Monday, March 28, 2011

Flight Delay

Hello parents! The Delta website is reporting that the flight from Atlanta to Baltimore is a bit delayed. They should be arriving at 6:54pm rather than 6:01pm. Please call the office with any questions - 303.679.3412.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Departure from Costa Rica

Hello parents! I just talked to WLS's instructor Chris and the group is at the airport checking in for the flight. We expect the flight to leave without any issues. We will update the blog with any new information as soon as it is available. Please call the office with any questions - 303-679-3412. Thank you!

Erin Lasky
Program Director 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 9 March 25th Chocolate, Video Clips & Fun...

Hello! This is Ellen Tuttle reporting on our last full day in Costa Rica. Today we got up at 7:30 to get ready for breakfast. We ate eggs, pinto, pastries, pancakes, and fruit. Once we finished breakfast, a few people went to play volleyball while the others played cards. At 9:40 we all left to go to a chocolate factory! When we got there, we met our guide and ventured into the jungle to go look for the coco trees. We walked over a really long, old, and shaky bridge. Once we got there, our guide told us about the history of chocolate. We learned about the countries that harvest chocolate and how the Spanish prepared chocolate. We ate coco beans that where warm and cold but where delicious! We crushed he beans into little pieces and grinded them into powder. Also, we learned that dark chocolate is good for you and tried some of it melted and hard. It was really good! We went back to the car to go back to the lodge. Some people played volleyball for awhile. Me (Ellen), Caelin, and Ben went to swim in the river. It felt so good! Caelin and Ben ganged up and stated throwing sand at me! I threw back but it was fun for awhile. Once we got out, we walked back up and took showers. Ryan found more iguana's in the hole where he found the others before. Most people went but when they came back the tricked me into thinking Ben got bit by an iguana. I gave him a bandade but thought the bite looked a little small.IHe started walking and told me the bite was fake and I was gulible. I did fell like it. They told me the hole had carbon dioxide in it, so Ryan came out light headed but was okays. They all came back and we ate dinner. Then, we watched a movie then went to bed. Can't wait to see everyone tomorrow! See you then! Bye!  

Airfare update

Hello parents,

We have been in touch a few times with American Airlines today and have confirmed the group's tickets with Delta. They will arrive at the San Jose airport very early tomorrow morning, and we will keep you updated on any delays via this blog. Their Delta itinerary remains the same as what Alecia Berman-Dry sent you via email:

Monday, 3/28

Delta 414 leaving San Jose 7:35 p.m. – Arriving Atlanta 1:35 p.m.
Delta 1724 leaving Atlanta 4:15 p.m. – Arriving BWI 6:01 p.m.

Thank you for a wonderful program, and for your patience for your kid's arrival home!


Costa Rica Bound for a little while longer....

Miami airport has had major delays due to a underground fuel fire and so STJES will be headed back to Chilamate for a couple of fun filled days and then an early flight out on Monday morning...

They will remain in good hands with WLS, Ms. Hytken, Mr. Wooden, Christopher, Meghan, Davis & family.

We'll keep blogging!

hi mom i miss you sooo much! tell Gracie i said hi! and tell daddy that im okay! I hope to see you on monday. Lots of Love

hey family, doing well and miss you guys soo much. See you guys on Monday! Please post the scores of the hockey games! Thanks!

hey guys i miss u soooo much i was looking forward to coming home, but we will keep blogging. Keep blogging tha March madness scores  because theres no t.v. here!
love always
hey mom and dad. I miss you guys so much. I cant wait to be back home. Give the team good luck for me! I wish i could be there to participate! Love you!! Chris our guide will let you guys call me! looking forward to both of you guys talking to me and maybe even the soccer team i hope! that would make me really happy.

