will only be accepted to one summer destination with Outward Bound Costa Rica.
For early applications (deadline: December 1, 2013): All acceptance notices will be emailed by January 16, 2014. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will be unable to answer any questions related to your acceptance status before this date. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Late applicants welcome on a space available basis! Ask your council contact to fax or email your application to ensure its timely arrival.
2. If accepted, follow the instructions in your acceptance email to reserve your place on course. You will be asked to complete a detailed enrollment form as well as submit a $200 USD nonrefundable deposit towards the full course tuition. Deposits can be paid with a Visa credit card, wire transfer or by personal check. Please see our Payment Information page for more details.
Note: Deposits for early application acceptances are due no later than February 1, 2014.