From Surfboards to Building Blocks

From Surfboards to Building Blocks

By Caroline Bae

Surf and Service in Costa Rica 2021

Hi! My name is Caroline, and I am a high school sophomore from Massachusetts. I love playing field hockey, swimming, and traveling the world!

Going into my Rustic trip, I was extremely nervous; I didn’t know anyone else and had never surfed before. However, as soon as I met the other people on the trip, my nerves instantly subsided, and what followed was one of the best experiences of my life.

In the mornings, we surfed with amazing instructors, and I found myself improving every day. I especially enjoyed catching waves with my friends, laughing together as the waves carried us to the sand.

I will never forget my first whitewater rafting experience and the thrill before each drop over the rapids. On the last and largest drop, I remember my heart pounding before our raft flipped over! We all came up to the surface drenched, sputtering, and laughing from the experience.

The food in Costa Rica was amazing as well, especially on the Catamaran tour where we had chicken wraps and an assortment of fresh fruit. On the tour, we went swimming and snorkeling, saw dolphins, and enjoyed a breathtaking sunset.

On other nights at the base house, we would all go surfing and swimming at sunset, and after dinner, we watched movies and played card games. I loved getting to know my new friends by playing Spikeball on the beach or just sitting in the hammocks and talking.

The most memorable and rewarding experience was doing community service at a local elementary school. We mixed cement, built a sidewalk for the students, and dug a water drainage system for the school. It was hard work, and I often finished the afternoons with my shoes caked in mud and concrete.

However, at the end of our trip, it was incredibly fulfilling to look back and see how our work would make a difference and benefit students in the years to come.

During my short trip to Costa Rica, I learned many skills that I know I will continue to use throughout the rest of my life. I gained self-confidence from trying new and unfamiliar activities and learned how to forge relationships with new people.

Most importantly, I learned the importance and impact of helping other communities, and I plan to continue in community service well beyond this Rustic trip.

All images provided by Caroline.