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Posted by Rick Civelli | 08.09.2012 | Costa Rica Surf Camp, Teen Camps

2012 Teen Costa Rica Surf Camp – Nick Oscheneek

When traveling to a foreign country, a true traveler can’t help but feel a certain spirit of adventure even as the plane begins to race off the track from their point of departure. Though I’m not a stranger to adventure, the feelings I had as I departed for Costa Rica were somehow different from any I have experienced before. As a first time WB Surf Camp employee, the trip represented a way to prove my worth to an amazing company that provided me with an unbelievable opportunity; as an avid surfer and adventurer, the trip represented a unique chance to affect the lives of 12 teenagers while discovering the nature, culture, and breaks of a mythical tropical paradise; and as a college student going through a difficult situation in the family, Costa Rica represented an escape.

I’ve flown into Barcelona, Rio, Miami, D.C., Casablanca, Lisbon, Berlin, Marrakech, England, Sao Paulo, Cancun, Brasilia,  so on and so forth… but the view flying into Liberia, Costa Rica beat all the rest, by thousands of miles. I say this because every time my generally nature-centric trips start out, the landscapes before landing, while on most occasions are extremely beautiful in their own right, are characterized by sprawling urban metropolises, or at the very least suburbs, favelas, or shanties dotting the landscape for as far as the eye can see. On that flight from Miami to Costa Rica, when we burst through the clouds at 12:43pm Tico Time, I could sparsely see a house, let alone any manmade scar across the vast expanse of green before me. As we neared Libera, with the indescribably beautiful coast line behind us, the landscape maintained its majestic and natural feel. I instantly felt grateful and happy to be right where I was.

If I went into detail, I could fill a book describing all of our adventures during the 2 week period in Costa Rica. Surfing is a lifestyle, and I can’t picture a better combination of activities to take these surfers-to-be on as a way of sharing this lifestyle with them. Surfing means coming out of your comfort zone, which many may have done on day 1 as they took their first steps into the foreign waters they would soon be surfing, on day 5 as they faced white water rapids for the first time, or on day 12 as we attempted to interact with the local children from broken homes at the Cepia center. Surfing means caring for your community, your planet, and yourself- and while describing what that truly means using words can be fruitless, demonstrating it by simply picking up trash on the beach, planting trees at an elementary school to provide shade for the kids, or spending time with children who have close to nothing, instills a sense of caring in us that only actions and experience can bring. Most of all, surfing means enjoying life while treasuring it, and nothing could more closely match this lesson than the Costa Rican concept of Pura Vida.

I have to hand it to WB management, I don’t think they could have paired 3 individuals whose strengths and weaknesses better complimented each other for leading a group of 12 young adults. Along with our solid team, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of campers. While we didn’t escape all the possible difficulties that come with leading a 2 week surf trip in a foreign country (i.e a doctor visit here and there), the mutual feeling between campers and counselors alike by the end of the journey was one of grateful fulfillment, mixed with torn emotions of leaving new friends, as well as leaving behind the Pura Vida lifestyle… But for a lucky few those friendships will persist, and for everyone of us, a little bit of the Pura Vida lifestyle will be coming back with us into our day-to-day lives.