Meet Deirdre, Who Volunteered in Costa Rica with Her Grandchildren

Volunteer vacation with grandkids

It’s time to meet another intrepid Discover Corps volunteer! Today, we’re introducing you to Deirdre, who went on our Costa Rica volunteer vacation with her husband, daughters, and grandchildren. Intergenerational travel is growing more and more popular, and for good reason: it’s a great way for families to learn, bond, and spend time together.

Without further ado, here’s Deirdre’s lovely story of intergenerational volunteer travel.

Hi Deirdre! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My husband Dag and I are retired professionals who love to travel. We have 14 grandchildren, who like other children their age, are going to live their lives in a global community. We think it is important for them to experience everyday life outside the U.S. if they are going to comprehend the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Family volunteer vacation Costa Rica
Volunteering at the school.

What made you decide to go on a volunteer vacation? Why’d you choose Discover Corps?

We chose to go on a volunteer vacation because we feel being personally engaged in a project and working side-by-side with people can be a deeply enriching experience. We wanted to pass that realization on to our grandsons, and Discover Corps offered the opportunity to live and work in a local community in addition to having fun.

[bctt tweet=”Why a #volunteer vacation? Well, this @DiscoverCorps traveler calls it deeply enriching:” via=”no”]

How was your volunteer vacation different from other trips you’ve taken?

Before our daughters and teenage grandsons joined us, we spent a week in the northern part of Costa Rica doing all the local tourist things like hiking, kayaking, taking boat tours etc. In retrospect, we didn’t find it nearly as satisfying as the week we spent with Discover Corps on the Pacific Coast. It felt more like being in an amusement park than being engaged with the people around us.

Kids on Costa Rica volunteer vacation
Fútbol con los Ticos!

What was the highlight of your trip?

Our grandsons are serious soccer players, and at my request, the staff arranged for them to play soccer three times with the local kids. It was a huge hit, and the boys came away with a real appreciation for the great skills and sense of fun the Costa Ricans bring to the game, in contrast to the competitive feel of soccer in the US.

After our time volunteering at the school, one of the boys commented that he’d found the experience “strangely satisfying” and the pictures of all of us hot and sweaty with big smiles on our face attest to that.

On our trip to Corcovado Park where they hiked in the jungle, swam in the ocean and played in a waterfall, my 14-year-old turned to me and said “Gramma, this is paradise.”

[bctt tweet=”How nice would it be to hear this? ‘Gramma, this is paradise’ –>”]

Paradise in Costa Rica

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you left?

Just before we left on the trip, I was nervous that there might not be enough fun things for the boys to do, but there was a good mix of activity, discussion and downtime. Our guides Wayner and Noilyn were full of fun, skilled at their work, and made a point of getting to know everyone. In all of our travels, they are the best guides we have ever seen.

Did this trip change your worldview at all?

As you can see, our family trip was a big success. My daughters came away with a new appreciation for the value of travel that brings us into contact with the local people, and mentioned rethinking a family trip. Our grandsons learned of a world very different from the world they know at home, and they loved sharing it with family.

Volunteer vacation with grandkids
Two thumbs up!

We love taking families on volunteer vacations, so we LOVE this story. A huge gracias to Deirdre and her family for sharing their experience with us! 

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