Costa Rica ‘Bound’

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This fall, Morgan Oberly will be a senior at Chesapeake High School. The 17-year-old will soon to be thrust into the real world, but a summer experience has prepared her for what uncertainty may lay ahead.

Morgan has been a Girl Scout for the past 12 years. She is an Ambassador, the highest ranking a Girl Scout can attain.

Through Girl Scout Troop, 904 in Chesapeake, she was able to spend some time this summer on a great adventure.

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“Girl Scouts has a program called Destinations,” said Morgan.

Destinations, she said, allows Girl Scouts to take international or national trips with the Outward Bound program.

According to the Outward Bound program, they have five core values: challenge and adventure, compassion and service, social and environmental responsibility, character development and learning through experience.

Morgan said she had previously been to Costa Rica for a vacation, which is why she chose this for her Outward Bound trip.

“I had fallen in love with Costa Rica.”

Morgan and 15 other girls whom she had never met from all over the country, embarked on an adventure to Costa Rica. This was her first Outward Bound trip.

“The main part of our trip we got SCUBA certified.”

Morgan and her group stayed on an island called Soltare, off the coast of Panama.

“There was no electricity and we had to walk to get our water,” she said. “We saw a nurse shark and we saw a ship wreck. It was 40 or 50 years old. It was covered in coral.”

During the trip, the girls did some service projects as well.

“We helped to pick up trash and taught them how to eat healthier, ” she said.

Morgan said that the natives usually only eat plantains and rice.

“We made new stoves for them to use,” she said. “We had molds. We mixed up the concrete and let them set.”

Morgan said that the new stoves are wood burning, and use less wood than their old stoves, which they burned trash in.

“They knew that we were trying to help them. The kids just loved us being there.”

Morgan said that she enjoyed playing with the local children.

“We taught them how to play Duck-Duck-Goose. It made them so happy,” she said. “They would get excitement out of the smallest things.”

The group also went hiking in the wilderness. She recalled a particularly memorable hike through a banana field.

“When we were hiking, this man offered us a whole thing of bananas. It made our day. We were really excited.”

They also went white water rafting on the Pejibaye River.

“I thought they were pretty harsh,” Morgan said of the rapids. “I fell out. They had to stick an oar out for me to grab.”

Morgan said the trip was fun, but that she also learned a lot.

“I learned that if I tried to get through it, I can,” she said about the difficult tasks she was faced with on the trip.

She also said she made life-long friends.

“We didn’t even know each other. By the end, we were so close,” she said of her group. Morgan said she would keep in contact with them.

“I think everyone should get a chance to go,” Morgan said. “They help you learn about yourself.”