Costa Rica adventure for teenage leader

Nicola Eldridge
Nicola Eldridge

A teenager from Roxton has been on a trip of a lifetime with Girlguiding.

Nicola Eldridge, 15, travelled to Costa Rica to volunteer with a group of Girlguiding members, helping at a children’s care centre and volunteered on a conservation project.

She stayed with a Costa Rican family while volunteering at the children’s centre, playing games with the youngsters, ran arts and crafts sessions, decorated the classroom and helped with meals.

Nicola, who is a young leader at 1st Willington Brownies, said: “Volunteering at the children’s centre meant the children could do more activities and we were able to give them individual attention. By staying with a local family for the first week I experienced the Costa Rican culture.”

In her second week Nicola helped out on conservation projects at the Diria National Park, did beach cleaning, learnt about turtles and bats and helped with a project monitoring howler monkeys.

She said: “The highlight of the trip was living in the rainforest and being so close to nature. I loved volunteering in the national park and learning about the different wildlife.”

Nicola visited a volcano, coffee plantation and local towns, went caving and climbed a mountain in time for sunrise.

She said: “Costa Rica has a relaxed way of life and it was a challenge to adapt at first. But once I did it made the trip so enjoyable as I lived as a Costa Rican for a fortnight.”

The trip to Costa Rica was organised as part of Girlguiding Anglia’s International Opportunities programme (INTOPS) which offers international adventures to around 50 young women aged 14 to 25 each year.