CASSTOWN — It’s not every day that one can go whitewater rafting on the Sarapiqui River, walk over the rain forest, or eat lunch at the coffee capital of the world.
However, through their hard work in Future Farmers of America, two Miami East students have done just that.
Madeline Davis of Troy and Lauren Williams of Tipp City embarked on the nine-day adventure with 48 other FFA members across the nation to Costa Rica, where they went on an all-expenses-paid adventure to discover Costa Rica’s ecosystem and diversity of agriculture.
Seminar participants were selected from national agricultural proficiency award finalists and American Star Farmer and Star in Agribusiness finalists named last October at the 87th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky.
The seminar, in addition to cash awards and plaques, is made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation.
Miami East Ag Teacher and FFA Adviser Marie Carity accompanied Davis and Williams on the trip, which the school district paid for.
“While there we got to have a lot of diverse experiences,” she said. “The goal of the trip was to be educational and learn about Costa Rica’s agricultural system and culture, but also to have fun.”
The group first arrived in Miami before jetting to Costa Rica on June 11. The group arrived in San Jose, where they met their guides before heading to the Doka Plantation to learn about coffee production and the plantation’s history.
Davis enjoyed the tour of the Doka Plantation.
“It was really interesting to learn about their processes as well as the company values,” she said. “I was impressed.”
Williams said touring Doka Plantation was fun, although her favorite part of the trip was visiting Freddo Leche in Alajuela. Set among the Poas and Barva volcanoes, the dairy farm is home to 600 dairy cattle, 350 of which are milked.
“We got to see the calves in the nursery and then milk the cows, and it was a lot of fun,” she said. “There are a couple of differences but also a lot of similarities to how the dairy farms in Costa Rica operate compared to the United States.”
Whitewater rafting and ziplining were Davis and Williams’ favorite activities. Davis said whitewater rafting was a new experience for her, while Williams called the different views she got to see from the zipline beautiful.
The tours and adventures the girls went on are memories and experiences they said they would always be grateful for, but it was the people they met that were unforgettable.
“I was extremely excited to go to Costa Rica, since it was my first time traveling without my parents,” Davis said. “Getting to meet all the FFA members from around the country and get to know them was one of the best parts of the trip.”
Williams agreed about meeting other FFA members, but added that the tour guides and Costa Ricans made the lasting impression on her.
“The people of Costa Rica were so warm, friendly and inviting to us as tourists,” she said. “The kindness of San Jose was the part I’ll never forget, and I’ll always be grateful for how our tour guides treated us like we were family.”