By Mikayla S., Girl Scout Senior – Troop #49
Not many people have the opportunity to spend two weeks in a foreign country without their parents. I am one of those few people. From holding newly hatched baby sea turtles, to scuba diving a shipwreck, to ziplining through the canopy, my two weeks in Costa Rica and Panama were by far the best two weeks of my life. I made so many amazing friends, who I still talk to daily. I was immersed in a culture very different from the one back home in the United States. Most of all, I did so many new things many people can only dream of doing.
There is something quite special about holding a newly hatched baby sea turtle. They are so small and fragile, yet so full of energy and movement. Their small eyes are not even open yet, and their flippers flap wildly in the air. One second, they are clambering out of their nest and the next, you are watching them scramble down the beach into the ocean. For these small hatchlings, everything is an obstacle; driftwood, grass, animals, large piles of sand, big waves, trash, etc. You become so attached to them in the few minutes you spend with them, it is hard to know that only 1 out of 1,000 will survive.
The other highlight of my trip was the scuba diving. Under the water’s surface is a world unlike no other. Underwater everything is bustling, but everything is so quiet. The only thing you can hear are the animals munching on coral and the bubbles that float up when you exhale. Everything is peaceful and you can float above everything and just be an observer. The colors are so vibrant, between the tropical fish and the tall coral.
This experience, which was a Girl Scouts destinations trip, was by far the best of my life. I made new friends, that are now more like my sisters. Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I know that they, and the amazing experience I had, are once in a lifetime.