“Are you sure this is the way to the Ventura Harbor?”
Sienna Romero, a 17-year-old teen Foothill Technology High School student from Ventura, recently completed a Summer Expedition with Outward Bound Costa Rica. On the four-week course, she trekked through the remote rainforest of Costa Rica and traveled to Panama to volunteer in sea turtle conservation efforts and learn to scuba dive.
“I enjoyed the service projects the most,” Sienna said. “It went beyond my expectations.”
Sienna and her course mates hiked and camped their way through untouched rainforest to the remote village of Piedras Blancas, passing waterfalls and dense cloud forests. In the village, the group stayed with local families, practicing their Spanish skills and learning about traditions through hands-on activities such as harvesting sugar cane and making it into candy. The group also tested their tenacity by rappelling an 80-foot waterfall.
After a rich cultural experience, the group headed to the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, where they learned about the local wildlife and had up-close encounters with capuchin monkeys on the picturesque beach.
In Panama, Sienna completed a multi-day service project in the San Pond Sak wetlands located on the Caribbean coast, protecting the endangered leatherback sea turtle population by building habitats, cataloging nests and performing night patrols.
On the island of Solarte in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Sienna completed NAUI Open Water Certification training. After passing her scuba certification, Sienna participated in a once and a lifetime night dive through bioluminescent waters. The group also sea kayaked to a nearby indigenous island to learn about ecology.
“It will change your life whether you want it to or not,” Sienna added.
“Outward Bound Costa Rica’s programs, like the one Sienna participated in, create environments that allow for personal and leadership development through challenges, group effort and cross-cultural understanding,” said Jim Rowe, Executive Director of Outward Bound Costa Rica.