Kyla Lavender, an 18–year-old member of the Girl Scouts of Magnolia, recently embarked upon the 14-day scuba and sea turtle adventure destination with Outward Bound Costa Rica.

Alongside Girl Scouts from around the country, she traveled to Panama to participate in the conservation efforts of endangered sea turtles and to explore the archipelago of Bocas del Toro while learning to scuba dive.

In the San San Pond Sak wetlands, on the Caribbean coast of Panama, Lavender and her group participated in a multi-day service project to help the endangered leatherback sea turtle population, working with local biologists to build habitats; catalogue nests; measure, weigh and release hatchlings; and perform night patrols to protect female turtles as they lay their eggs.

Lavender and her fellow Girl Scouts then traveled to the remote island of Solarte, located in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, where they learned about the area’s diverse ecology and exotic marine life. From the island basecamp, Lavender and her group earned their NAUI Scuba Open Water Certification and participated in a once-in-a-lifetime night dive through bioluminescent waters.

“I think I became a more well-rounded person as a whole. Even if there were challenges, we were able to overcome them and we worked really well as a team,” said Lavender of her experience.

“Outward Bound Costa Rica’s programs, like the one Kyla participated in, create environments that allow for personal and leadership development through challenges, group effort and cross-cultural understanding,” said Jim Rowe, executive director of Outward Bound Costa Rica.

Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has partnered with Girl Scouts to offer unique Girl Scouts destinations trips in Costa Rica and Panama.

For information, visit outwardboundcostarica.org.