Hey mom and dad! I miss you guys so much and I cant wait till I see you and get back home. Tell Brittany, Ashley and Bentley that I cant wait to see them. Love you!!

hey mom and dad. i miss you guys so much. i hope i see you soon. tell tag, mackie, elsa, and fiki that i miss them. hope i see them soon. Cam- i got you a present. i hope you like it. i miss you.
-Brigid :-)

hi mom, dad, and grace. I miss you guys soooooo much! I hope i will see you on Monday! Je te manques beaucoup! I love all of you! Oh and tell Benny and Grainger i love them to I miss you!

Hi mom and dad I miss you so much and I cant wait to see you when i get back.  Tell cinnamon I said i miss her and i will bring her something back.  Dont worry i got you something also.
Miss and love you,

This is Kailey and Jenna reporting from Chilemate, Costa Rica. Today was a crazy and emotional day for everyone. It started out with all of us waking up and making sure we were packed to go to the airport. We then went to breakfast and got the news that we were staying until Monday. For some of us it was good news and for others it was bad. For us, it wasn’t the best news because we missed our families and I (Jenna) had a soccer tournament. We got on a bus that was really big. It took us back to Chilemate. Once we got there, we went to our cabins, unpacked and played a couple games of volleyball with Caelin, Mr. Wooden, and Chris. After we finished the games, we headed to the van to go to a Tilapia Farm. At the farm, we had tilapia, fried yucca, vegetables, and fried plantains. It was delicious. I (Kailey) had not liked any fish before this but ended up loving it and eating the whole fish. Also Jenna, Caelin, and Ben ate the eyes of the fish which many of us thought was nasty. After lunch, we went fishing. Talli had never gone fishing before and she caught the most fish. She caught 5. Jenna caught two fish. Caelin caught 3 fish and one of them was humongous. Brigid and Kailey ran back and forth taking pictures of everyone and the fish they caught. Then we took a tour of the farm. We saw about two acres of pineapple. Then we walked down to a river and Caelin brought back bamboo as a souvenir. After we finished the tour we got back in the car to head back to the ecolodge. Once we got back, we each had about 10 minutes to talk on the phone to our parents. Our parents were scheduled at times to call us.  Jenna’s and my parents (Kailey) never called. We both were very sad. We then had a little free time to play cards and other games. Kailey and I (Jenna) were too sad to do anything. Mrs. Hytken then sent a personal email to Kailey and my (Jenna) parents saying to call at 8 their time. Our parents still didn’t call.  Then we had dinner and we had chicken rice, beans, pinto, salad, casserole, and chips. Then after dinner we had a little more free time and Jenna and I (Kailey) got   to call our parents on Skype. I called my parents and they answered. Jenna got the opposite response, her parents did not answer. Then about 20 minutes later they called and Jenna got to talk to them. After that, Chris taught each of us different magic tricks. Then we headed back to the cabin. Kailey and I (Jenna) played cards while others took showers. Then we went to bed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 7 La Fortuna, March 25th Waterfall, Zip Lines, Souvenirs & Closing Circle

Reporting from La Fortuna, Costa Rica is Jenna and Kailey. Today was our last day. For breakfast we had pineapple, watermelon, banana, linto, and pancakes. Then we left to go a see a waterfall on a volcano. We walked up about 10 giant hills to get there. When we finally got there, we walked down 400 steps. It was torture. We finally made it to the base of the waterfall. It was beautiful and we took many pictures. Then we dove in an area that the waterfall lead into. The water was so cold. Chris, Caelin, and I (Jenna) had a water fight. We got out of the water, dried off, and began the trek back up the 400 steps. At the end of the stairs, our thighs hurt very badly. On they back to our hotel, it seemed much shorter than the hike up because we were running down the big hills instead of walking up them. When we got back to the hotel, we played cards and some of us went to the pool to get a tan. Then we went to lunch and had cheeseburgers and fries. Then we had some ice-cream for desert. Some of us were disappointed that we had American food on our last day in Costa Rica. After lunch, we had a little more free time to do whatever we wanted. Most of us played cards again. We played for about an hour and then got in a car to head to the ecoglide, a zip-line jungle. There, we got all of our equipment on and then took an open bus to our first destination on the volcano. There, we went on 8 different zip-lines right after each other. Then, we went on the Tarzan Swing which was like a leap of faith and giant swing mix. When you first got on it felt like you are going to just drop but it pulls you up before you hit the ground. Kailey screamed only for the drop and Talli screamed the whole way through. I (Jenna) didn't scream at all. Chris' jump was the best. We were all inspired by his inspiration on the swing. after that we went on 4 more zip-lines. The last 4 zip-lines were longer than the others and they were higher. They were also the best. We got back in the car and headed down town. There we all bought gifts for family members and friends. Kailey and I bought gifts for all our family. Once we got home, we had about an hour of more free time. Some people stayed by the pool, while others took showers and played cards. We then went to dinner and had spaghetti and garlic bread, with more ice-cream for desert. After dinner, we did our closing circle for the trip and went to bed.

