Posted by Sarah Whaley | 01.16.2014 | Teen Camps
2014 Wheaton Academy's Costa Rica Surf, Science Adventure Camp
Have you ever had a dream that you didn’t want to wake up from? That is precisely what this week has been at our Costa Rica Surf Camp.
After last year’s Surf Camp Reviews, we were fortunate enough to bring another amazing group from a freezing cold Wheaton Academy in Chicago, to paradise in Costa Rica. Last year it was all boys and this year it is all girls. After meeting the girls and having our program orientation, we knew that we had a special group on our hands.
Very few of the girls had ever surfed before, but all were clearly stoked about spending a week learning “the sport of Kings and Queens”. They set the tone for the week by waking up long before breakfast to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and the majesty that the Costa Rica coastline has to offer.
Authentic Costa Rican breakfasts were the perfect fuel that we needed for our adventure packed days. Our first surf session was very successful with light offshore winds and the ideal amount of swell. The girls immediately were so supportive of each other with cheers and smiles all around.
What also made our first full day special was an incredibly successful community service project with the local children at El Llanito Elementary School. Not only did we paint part of the exterior of the school, we were also fortunate enough to spend quality time with the local kids. A soccer game, puzzles, and a balloon relay race allowed us to relate and engage with the kids despite the language barrier. It was clear by the end of our time there that everybody had benefited from the experience.
Another great part of our week was having the opportunity to participate in specific surf yoga. Although most of the girls had very limited experience with yoga, they all appreciated the benefits that it offers. There were a lot of sore muscles and yoga provided the perfect remedy by lengthening and stretching our bodies fully. Not only did the yoga feel good, but it also improved everyone’s balance, strength, and flexibility.
An exciting part of our trip was a zip lining adventure. Many of the girls broke through personal barriers and conquered fears by participating and all were glad that they did. Our guides were fun and encouraging to everybody, we had breath taking views, along with the adrenaline rush of soaring amongst the tree tops.
One morning we woke the girls up with farm animal noises to prepare them for a trip to a local farm. We got the chance to hold piglets and baby goats, milk cows, and enjoy a ride through the country side on an ox cart. Before leaving, the family that owned the farm prepared homemade chocolate milk, tortillas, and fresh cheese for us.
Another highlight of the trip was a morning consisting of sea turtle education at the National Park, followed by a group beach cleanup. We got to see sea turtle nests, tracks, and learned about how to maintain conservational efforts for the beautiful creatures.
Today everyone departed, but left stoked out of their mind to continue their surfing journeys. The Wheaton Academy girls were one of the best groups of teens we’ve ever had the pleasure to teach. We are super thankful to have had the opportunity to hang out with, get to know, and teach surfing to such a special group of girls! Special thanks to chaperons Natalie and Irelys for being such an integral part of the trip. It was a delight to work side by side with them and to create lifelong memories.
-Steve, Joanna, and Will