Community Leads Two UD Students to Costa Rica
By: Mason Di Palma – News Editor
UD students Logan Lambert and Matt Foley are taking their talents to San José, Costa Rica as part of a community revitalization project. The two seniors will be embarking on this adventure March 31, and it will last until April 5. According to Lambert, he and Foley “are going there to make a difference.”
The goal of the project is to build a skate park in the San José suburb of San Rafael. The project is sponsored by Journey, an organization that takes groups of 30 to 50 people on service and non-service excursions to a selected location, resulting in a “new sense of self at the completion of the program.”
Journey has partnered with Redbull and professional skater Ryan Sheckler to complete this two day assembly and park renovation project. The project will work alongside members of the San Rafael community, as well as various amateur and professional athletes.
The trip is a $1,200 expense, but Lambert and Foley are going to Costa Rica with all expenses paid for. They are going alongside 16 other college students from 15 colleges and universities from across the United States who won a video contest sponsored by Redbull.
Lambert, along with being an entrepreneurship major with a marketing minor, is a Student Brand Manager for Redbull. Lambert convinced Foley to take his love for skateboarding to the next level, asking him to enter the contest.
When Foley received the news that he would be going to Costa Rica he said, “Initially, I was shocked because there were 50 applicants and I couldn’t believe I got selected.” Foley and Lambert on top of being selected will be the only pair of students from the same school on the excursion.
Lambert said, “It’s exciting when you travel because it opens up your mind to how other people live.” Their destination, San José, is the fourth largest city in Central America. The city has recently struggled with crime, seeing a 20 percent increase in the homicide rate by the end of 2015. “The project is trying to get people in the community to come together,” Lambert said.
Foley elaborated, saying, “If kids are involved in something they like, it will bring them away from participating in organized crime.” Central America has been on edge as of late with countries like Guatemala and El Salvador battling corruption associated with gang violence.
The risk present doesn’t bother Foley. “Once you connect with people you understand why they do certain things,” Foley said. Costa Rica is famous for its action sports roots, but according to Lambert and Journey, they do not have access to the resources they need.
The two day assembly of the park is looking to leave a mark and stay afloat, even after Foley and Lambert return home. Journey, along with its partners, will be donating equipment to keep the project alive and inspire expansion of the sport.
The two seniors agreed that the hardest part of this trip is going to be the language barrier. In Costa Rica, the official language is Spanish and Foley said, “My Spanish is not very good.” Lambert added, “We’ll be able to get by. We know the basics of the language.”
Another challenge Lambert admitted that he is going to have is “putting yourself aside and focusing on others for a while.” The two seniors hope that this project will leave a mark in the town of San Rafael and spread the universities message of “community” to all across the town and country.
The trip may only be five days, but Lambert wants members of the UD community to use his story to “get out and do something that’s bigger than you.”
Foley is a firm believer in Lambert’s message, but he also has a message for the UD community, “Dayton is a great place, but sometimes we get away from the message they preach to us.”
With the trip right around the corner, the two seniors are in the final leg of preparation as they get ready to embark on what could be the journey of a lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lilia Sciarretti