Earlier this month we had the privilege of hosting a group from Asheville, North Carolina, which is our U.S. hometown. 🙂 This group, led by Jeff Firewalker and Cat Matlock, took part in a half-day service project in San Rafael, a village many know that True Nature has been working in for many years. The mission of the project was to paint the home of a woman named Doña Ana. While seemingly a straight forward task, by the end of its duration, the power of service had really shined through.
Lindsay Padilla, True Nature Village Representative, shared that “the group arrived, and after welcoming them we started painting, and at the end, it was like another house! The colors are beautiful. We have been painting many houses, but this group did an especially wonderful job. They were so dedicated to service. In the end, Doña Ana was so grateful she was moved to tears. She had a great reason for it.”
In addition to the service project, the children from the community then invited the group to play soccer. They also enjoyed a cooking lesson, describing that they truly “felt the love from the Padilla Kitchen.”
Jeff and Cat also offered their healing services to Lindsay’s mother, who is in the process of healing from cancer. Lindsay shared that “not only did the group come to our village to help work, paint, and connect, they also came to help my mother heal which was so gracious and unexpected.”
Each time a group joins us in Costa Rica, it is a unique experience. Every time we have the opportunity to serve together, a sense of growth and healing happens within ourselves and within those that we serve. This reciprocal process continues to inspire us at True Nature Education and keeps us going each day and each trip. The power of service is true and eminent.
When was the last time you took time out of your life to be of service? Have you ever felt the power of service?
It’s not everyday that you can play with monkeys, build a school, eat three delicious meals straight from the farmland you are staying on, take a swim and practice a little yoga. But, on a True Nature Education Service and Adventure Program, this is just one day during an action-packed week of activities.
What is the Service and Adventure Program?
“While on this trip I have found a piece of serenity. I have found a part of myself that I has long been missing, and feel so thankful to have made some lasting friendships! I will never forget this trip and feel so blessed to have gotten to come.”
– Melissa Kraak, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Our Service and Adventure Programs are an exciting new way to experience the authentic rich culture of the incredible country while also doing work to support its people and communities through preservation of the land and the environment. In a time where our world is becoming more and more of a global family, what better way to be part of the bridge of support we are creating?
We’ve got an amazing group of student leaders representing nationwide chapters of The National Society of Leadership and Success in Costa Rica this week spreading the global service mission. The National Society of Leadership and Success is a national service and leadership organization throughout over 400 college campuses around the country. Here is just one day from their itinerary this week:
8:30am: Transport to BBI Monkey Sanctuary for Service Work
2:00pm: Service Work
4:00pm: Labyrinth Walk
5:30pm: Return to Karahe for Dinner (Announcements for Next Day)
7:00pm: Evening Circle/Letting Go Exercise with Special Nature Items to hold on to
Our Service and Adventure Program can be customized for just about any type of group you have from a church group to a corporate business retreat. We love working with our good friends at The National Society of Leadership and Success.
“This has been the most amazing experience in my life. I feel so blessed and privileged to be a part of this trip and provide my services to help others! I have never felt more useful and purpose driven, than on this trip. I hope to take a lot of what I have learned back home with me and become more involved in other service opportunities around the world, as well as in my own country. I just want to thank everyone involved who has made this trip possible and for providing us with two wonderful people to lead us around and grow with us!”
– Jenny Modesitt, Monroe, North Carolina
As they close out 2014 with their last program with True Nature, we are excited as we look to 2015 for four more Service and Adventure experiences planned with them. They are also open to any other student from a university looking to get something more out of their school breaks.
What are you waiting for? Check out some more pics from our recent trip and call us today to start planning a life changing experience for a group of your friends!
Society members will have the opportunity to take their dedication to leadership and service on an international mission to communities in need in Costa Rica. The Society and True Nature Education share similar missions and values in their dedication to the “good of the community” through community service.
Students representing The Society will take part in a special travel opportunity that focuses on service that is directly immersed with the local communities in Costa Rica. Service projects will involve land restoration, community centers such as schools and libraries, working with native animals, and more.
