Costa Rica is a beautifully diverse landscape, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other and nothing but jungle and mountains in between. Costa Rica has an incredibly diverse animal life, you are likely to see monkeys, sloths, and toucans right on the property. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is one of the happiest and most sustainable countries on Earth and the perfect place to truly connect with nature and discover the meaning of “Pura Vida!”
Download our info packed Program Guide!
Surfing • Rafting • Hiking • Waterfall Repelling
Flying Trapeze • Overnight Kayaking Excursion
THERAPEUTIC COACH & PROGRAM INSTRUCTORS
• On-site 24/7 for mental health support, group cohesion, and skill development.
• Core curriculum & wellness skills workshops.
• 3 sessions at the beginning of the program, and 3 sessions at the end, will be given to prepare families to aid in students adjusting to program life and during reintegration back home.
What is our Costa Rica Summer Wellness Adventure program like? Our students fresh off the Teen Girls Summer 2023 program share their experience.
Students fly together with their instructor to gorgeous Costa Rica and arrive at their new home for the next 6 weeks. Here the students will live together with two Program Instructors and Wellness Director in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. Our home is nested in the jungle with 4 waterfalls on site along with a pool, hot tub, exotic gardens, home theatre, and giant chess set- not to mention that toucans, sloths, and monkeys can often be seen in the backyard or on the hiking paths.
A key component of our program is learning the confidence and skills to live independently away from home. One day per week is dedicated to life skills - cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, budgeting, culinary skills. Together these students take on learning how to share a home, be good roommates, good housemates, and share responsibility in household chores. Students not only get cleaning lessons, but also are split into cooking groups where they take on the challenge of meal planning for the week, breaking down the meals into a grocery list, grocery shopping, making and keeping a grocery budget, and passing off to the next group. Each night the students cook dinner together with music on, learn the joy of creating their own meals, and sit down to a big “family” dinner.
Tackling the deep loneliness that post-COVID, social media influenced students often experience. Community is a key element in our programs, creating the most crucial lifelong skill that every student needs.
Living together in a house naturally engages the students in conflict resolution, problem solving, empathy, and communication skills. This also creates close peer to peer learning and the sense of belonging that comes from building and contributing to a supportive community. Our programs are mostly technology free which offers a well deserved break from a screen and leaves nothing but space for face to face encounters. Throughout the week the group heads out as a team taking on adventures and every evening at dinner students share affirmations celebrating each other for overcoming the day's challenges. After dinner the students take to evening games, dancing, karaoke nights, and hilarious retelling of stories from earlier that day.
The program also utilises “captain of the day” to engage in individual leadership skills as well as small groups to foster peer to peer discussion and accountability. Our program instructors facilitate endless group games like capture the flag in the backyard or after a long day of activities the group has the chance to lay by the pool. By the end of the program the students have created deep meaningful friendships that often continue long after the program is over.
Volunteer Service Learning at the Homestead
At home, the students will partner together as a group to repair the trails to the waterfalls leaving their home better than how they found it. They will also learn all of the aspects of how to care for the neighbours horses by feeding them, cleaning their stalls, brushing them, and taking them on walks. At the end, the students will be able to stand back and admire their work and realise how much can be accomplished with a team. Students complete 30 Volunteer Hours.
Our programs offer a range of thrilling adventures to stretch out of the comfort zone, build new capabilities and confidence, and make for some really good stories! Two adventure days every week.
We work with local organizations to curate intentional cultural immersion activities where students can learn about diverse values, worldviews, skills, and life habits. Through this, students expand their worldview and enjoy a global perspective and new lens to view their lives at home. In Costa Rica the national greeting is “Pura Vida” which directly translates to “Pure Life.” While on the program, students will come to understand how this motto really sets the tone for Costa Rican values and experience it themselves.
One of the best ways to experience another culture is through food! Once a week a native Costa Rican woman will come to the house and gather the students to give traditional Costa Rican Cooking Lessons. The students will taste new tropical fruits, experiment with new spices, and apply new methods to create homemade empanadas, ceviche, patacones and more. Students should come back and be able to share at least one new recipe with their families!
Students team up with a local school to practise Spanish in everyday experiential ways. Whether playing soccer or taking on arts and crafts with local kids, the students get to experience life in another country all while honing their accents!
Weekly workshops include group discussions and games around the meaning and purpose of the 7 dimensions of wellness: Emotional, Academic/Intellectual, Financial, Spiritual, Environmental, Physical, Social.
These workshops focus on peer-to-peer learning, allowing for group discussion and games around the meaning and purpose of each area of wellness and possible tools to be used to attend to each area of wellness. Students will discuss how each area of wellness affects them and bring optional new skills to incorporate into daily life. The workshop will end with a hands-on activity applying the new skills learned.
Living together teaches conflict resolution, problem solving + empathy. This is supported by our psychoeducational core curriculum focusing on weekly lessons focused on inter/intra-personal relationship skills, personal values, and tangible coping skills that will create long lasting connections to themselves, their communities, and their goals.
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured, sick, and orphaned Costa Rican wildlife. Our primary goal is the recovery and release of native animals back to their rainforest homes. We run a 24/7 veterinary clinic and provide medical treatment for all injured wildlife.
Many animals that come to Alturas have been domesticated, abused, or have suffered disabilities due to accidents. Some of these animals cannot be released back into the wild. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary will provide a safe refuge for these animals for the rest of their lives.
Student learn about toucans, sloths, monkeys, parrots + more, as well as the many professional roles required to run the facility. They get 30 hours of hands on experience caring for indigenous species and a certificate of completion.
Wrap-around support is achieved by bringing all student supports into the experience.
On Site Wellness Director
On our programs a licensed therapist serves as our Wellness Director and lives on site 24/7 with the student’s for the entirety of the program. The Wellness Director supports the group’s collective program journey by integrating intentional wellness practices into the daily routine as well as facilitates weekly group core sessions and wellness workshops. Our Wellness Director does not provide any clinical or medical services, however, they will coordinate weekly with each family's home therapist to facilitate each student's individual growth.
At-Home Family Talk Therapist
We believe in partnering with a family’s current at home therapist. Families have already spent careful time and attention to selecting the right clinical therapist for them, someone they have been diligently working with, and knows the student well. We believe this is the best person to support the student through the program as well as sustain their learning while integrating back home. Prior to the program, the student’s therapist will be contacted by our team and be intimately involved through the intake and goal setting process. During the program one full day per week is reserved for student wellness practices, during which each student will have a weekly appointment with their at-home therapist virtually to discuss their program experience, learning, challenges, and goals. Our program’s Wellness Director will be in contact with each student’s home therapist for holistic care and to fully support each individual student’s inner journey.
It is pivotal that parents and guardians are involved in the growth process. Parents are engaged from the start in the intake process, assisting with preparation and goals setting. During the program, our Wellness Director will communicate with parents weekly regarding the group and individual student journey. In addition parents can participate in an optional weekly parent course that mirrors the student curriculum so that everyone is on the same page when the students return home. After the program, parents and at-home therapists will be essential in reintegrating the student back home and supporting the sustainability of the student’s growth at home and help apply that growth to future chapters of their lives.
NEW! PARENT COACHING
Three (3) sessions at the beginning of the program, and three (3) sessions at the end, will be given to prepare families to aid in students adjusting to program life and during reintegration back home.
On program there are 2 program instructors who are experts in experiential education and travel who live with the group for the entire program. These instructors participate in every activity with the students and help them work towards the program goals providing consistent individual and group support.
Peer Group Support
Peer to peer learning and support is key for personal development. Students utilise small groups throughout the program for self learning, discussion, and accountability.
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