Catching waves while making a difference!

The council is often asked how we keep Girl Scouts relevant and fun for older girls. There are many programs such as archeryskiing or snowboarding, and Operation Snowflake, but often a real draw is our destinations program.

Nicole refinishing a desk at a local school

Seventeen-year-old Nicole Butler, who is entering her 11th year of Girl Scouts, recently returned from a life-changing adventure in Costa Rica, where she challenged herself and gained compassion for a new culture. Nicole loved spending the week at the beach and learning to surf. “I learned I have an inner confidence that I didn’t realize I had,” said Nicole.

Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has partnered with Girls Scout of the USA to offer unique and exciting Girl Scouts destinations trips in Costa Rica and Panama. These trips provide young girls the opportunity to see the world, meet fellow Girl Scouts from across the nation and challenge themselves through adventure in unfamiliar settings.

Nicole participated in Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Catching Waves destination. This 10-day course presented physical, mental and emotional challenges as the girls learned to surf on world-famous surf breaks.  “This was my first destination trip. I had traveled to England with my troop in 2010,” explained Nicole.

When they weren’t surfing, the Girl Scouts volunteered at a local school, where they sanded and repainted corroded chairs. They also had the opportunity to spend time with a local turtle conservationist, learning about and assisting with conservation efforts.  


The trip also included white water rafting Class II and III rapids on the Pekibaye River, ziplining through the canopies, and visiting the artisan market of San Jose to complete their adventure.  


This destination is just one of the many GSUSA offers throughout the year.  When asked what advice Nicole would give other Girl Scouts interested in the destinations program, she replied: if there is a destination that you really want to go on, make sure you apply as soon as possible so you are sure to have a spot on the destination. Also, if you are going to a foreign country it’s helpful to know the basic language.
Special thanks to Chelsey Perron, Outward Bound Costa Rica for contributing to this article.


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