Our Work in Costa Rica
Volunteers in 2013 will promote environmental conservation by working with local youth and community members, both in national parks and their host communities to carry out the following:
I. Youth engagement:
- Work alongside park rangers and Costa Rican youth to carry out park initiatives (i.e. trail maintenance, create new trails, paint park lodges, build bathrooms, and bridge construction). Volunteers will also have the opportunity to explore the parks and partake in recreational activities that pertain to each park (i.e. a trip to the beach, hike to a waterfall, summit the closest mountain, etc.).
- Unique to the Perez Zeledon project, Project Supervisors also work along side CASA Coordinadores plan and implement all National Park activities.
- Each of the three weeks spent in National Parks, Volutneers are paired with local youth in small work groups where each group is in charge of either food preparation, recreational activities, educational activities, logistics, first aid, or general safety. In these groups Volunteers are given the opportunity to take the lead in organizing and running a part of the week long camps.
II. Community Service:
- Carrying out environmental conservation activities in the National parks.
- Collaborate with community members and local youth to carry out small initiatives (i.e. community and school gardens).
- Facilitate a variety of games and lessons for children on a variety of topics, including the environment as an overarching theme.
III. Cross-Cultural Understanding: Although all AMIGOS projects enhance understanding between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the structure of the Perez Zeledon allows for Volunteers and local youth to live and work side by side - cooking, planning activities, and working in national parks, day in and day out for half of their stay in country.
About our Partners in Costa Rica
AMIGOS has been collaborating with Casa de la Juventud (CASA) on and off since 2003. CASA is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for Costa Rican youth to finish secondary education, learn technical skills, play on organized sports teams, and develop youth groups. CASA, although small in size, has developed quite a remarkable reputation within the country for the work it does in the national parks and with local youth. They have connections with MINAE (Ministry of Environment and Energy), the Ministry of Education, and CRUSA (a US/Costa Rican foundation). After being connected with AMGOS, the president of CASA, Jeison Bartels, was inspired to start a "mini-AMIGOS" program in which local youth hold short term service trips in a local community. Being exposed to AMIGOS also inspired Jeison to re-structure the way CASA was functioning. CASA is a youth-run organization and an excellent fit to collaborate with the AMIGOS staff and facilitate youth-focused activities.