Girl Scouts in Troops 7672 and 5352 spent a total of three years selling cookies, nuts, magazines and fundraising to pay for a trip to Costa Rica.
“They hustled their little butts off to make this trip happen,” said Sandra Zamora, a troop mom. “Our idea was to introduce them to another culture.”
A portion of the funds were used to buy school supplies for a school that had been devastated by a hurricane, which the Scouts were then able to deliver to the students during their trip in June.
“I loved going to the school, it was so fun,” Girl Scout Giselle Reeser said.
The girls were able to meet the kids, play soccer with them and practice teaching them some English.
The Scouts recognized the damage the school received during the hurricane and were surprised to see the differences in the school’s amenities, including no air conditioning in the humidity, but they were happy to see how excited the kids were about their donations.
To show their appreciation, the Costa Rican kids even put on a little talent show for them.
“They learned to give to others who are struggling in a Third World country, which was an amazing experience for them,” Zamora said.
Though Girl Scout Haley Noyes wasn’t able to join her troop on the Costa Rica trip, she and her family traveled to the Philippines, where she, too, visited schools and delivered school supplies.
“The school was preschool all the way to high school, so it was huge,” she said. “It felt really good because all the kids were happy about the school supplies.”
They also had the opportunity to go on an ecological tour to learn about the native plants and exotic animals, such as sloths, bats and howler monkeys. They even befriended the local dogs.
“I really loved the trip because of all the nature and animals we saw,” Girl Scout Melody Canton said.
The Scouts spent the remainder of their eight-day trip exploring Costa Rica with various excursions, including hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, ziplining and crocodile tours.
“My personal favorite was the ziplining,” Girl Scout Eden Rubsamen said, adding that it was cool because of the unique Costa Rican jungle they were soaring over. “Kayaking was also really fun, and it was raining when we went, which made it more fun.”
They also visited volcanoes, beaches, hot springs, rainforests and even a coffee plantation where they planted trees.
While in the Philippines, Noyes was also able to explore, and said it was nothing like California, as everything was “super green.”
“The beaches were beautiful,” she said. “You could sit in the water and pour fish food to feed the fish — it was so cute. Then, me and my dad went snorkeling, and there were beautiful zebrafish all around you … there was a lot of pretty coral under us.”
Back in Costa Rica, the Scouts were able to try various different foods, including fresh fruits like papayas.
“The food we tried there was good,” Girl Scout Lilyana Zamora said. “I really liked the platanos, and how their food is so different than ours.”
But their favorite food by far was POPS Ice Cream, which they all wish they had here.
“We even had it for breakfast once,” Zamora added, laughing.
Overall, the girls really enjoyed seeing the differences in lifestyles.
“It was interesting to see their culture, traditions, style, food, architecture, even the color,” Reeser said. “We have very different lifestyles compared to them.”
And though it was a lot of work fundraising, each and every girl said it was definitely worth it.
“This trip would not have happened if it wasn’t for them,” Sandra Zamora said.