Hilary is doing great

Hi parents,
Quick note to say that Alecia Berman-Dry and I have been in touch with Chris Lindstrom, the instructor, both last night and this morning. Hilary did bump her head on the water slide and Chris took her to a local clinic as a precaution. The doctors concluded that she probably does not have a concussion and this morning she felt good enough to do the zip line canopy tour. So she bounced back very quickly! This has been a very successful program. We have really enjoyed working with St. John's for the fourth year in a row -- thank you St. John's kids, faculty and parents for your great work! Ross and Alecia

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday, March 24th Costa Rica Day 6th

This is JT and Caelin reporting live from La Fortuna. We got up at 6:50 and packed up our stuff and moved it to the dinning hall where we had our last meal at the Eco Lodge.  The breakfast consisted of eggs pastries and empanadas.  When we packed our stuff into the truck we said good-bye to the friends we had made.  As we drove off we yelled "adios" to the chilamate school that we helped.  We drove for about an hour and a have until we got flagged by the police. We waiated for about ten minutes as the driver got a ticket.  After that we got back to driving.  When we got to the hotel we pulled our bags to our rooms and got settled in.  We then walked to lunch and had steak rice and plantain.  We talked for a while and went back to our rooms.  We got our bathing suits and played for a while in the pool.  Then we did a great activity called marketplace of ideas. The game is were we partnered up and wrote about what we could do to change the school in chilamante. After the game we went to a fun waterpark which turned out to be bad luck for Ms. Hytken.  As she was going down a water slide she hit her head and blacked out. Chris had to take her to the clinic.  After wards a ambulance had to take her to the hospital(how many of you can say you have been to a Costa Rican hospital. 
    When we got back to the hotel Ms. Hytken greeted us with a big smile and a big bump on her head.  I am proud to say that Ms.hytken had a good attitude and was able to laugh about the accident.  We changed out of our bathing suits and gathered into the dinning hall for dinner.  We had refried beans and rice with chicken as our second meal in La Fortuna.  We then did the last part of the market place of ideas activity.  We had to make a brochure and sell our ideas to the other groups.  After that we got ready for bed and took our first warm showers. 
    This is caelin and JT signing of from La Fortuna, Costa Rica


