Though we’re counting down the hours until we get to officially launch the 2017 DREAM/Scatico Summer Camp, we fully took advantage of our Sunday Funday. Starting off with a boat tour of the scenic Laguna Gri Gri and relaxation on Playa Grande beach, and ending with a full team circle up, we feel rested and ready for the start of the week.
Our day kicked off with the Laguna tour. With the sun shining down on our faces, and the wind whipping our hair, we snaked our way through the Gri Gri mangroves, stopping to spot “giraffe trees,” lots of vultures drying their wings, and plenty of garsa birds. The mangrove led us to the mouth of the Atlantic, where we started to boat past Pirates of the Caribbean-style rock formations, and admired the crystal clear Dominican waters.
After a brief tour through a mini cave, it was time to head to “La Piscina,” an alcove appropriately called “the pool” for its super tranquil turquois (and surprisingly salty) water. Perfect for a go-pro sesh, we jumped off our boats and, of course, posed for unlimited pics.
After the Laguna it was time to hit the beach. We luckily managed to miss the rain, and arrived just in time for an ocean-side feast of fried fish, avocado salad, pasta, rice, and yes, more chicken. Then, with Coco Locos and virgin Piña Coladas in tow, we took our first stab at bargain shopping. Some of us certainly fared better than others, but all returned with a healthy stash from the various beach tchotchke stands. Some highlight novelty items: a baseball, wooden turtles, reversible rings, a wooden machete (non functional…luckily), faux Ray Bans, and many many leather and beaded bracelets for siblings.
Next we hit the sand, trekking down to a secluded part of the beach so we could enjoy the surf to ourselves. Games of catch, body surfing, drumming/singing with our private lifeguard Dauri, and go-proing abounded. It may not have been our first times at a beach, but it was our first true Dominican beach experience. From trying a favorite local candy (coconut and sugar blended together with ginger, chocolate, dulce de leche and more) to laying in our half-broken beach chairs, and Sophie even getting her hair braided, it was a true DR Domingo.
By 3:30 it was time to head back to our home base. Kite Beach Hotel was just as we left it—full of kite surfers seemingly flying through the air—and we enjoyed a few moments of rest before heading to Mojitos for dinner. Located in the heart of Cabarete beach, Mojitos was “encendido” (our new local word for “lit”), full of tourists and Dominicans alike hunkering down on sandwiches. With the sand in our toes, we took our first foray into the world of Dominican juices, learning that chinola (passion fruit) and mango look surprisingly similar, papaya is much better in smoothie form, and piña is always a safe bet.
Back at the hotel we circled up for a moment of reflection before the big camp week ahead. Taking time to pause as a group and each share a personal goal for the rest of our trip. Some consistent themes that emerged:
1. To “make a kid’s day”
2. To learn how to problem solve
3. To improve our Spanish (even just getting one simple sentence out)
4. To embrace the DR culture, and bring a piece of it back home with us
5. To apply (and improve upon) our Scatico CIT training skills
6. To practice patience
7. To make a connection, with each other, the staff, and the campers
8. To better appreciate the luxuries that we have at home (especially the next time our mom nags us to do something)
9. To draw out the shyer campers and get them to try new things
10. To get comfortable with being uncomfortable
11. To make every Dominican camper feel as connected and as a part of our “family”, as we do at Scatico
We’re feeling inspired and ready for the week ahead. T-9 hours until camp!