News From Great Lakes Hybrids

Great Lakes Hybrids and Customers Volunteer and Assist Responsible Tourism Initiative in Costa Rica

Feb 23, 2017, 10:50 AM by Sara Fisher
Michigan-based seed company Great Lakes Hybrids recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica where they assisted a local development project with its “Responsible Tourism” initiative, serving the local community with painting projects, school maintenance, cleaning up beach areas, and local facility construction.

February 23, 2017

Michigan-based seed company Great Lakes Hybrids recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica where they assisted a local development project with its “Responsible Tourism” initiative, serving the local community with painting projects, school maintenance, cleaning up beach areas, and local facility construction. In addition, Great Lakes donated a combined $5,000 worth of supplies to help with enhancements and maintenance in El Jobo, a village in Costa Rica’s northwest region of Guanacaste.

In partnership with COSTA ELENA®, a real estate development in northwest Guanacaste Costa Rica, a group of ninety Great Lakes Hybrids customers, dealers and staff donated a portion of their vacation time and resources to help complete projects in El Jobo. This is the second year that Great Lakes organized a service project while abroad during their winter retreat.

The ninety Great Lakes volunteers split up into eight groups, each assisted by a translator from Swiss Travelers. Three groups cleaned up area beaches, taking items to a community recycling center run by forty local women. Two groups went to a local elementary school where they performed grounds keeping, building maintenance and facility construction. Two groups went to local churches where they painted and began construction of a children’s classroom; and one group went to the local park where they mended fences and a pavilion, as well as performed other maintenance tasks. 

Julie Beck, Community Relations Manager of COSTA ELENA, played a large role in arranging projects for volunteers to complete. COSTA ELENA, by Pellas Development, began the Guanacaste project in 2008. The region was, and remains, one of the most underdeveloped and poorest in Costa Rica.  Residents did not have easy access to healthcare, education, good roads or even potable water. COSTA ELENA has already provided an aqueduct with potable water, paved roads and education assistance with JUMPSTART and Libros Para Todos. 

“COSTA ELENA works side by side with local leaders and community groups to bring needed resources into the town and set the stage for responsible and sustainable tourism,” said Beck. “The Great Lakes service project may be simple, but the extra hands of our American farmer friends and the $2,500 worth of supplies donated by Great Lakes Hybrids allowed us to quickly complete improvements that have been years in the making.”

At an auction later in the week, Great Lakes Hybrids travelers raised another $2,500 for Amigos of Costa Rica to put toward community enhancements and related projects.

“It was a wonderful cultural experience and we are thankful to be able to ‘pay-it-forward’,” said Doug Little, Great Lakes Hybrids Brand Manager.  In recent years, Great Lakes has made a concentrated effort to give back to communities through organizations such as Humble Heroes, Heroes in Action/The Puppy Jake Foundation, and Keeping Kids in School. “We are thrilled with the interest in community outreach and look forward to continuing this service program in the future.” 

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