Chilamate Day 5, Morning Service Wrap Up, Afternoon Cooking, Swimming & Packing

Blog - March 23, 2011 St. Johns

Hi from our last night in Chilamate, this is JT and Ms. Hytken reporting in. This morning we had eggs, pinto, fried potatoes and sausage for breakfast with fresh fruit, pastries and juices. The food here is amazing and even though we are excited to go to La Fortuna and have hot water we are really going to miss the food here!
            After breakfast we headed over for our last day at the school. Our chore for today was a lot more painting. We had a circular area of cement under a big tree that we divided like a pizza and painted each section different colors. On this cement were several tables and benches which we also painted. The whole thing looked amazing when we were done, kind of Alice in Wonderland-y. The kids performed some native dances (including our hosts’ daughter Lluvia) and a few of them did a mime/dance to a popular Costa Rican song. Another little boy sang an awesome solo. We also played more soccer and taught the kids Four Square. It’s AMAZING what a difference a little paint can make! Me (JT) and Ms. Hytken worked with Brigid and a young lady from the school named Dayana to learn some more Spanish and to teach her some English. She had her mom come back to get her an hour late so that she could hang out with us. The kids at the school are already familiar faces and we are really going to miss them. They are so excited to have us and have been so kind and friendly.
            After the service work we came back to Chilamate for lunch, which was empanadas and salads. We are totally in love with the food here, the empanadas were amazing. We headed back to the school for a cooking class with the head cook named Maria. All the kids eat a homemade lunch at the school everyday but we got to learn how to make tortillas and empanadas. The tortillas are made from corn flour and water. For the empanadas we added salt. We each rolled out the dough and then Maria helped us add cheese and she fried the empanadas up to a golden brown. Then we got to eat them! For sure the best part! The cheese here is incredible and I (JT) am addicted to it! The pineapple juice Maria made us was pretty awesome too! We said our last goodbye’s at the school and headed back to the Eco Lodge.
            Like we have every afternoon, we all went for a swim in the Sarapiqui. I (Ms. Hytken) didn’t go in but I sat on the rocks and watched as all the STJES kids had a HUGE sand fight with Chris and Ben. I was REALLY glad I didn’t get any on me!
            Now, we are hanging out in the Eco Lodge restaurant just relaxing and playing cards (or reading in Ms. Hytken’s case). We’ll update the rest of the blog after dinner. Today at lunch Meghan asked us what we wanted as our farewell dinner and offered pizza and pasta but we REALLY want one more “traditional” Costa Rican meal!
            Hi Mom and Dad (this is JT)! I’m having a great trip and you don’t have to worry about me.

Chilamate Day 4, Full Service Day, Swim & Utopia

***Special thanks to Selden McKee, Photogrpaher Extraordinaire - Her photos of us & our work!*** 

Hola! This is Kailey and Jenna reporting from Chilamate, Costa Rica (day 4). When we woke up this morning, we got ready for the day and went to breakfast. We had eggs with or without onions, pinto, ham, fried potatoes and sweet plantains. After breakfast, we walked to the Chilamate School that is about half a mile away. Once we arrived at the school, we went to work right away. Kailey, Caelin, and I (Jenna) swept the concreted area in order to make it a basketball court. After we made a decent amount of work, Ms. Hytken, Brigid, Caelin, JT, Alexa, Kailey and I went into one of the classrooms with 5th graders and started to have conversations in English and in Spanish with the students. There was a thirteen year old in the fifth grade class room. After we were done having conversations, we left the room and went out to paint tires and paint a hopscotch court on the ground. We made the lines on the basketball court and colored in most of it. Afterwards, we went back to camp for lunch. We ate burritos, rice, beans, salad and fried plantains. After we finished our lunch, we had a little extra time so we played ultimate hide and go seek. We soon headed straight back to the Chilamate School to finish our work. We finished the basketball court, painting the tires; and lastly, we painted trash cans and the water pump house. In the middle of all the work, Ms. Hytken invited Jenna, Brigid, and I (Kailey) into a new classroom. For these school kids only go to school half a day because there are not enough teachers for all the kids so they have a new group of kids before and after lunch. In the classrooms, we had more conversations with the children and then we said our goodbyes. Our work was almost finished at school, and we are going to finish the little pieces of work left over tomorrow. When we got back to our eco-lodge, we changed into our bathing suits and went to the river for a swim with Mr. Wooden and Chris. I (Jenna) didn’t go swimming today so I stayed back at the lodge with Brigid. We played with Lluvia, the owner’s daughter. After swimming, we all went back to take showers and play cards. After cards we went to dinner and had fried chicken, rice, salad, bread, squash soup, and beans. After dinner, we had a challenge. We had to have a pile of cards of world problems and had to put them in order of what we should do first. My group (Jenna) put financial economy first because you need that money to pay for education and cures for diseases. Kailey’s group put getting fresh water and basic sanitation out to people in the world. Then we had anchor and our reading was “life makes sense backwards but live it forward.” This means that if you look backwards in life you can see all your mistakes but you should forget all that and make a change and learn from your mistakes. We had a fun day! Shout out to our dads and moms!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chilamate 3rd Day, Service Project, Swim & Leadership Continued

