Wilderness Ventures Offers Service Programs to Teens in Costa Rica’s Savegre Valley

By wpdev April 22, 2009

Jackson, Wyo.— Wilderness Ventures, the oldest and most experienced adventure travel program for young people, offers domestic and international programs that teach teens valuable life lessons like a sense of environmental responsibility and new leadership skills. Their Service Adventure to Costa Rica’s Savegre Valley gives teenagers an opportunity to be immersed in the Costa Rican culture while participating in humanitarian projects and spending time in the great outdoors.

This Costa Rican community service exploration is an exciting combination of diverse adventure travel and stimulating cultural immersion in an unspoiled tropical paradise of pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and a rainbow of colorful flowers and birds. Teens who participate earn 60 hours of community service while building a rural school in a cloud forest, teaching local school children English, and restoring nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles. Participants experience the beauty of this peaceful country by sea kayaking a palm-laden coastline, rafting a jungle river, and soaring through the forest on a zip line.

“Parents have let us know exactly how changed their students are when they arrive home,” said Gabby Kouchacji, a Service Program Coordinator with Wilderness Ventures. “A newfound sense of responsibility towards the environment coupled with a drive to help others from a different background comes from the time we spend serving the people and ecology of Costa Rica. Like any Wilderness Ventures expedition, the teens that participate in our program develop essential peer leadership and teamwork skills as a result of living with new friends for three weeks.”

For the service portions of the trip, teens stay in a remote village in the Savegre Valley at a campsite built exclusively for Wilderness Adventures.  Whether they are playing soccer with young children or putting a much-needed ceiling on the school while practicing Spanish, their minds are challenged as they seek to understand a life that by American standards is much less privileged. In addition to interacting with the local communities, outdoor adventure is central to this experience. Teens will experience things like rafting for two days on the famous Pacuare River, lounging in natural hot springs, seeing a volcano up close and personal, and kayaking past flocks of scarlet macaws and howler monkeys.

“When teenagers engage in volunteer activities, they feel empowered and are inspired to change the world around them,” said Gabby Kouchacji. “For many young people, the pressures to succeed and be liked by their peers can often impair their motivation to grasp a broader view on their environment.  Through cultural experiences like these, they are taught humility and compassion for others, and can be transformed into young adults with a drive to change the world.”