New opportunities will continue in exciting adventures in activities such as surfing lessons, parasailing, horseback riding, rainforest zip-lining, sea kayaking, exploring waterfalls and volcanoes, and more.
This group represents schools from across the United States, including:
Georgia Southern University
Old Dominion University
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
North Shore Community College
Sam Houston State University
Kent State University
North Carolina State University
University of Tampa
Alamance Community College
University at Buffalo
Ohio State University
South Piedmont Community College
St. John’s University
Auburn University at Montgomery
Follow along with updates From-the-Road as we share glimpses into the experience throughout the week. You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and updates.
About 4 years… About 1460 days… About 35,040 hours… About an amazing person…
I still can remember the exact moment (which was four years ago) when we had the pleasure to welcome a group from the True Nature Education Costa Rica Center in our village. They painted two houses for many happy faces in our community.
People always say that time flies so fast. Maybe this is true, however, in this moment, time just decided to stop in front my eyes.
We were ready to toast with a cup of sugar cane juice in my garden, and my friend, Raylene Gerber, was there, with a beautiful student group as well as two more great women (the teacher and a mother).
But before I can continue with this testimony, I have to tell you something…
Anita, a smart 11-year-old girl, had just appeared there (two days prior), and we invited her to join us. Raylene turned to me and said with a smile, “She was the girl who has a brother (Ariel) and lives just there (pointing to Anita’s house). I remember her; we painted her house.”
Wow! Raylene has been volunteering here in my village for many times for many people, and in this moment, she remembered Anita’s face, recognizing her four years later. I can’t imagine how many people she has seen in the last four years, but she recognized her!!! That makes me think that when you make something with love, when your heart is open to new experiences and when your intention is to write a beautiful story in the pages of the universe, things like this happen.
Raylene Gerber, you are a blessing for the Earth! You did more than just paint her home… You put color to my week! You made me feel so happy to know how much you love everything you do. That is exactly what Pura Vida means!!!
I can spend all night writing about the beautiful experiences we have seen through the support and endless effort that Joshua Canter and his family have done in our community. I can say that True Nature Education really offers an opportunity to anyone interested in taking part on the positive change we all wish to see in the world.
After sharing this, at the end of an amazing week, I can say Buenas Noches, amigos.
One of the main themes that we practice at True Nature Education is the function and meaning of mindfulness.
We have found by subtly utilizing mindfulness in our programs our participants are able to have a more memorable, rewarding, and profound experience while traveling with us. Why is this? Because when we are mindful we are able to experience the moment more fully, and therefore can truly enjoy the fruits of our life. These “fruits” are especially rich and inspiring are especially rich and inspiring when traveling, on retreat, and learning new things, in a new place.
On the second day of our retreat, the National Society of Leadership and Success group members had a great discussion about using mindfulness in letting go of unnecessary elements and allowing room in our mind, body, and spirit for the incredible raw beauty that Costa Rica was shedding upon us in our journey through the country.
Here’s some reflection from Kathryn, from this discussion:
Have you ever thought about what you’d like to let go of in your life? At 6:15 AM, I decided let go of the hate to make room for forgiveness. Letting go was the theme of the Day 3 as we entered into the Second Stage of our Costa Rica Journey. I began my morning with yoga and ending my night listening to a young man’s beyond inspiring poetry. Today was another wonderfully full day, filled with cleaning up the beach, parasailing, and becoming one with the rain forest at Manuel Antonio National Park. Every day that I am here I learn more and more not only about the wilderness, but about the fascinating people who I am sharing this adventure with, and most of all, about myself. Today was a good day. Todo Bien. (“All good”). Pura Vida. – Kathryn Hima, Western Connecticut State University, CT
Seeking your next global adventure? Learn More about the diverse catalog of programs that True Nature offers each year. From meditating on the pristine beaches of Costa Rica--to hiking the sacred sites of Peru, from biking the rolling hills of Tuscany--to practicing yoga on the islands of Greece, True Nature offers experiences for everyone.