This is Caelin and Alexa reporting live from Chilamate, Costa Rica. Today we got up at 6:30am and had a delicious breakfast. For breakfast we had pancakes, bacon, cereal, and any kind of fruits you could possibly think of. Then we walked about a mile to a farm where we learned how to make cheese. First, Jenna and Caelin milked the cows. Ben and Brigid proceeded to milk the cow next. Ben asked Ms. Hytken if chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Then Ben also said, “My utter isn’t working!”  Ms. Hytken turned around and nodded her head in silence. When we had enough milk we headed to the outdoor kitchen to place the milk into buckets and sit for 30 minutes. We went over to a pen with two big mommy pigs and a lot of adorable little piglets. We also captured some eggs in the barn. When the 30 minutes were up, we went back to remove the foam from the cheese then took another 20 minute break. All of the kids including Mr. Wooden played taps with a soccer ball and enjoyed some fresh coconut water.  When the 20 minutes were up, we went to the kitchen and drained the cheese from the water. She placed the cheese in a box, wrapped it with a cloth, closed the top, and let it sit there till the morning. We then left and set off back to the lodge for lunch. 

Lunch consisted of empanadas, guacamole and chips, fruit, salad, and rice. After we finished eating we got ready and went to the school. At the school we swept the soon to be basketball court. Also we dug up some tires and put in new ones for the kids to play on. After we finished with the school, we went back to the lodge and got on our bathing suits to go for a swim in the river. Mr. Wooden jumped into the river from a 20 foot bridge and finally redeemed himself for his lackluster rafting skills and fear of bats!  We all had a little sand war and it got in some girls hair.  After we got out of the water, we took our first shower for the whole trip. It made everyone feel really clean! Before dinner we had an activity where a team of 3 had to build the highest free-standing structure possible with 20 spaghetti pieces, some tape, string and one marshmallow. The marshmallow had to be at the top.  Brigid, JT and Ellen were the winning team. 

We finally had dinner and Jenna was very excited. Our dinner consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, yuca casserole, salad, rice, and mini green bean omelets. After dinner was over, we headed back to the house for some rest. We wrapped up the day with our group A.N.C.H.O.R. reflection and journal time. We are all looking forward to working at the school tomorrow. This is Caelin and Alexa signing off from Chilamate, Costa Rica.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chilamate 2nd Day, Leadership Styles & Temperaments Biodiversity Study

                  This is Ben Anders and Brigid Thompson reporting from Chilamate, Costa Rica (day 2.) Breakfast was delicious. Jenna Beck ate 7 servings of food!!!! There was cereal, breadstick pastries with sugar, eggs with and without onion, sausage, yucca, rice and beans, and refried beans. After that we had a meeting about our Keirsey personality reports. Keirsey test explains what type of leader you are. I (Ben) am a rationalist which means I am logical in troubleshooting problems. I (Brigid) was a guardian. A guardian is a person who is serious when at work, but I love to have fun with my friends. After the meeting, we went white water rafting.  Our rafting guide was Morisimo. After about five minutes in the river, we hit a rock and Mr. Wooden fell off the raft setting a world record for the fastest time to fall off into the water (and for the funniest fall ever!!) There were lots and lots of rapids.  We got soaked!!! About halfway through the ride, we stopped at a little island and ate fresh watermelon and pineapple. Then we continued rafting and arrived back to camp just in time for lunch. We ate squash, rice and chicken, brown rice, potato salad with beats and lentils. After lunch, we had some time to check out some cool stuff that two local artists from the village brought over. Don’t worry families! We bought tons of stuff for you, too!! Then we had forty-five minutes of free time. We played ultimate hide and go seek throughout our eco-lodge house. On the first count, Brigid hid on the top bunk with a towel on her head.  For the second count, Brigid was it and I hid in a crib in the master bedroom. Brigid walked straight past me at least 7 times but she didn’t see me once. Ryan, the biologist, met with us to discuss bio-diversity and bio-density.  He took us for a hike in the rainforest and neighboring village. We learned about a humming bird that attacks other humming birds in the air. We also learned about the caiman and other reptiles. Then we came back and had dinner. We had tacos, rice, plantains, bread, salad, and beans. Today was really great! We would like to give a shout out to Brigid’s mom to let her know that her cuts are fine. Please don’t worry. This is Brigid and Ben signing off.    

