Pause and Be Present

Pause and Be Present

By Esmeralda Aguilar

Summer Camp Leadership, Costa Rica 2018

Esmeralda is an incoming sophomore studying International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. This summer she’s interning at a talent management and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting company called The Cee Suite.

Photo and story provided by Esmeralda. Read her story below!

I participated in the Summer Camp Leadership program in Costa Rica the summer of 2018. I was fifteen years old going into a foreign country, and didn’t know anyone on the trip.

However, I was quickly blown away by how incredibly welcoming and comforting the Rustic Pathways staff was. I felt safe from the moment my parents dropped me off at the Houston airport.

My Rustic trip helped me step out of my comfort zone and allowed me to have fun while overcoming my fears.

For example, when it was time to go whitewater rafting, I remember being hesitant about going and was tempted to ask my leaders if I could opt out of it. I knew there would be no judgement if I did opt out, but I was surrounded by immense support and found the courage to continue to participate. I was instructed to continue paddling and had the best adrenaline rush!

Likewise, when we were on Isla Tortuga, I was nervous to go on the banana boat but decided to get on anyway. I remember a few seconds before taking off I asked the person handling the banana boat if I could go off. I was terrified.

However, I was promised I would have a good time. He said to not worry, and ended the sentence with Pura Vida. We were off! Pura Vida has become a motto of mine, it has taught me to pause and to be present! I am forever grateful for this trip.

Learn more about the Summer Camp Leadership program, or view more alumni stories.