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Jed Boal reporting A group of women from Salt Lake is headed to Costa Rica for a trip that includes more than the usual sites and adventures. The women plan to make new friends and offer help where it's needed.
Eight women from Salt Lake pack more than the average traveler headed to Costa Rica. Each will carry an extra box of soccer balls, shoes, clothing and school supplies to give to children in the villages on a 10-day trip that starts next week.
"We have the opportunity to pack light for our hiking vacation and take a lot of donations for the folks in the country," said Christine Schnitzer, of Walking the World.
It's more than 400 pounds in donations, mainly from store owners in Fort Collins, Colo., where Walking the World is based. The organization takes adventure travelers 50 and older to Costa Rica and elsewhere in the world. Its founder wanted to do more to help children who cannot afford a soccer ball.
The idea is to enjoy the volcanoes, the rain forests and beaches, but also give back. "We so respect their philosophy on ecotourism--that they share this wonderful country, that they're saving such a beautiful environment, that we can come down and enjoy," Schnitzer said.
In one village they will meet 60 children, play soccer, and eat together. "We are really excited to be able to hand these shoes and clothing and soccer balls to children who have so very little sometimes. We know we often have so much we can donate," Schnitzer said.
Walking the World travels to Costa Rica again in March and plans to help build classrooms in the future. It you'd like to travel with the group or donate in the future, click the related link.