Costa Rica Arrival & Chilamate First Day!

Hello, this is Ellen Tuttle and Tali Skyles reporting live from Chilamate, Costa Rica. We have all arrived safely at the eco-lodge. No kids or luggage got left behind. The airport in Miami was big and crowded but we made it alive. A few of us split up in Miami to go get breakfast. After breakfast we played Uno, Scrabble, and Phase 10 while we waited for our plane. Once we boarded the plane, we split up and didn’t sit together. When we arrived in Costa Rica, our trip leader named Chris came and drove us to the eco-lodge. He brought some delicious Costa Rican snacks such as cheese balls, empanadas and chocolate. Our driver was named Herardo. He didn’t speak English so we had to use our Spanish. Once we arrived at the eco-lodge we were greeted by Megan, Sarah and Giovanni. We took a short tour of the house and then ventured into the tropical rainforest with our other guide William. In the rainforest we saw poisonous dart frogs, walking trees, monkey ladders, parakeets, and lots of green plants. Once we were done hiking in the rainforest, we settled in and ate a delicious homemade dinner. The food consisted of beef stew, sweet mashed potatoes, rice, swash, salad and black beans. After dinner, we met up at our lodge and reflected on our day. We got ready for bed and saw a bat in our room; most of the girls screamed and ran away including Mr. Wooden. We couldn’t get the bat out so he stayed the night. After our bat fiasco, Chris and Mr. Wooden helped us put our mosquito nets in our room. After everyone was settled, we called it a night to get some much needed rest for the next day. Well that concludes our first day Costa Rica. We are looking forward to many more exciting adventures. Stay tuned for more!

Group in Chilamate

Hello Parents,
I wanted to give a quick update from the St. John's group, which was unable to post last night as there has not been electricity until this evening. I spoke with Chris Lindstrom and he informed me the group had a very busy day, full of orientation and ideas, and just got back from biodiversity hike with a resident biologist. Brigid Thompson got on the phone real quick to describe dinner  . . "we're having plantains, white rice, tacos and vegetables and fruit punch made with real punch and mangos and salad. We had a fun day. We went whitewater rafting and went on a hike. The Costa Rican rain forest is really cool and really humid." All is well in Costa Rica! The group should be posting in the next 24 hours.
Ross Wehner

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Group Arrived!

Hi parents,
I wanted to let you know that I just spoke to Chris Lindstrom, who is with Hilary and Travis and the kids. They are on the bus now headed from the airport to the Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat ( They are eating local chocolate and empanadas on the ride and everyone's doing great. They will be posting from this point forward. The adventure has begun!

Group in Miami

Hello parents,
I wanted to let you know that I spoke with Travis earlier this morning and the group was enjoying brunch in Miami. I also spoke to the instructor Chris Lindstrom, and he is awaiting the group's arrival in Costa Rica and getting ready for the adventure. If you have any questions, please call me on (303) 679-3412.
Ross Wehner, Executive Director, World Leadership School