Global Travel Alliance is proud to take students and groups from all over the world to exciting educational destinations around the world - Washington, D.C., New York City, Costa Rica, the Grand Canyon, and more. The service we provide and the relationships we grow lead us to believe that what we do as an organization is so valuable. It's why we started Global Doing Good, a not-for-profit extension and partner that gives back to communities we travel to (i.e. homebuilding) and from (i.e. Two Roads Project).
Daniel Granados, our Costa Rica Program Director who we mentioned this summer, loves this idea of serving and therefore started the Leaf Cutter Project within Global Doing Good. The LCP (for short) is about providing environmental and language education for at-risk Costa Rican youth. The hope is that their extracurricular learning with Global Doing Good can segway into a professional conservation, ecology, and/or tourism career. Active participants are required to "pay it forward" by giving back to their own community in a variety of ways.
For lower-income families from rural Costa Rica, travel is a rare commodity. LCP kids get a chance to leave home and learn more about their country by visiting forests, volcanoes, cities, and other local destinations. However, those are not the only travel opportunities they have.
For the past two summers Global Doing Good has picked the most dedicated LCP kids for a trip to Montana for a week of adventure, education, and fun. Daniel says this about why they come to Montana:
The idea of this trip is to have the experience of seeing a different country, culture, wildlife and ecosystem. The most important part for them is to be a good example for more kids in the program who can be part of this every year.
This summer, three participants, one graduate of the program, a teacher from their school, Daniel and his dad came up to Montana and stayed with a family (one of our awesome American Heritage group leaders). They spent seven days and six nights exploring the Yellowstone River area near Billings, floating on the Yellowtail Dam, exploring the Tongue River Caves, and a journey to Yellowstone National Park (where, as perfect luck would have it, the group saw bears, wolves, elk, bison, and a wide variety of birds). To say these Costa Rican high school students had an educational experience would be an understatement.
So what's next? Upon their return home Daniel explained it like this:
Leaf Cutter Project is a unique program in Costa Rica and we want to bring more opportunities for more kids every year in Costa Rica and out of Costa Rica.
It's pretty simple if you think about it. The LCP, Global Doing Good, Global Travel Alliance, Daniel and the rest of our team want to build bridges and change lives through educational travel both home and abroad. Want to get in on the fun? Here's a few options for you:
- Read the official Leaf Cutter Project information at globaldoinggood.org/leaf-cutter
- Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/leafcutterproject to see what their trip was all about and to witness their future endeavors.
- Watch this awesome video that one of the travelers put together about their expeirence: quik.gopro.com/v/swWb03hkUC
- Contact us about taking a group of students on an educational trip to Costa Rica or about the opportunity of meeting the LCP kids the next time you're down there.