Girl Scout Katie Maher of Harbeson was so inspired by her recent service learning course in Costa Rica that she decided to keep giving back long after her trip abroad. Katie, a 13-year-old from the Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay Council, was one of more than 20 girls to participate in Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Service Challenge course last summer, offered through a partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA.
After working with a local Costa Rican school in the region of Talamanca, Katie decided to take action and organize a drive that would provide school supplies for the students throughout the year.
“In Costa Rica, education is free, but the students are required to wear uniforms and purchase all of their school supplies,” Katie explained to her peers. “In the rural [communities], many families cannot afford to send their children to school because they cannot afford the uniforms or books.”
Katie named the drive Fill the School Bag for a Costa Rican Student, and asked any Girl Scout looking to get involved to donate the following materials to fill a backpack:
• A package of at least 12 pencils
• A large eraser or several small ones
• A pack of notebook paper
• Two composition books
• A pair of scissors
• A large glue stick or several small ones
• A picture of the troop and a letter to the student who will receive the backpack, explaining who the scout is and what it’s like to be a student in the United States.
The supplies drive was a great success. With the help of other Girl Scouts, Katie and her peers filled 25 backpacks. She sent the backpacks to the Girl Scouts team at Outward Bound Costa Rica, which will deliver the school supplies to the students in Talamanca on its next service project with the school.
Outward Bound Costa Rica has been a partner of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s destinations program for more than five years. OBCR’s destinations courses offer unique service learning, and outdoor adventure opportunities throughout Costa Rica and Panama. These courses provide young girls from all over the United States the opportunity to gain new friends while gaining compassion for other the environment and new cultures.