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The Triumphant return of CREAR Camp

Twice a year, during summer and winter holidays from school, CREAR takes a break from its typical programming to provide two weeks of fun-filled camp activities to the children of Samara and El Torito. During this time, our focus shifts from structured classes to time spent in nature and community. Week one of 2022 winter camp, which began on July 4th , welcomed students from the Samara community to participate in art, cooking, surfing, hiking, Olympics and more! Week two offered the same activities to students in the nearby community of El Torito.

The first day of camp featured an art class, in which students used wooden skewers and yarn to create God’s eyes. It is always magical to watch our students express their creativity and enjoy experimenting with new materials. Some students stuck to the assigned project, while others found new ways to create. A young student who was struggling with the original process decided to turn his God’s eye into a three-eyed insect. Another created a rainbow gemstone from many colors of yarn, and many more made necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The students were proud of what they created, and the final products turned out not only beautiful, but unique!

During the second day of camp, students enjoyed learning to cook traditional Costa Rican empanadas. Groups of campers rotated through stations involving different steps of the cooking process including chopping veggies, grating cheese, and forming the empanada. Each student had the chance to make and customize their own empanada by choosing a filling, shaping the masa, and handing it off to be fried. Many of the children had never cooked empanadas before, and they enjoyed learning about the process that goes into making this popular snack, and of course eating it! We would like to thank Deyvison Lopez and Señor Pit’s catering for making this fun and delicious class possible!

The third day of camp saw our students venturing to Samara beach to enjoy a day of surf lessons, swimming, and playing in the sand. Experienced and beginner surfers alike had the opportunity to catch some waves with the help of instructors from C&C Surf School. Students were first given on-land instruction, then it was time to head out on the water! Many of the students had been surfing before, but for others this was their first experience. It was amazing to see the joy and pride on their faces as they stood on the board for the first time! Those who chose to opt out of surfing also had plenty to do, as they played soccer, built sandcastles, and swam with friends. We loved watching our students enjoy this awesome sport and would like thank the incredible instructors from C&C for their generosity and patience with our campers!

On day four, students had the opportunity to hike through Samara’s unique tropical dry forest. The day began when students were picked up in buses provided by Samara Adventure Company and driven to the trailhead. Upon arrival, tour guides gave an overview of the natural environment before embarking on the adventure. During the hike, students saw many species of native plants and animals including bats, monkeys, insects, and Costa Rica’s national tree, the Guanacaste! Students had the chance to observe these species up close through a telescope and were excited to experience the natural environment in this new way. After the hike, students enjoyed watermelon, pineapple, and juice as a refreshing snack before heading home. We would like to thank Samara Adventure Company for leading this hike, and appreciate the time and effort put in to provide our students with a wonderful outdoor experience.

The fifth and final day of camp was Olympics! When students arrived, they were split up into teams to compete in a variety of outdoor games. Each group was assigned a color and students had fun using face paint to sport their color and support their team! We then headed out to the field to enjoy games including tug-of-war, musical chairs, three-legged-race, water bucket relay, obstacle course, and even a watermelon eating contest! Our students loved the friendly competition and enjoyed playing and cheering for their team. The day ended with a water fight, as students used buckets and bowls to soak their friends and beat the heat! This fun-filled day was the perfect way to close out an incredible week of camp.

We are so grateful for these two weeks of camp, and for the resources to continue providing our students with special camp experiences each year. This would not be possible without support from our community, donors, and volunteers. We would like to give a special thank you to our Travel for Teens and Intercultura volunteer groups who were present during both camp weeks. We appreciate the hard work you put in to make this week extra special for our students!

-By Evey Kinkade


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