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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Making Memories with the Dream Team – Costa Rica Community Service

Making Memories with the Dream Team - Costa Rica Community Service


 On our second day of service work with the CRHF we held a sports camp for the children from the Carpio.  The majority of the kids only get to come to camp for one day, so this special day is extremely important. The Dream Team came ready to play hard and make this day the best for the kids.  In fact, many of team members brought toys, crafts, and other supplies to donate.  The teacher and the children were extraordinarily grateful to them for their kindness and generosity, however they were more excited that we were simply there with them. 

The day before at the school a little boy had fallen in love with Ali.  When he saw her he could not contain his happiness. He bolted out of the bus and jumped into her arms.  It was adorable!  I do not think he left her side the entire day.  Olivia wasted no time making amigos either.  A little girl was really nervous and upset when she got to the camp.  Olivia took her hand and gave her a big hug.  Like Ali, they were connected at the hip all day long.  Grant, Kenzi, and Ryan were also amazing with the children.  Once game time began they initiated a soccer game, a jump roping frenzy, and a balloon passing/popping competition. The little boys were very fond of them.  Like always, Grant’s Spanish was fabulous and he was communicating with the kids like a true Tico.  He even helped translate for other trip members!  Muy bien y muchas gracias a Grant!

Our three Rachel’s, Lindsey, and Amelia really rocked the necklace and bracelet-making station at camp.  They made the kids day by making them beautiful jewelry. The girls also received an array of creative pulseras (bracelets) y collares (necklaces) from the ninas.  Micky Dee, Rachel S., and Claudia were the masters of the coloring and gaming area.  The little ones loved their new friends so much they jumped right into their laps to color and put together puzzles.   

Despite the wonderful games and activities that we provide at camp, the real highlight of the day is going swimming.  It was all they talked about the day before and could not wait to get into those pools!  The children were sliding down the slide into the pool with the biggest smiles we had ever seen.  We knew they were having the time of their lives.  Nina was in the pool the entire time teaching some of the older girls how to swim.  Lindsay and Olivia joined her with some of their new friends and everyone had a blast swimming together.  There was no doubt that the Dream Team had given these kids a day to remember.

It was pretty remarkable to see the communication that was taking place.  Even though the Dream Team’s Spanish is less than bueno, everyone was able to communicate, feel connected, and form relationships with the children as if we were all speaking the same language.  There were so many hugs, so much laughter, and a sense of connectedness that was beyond what we could have imagined. 

The following day we helped build an English classroom for the CRHF.  Unlike our Habitat for Humanity project, where we had been the first workers on the site, previous 360 volunteers had already started the school.  We helped cement the walls and put in the drainage pipes.  Kenzi, Grant, and Ryan were often our hero’s when someone needed help transporting a heavy load of rocks.  They were always there to help.  Nina and Lindsay had the best time cementing the wall.  They took so much pride in the final outcome and it really looked great!  Olivia was one of the hardest working volunteers at the classroom site.  Anytime anyone announced that they needed help she was right there to lend a hand.  The English teacher, for whom the classroom is being built, was so grateful for all of the hard work that she became a little emotional.  It was a long day, but it was definitely worth it. 

The Dream Team knows how to have a good time even when there is hard work to be done.  During one of our breaks Rachel C-Good took on Grant and Ryan in a basketball game, and wow she is good!  Kenzi did some acrobatic tricks for us and then we played our favorite game of “Waa.” Amelia, however, could not be pulled away from her sifting duties to play games with us!  Silly Amelia was working too hard to play!   

The next day was a VERY special day.  It was Claudia’s sweet 16!  Feliz cumpleanos!  After we all surprised Claudia with a happy birthday song to wake her, we were off to Café Britt for a gourmet coffee experience.  During the tour someone let one of the guides know that it was Claudia’s birthday.  So when it was time to have a volunteer from the audience come up to the stage to test the coffee he called her up and announced it was her birthday!  She looked like a professional coffee taster up there and even earned herself a new hat.  Micky Dee thought Claudia up on stage was exceptionally humorous.  Perhaps she was the one who told the guide!  Everyone cheered for Claudia and wished her a happy birthday.  After the tour we all sampled the various types of coffee and chocolates.  They were so delicious!  Another great day!

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