Written by Zoe Faulkner on 14 / 05 / 2021
Gap Year Advice
Though COVID has been tragic for so many we wanted to write this blog to tell you of a wonderful success story that has touched the hearts of our Costa Rican Adventure Leapers and the local community out in Quepos, Costa Rica. They have created the most incredible community centre that directly benefits the local children in the community and will transform their lives.
So here is how it began – As of January we found out we couldn’t run our Cuba program as flights were restricted, so not to be defeated and disappoint our Leapers, we created the program Costa Rica Adventure. The idea of this program was to spend a few days in Manuel Antonio National Park helping in the rainforest, tropical gardening and reclaiming the land for new growth. The next phase is off to Natuwa Wildlife Sanctuary where they will help with the maintenance of the endangered wildlife and the surrounding areas. The final stage is jetting off to Samara Beach where they will surf and yoga before alternative groups head off to ASVO to learn about the turtle conservation.
Come February we sent our first group out and what happened next was incredible and what we are all about. They arrived and off they went to phase one of the program to Manuel Antonio National Park where they discovered the fishing village of Quepos. Right on the beach this was a stunning area though it had been neglected by COVID. It had the bare bones of a community centre that had been left to rot. In come our Leapers and together they recognised the need for this community centre to be refurnished and ready for action.
Together as a group they identified what needed to be done and planned what the next group of Leapers needed to do – they worked long hot sweaty hours to sand down the wood, strip it, repaint it, rebuild broken areas and restore the playground outside. They funded the use of craft materials, desks, paints and toys – all of which make the community centre a huge part of the local children’s lives. This project has now become a pivotal part of the Costa Rica Adventure program for all groups going forward – this group were the founding members of an incredible project that is now sponsored by Jakera and through everyone’s hard work has now been able to pay for a teacher to come in twice a week and teach the 40 children. This is now a long-term commitment to us at The Leap and those at Jakera.
The second, third and fourth Costa Rica Adventure teams then went out to pick up where the previous team left off, from finishing the painting to fixing the flooring, sourcing the play materials and ensuring the structure was complete. This is a real collaborative effort and one that will be a long-term connection for us all.
It had its grand opening ceremony in April where the whole village got to witness the Cocal Community Centre up and running. This is something that all Leapers should be incredibly proud of – they identified a problem and committed to turning it around and creating something that benefits the local community. Future groups will now head out and be able to teach out there, take more equipment that the children can play with and continue to enhance the lives of those out in Quepos for years to come. Join us!
on 14 / 05 / 2021