Make Promises Happen | Costa Rica | Finca Bella Vista


Where do I even start. I’ve been involved with Make Promises Happen since 2008. (to read that whole crazy long story you can read here    )

As a summary, camp changed my life, I met my husband Josh and some of my best friends in the entire world at Make Promises Happen, and it’s  Josh and I’s favorite place to be on earth.

Make Promises Happen takes two trips per year. One Ski Trip to Winter Park Colorado at the National Ski Center for the Disabled , and one to Port Aransas, Texas to surf!

To keep up to date with all the goings on at camp check out the camp Facebook page here  

2014 was a brand new year for MPH. This was the year we decided to add a trip to Costa Rica. A former counselor ( who am I kidding, you can never be a former counselor, once you’re a counselor at MPH you’ll always be one, but it’s a good way to say, a counselor who’s awesome and old school)  Erica Hogan decided with her husband Matt to start a sustainable tree house community named Finca Bella Vista, in Costa Rica. Not only was she crazy enough to do that, but she was also crazy enough to invite a crew of leaders, counselors, and campers from MPH! I heard her say a few times on the trip referencing to herself and the original founders of Make Promises Happen ” I learned crazy from the best of them!” and would point to all of us.

I can’t thank everyone who donated to our fundraising  it was a life changing trip. Honestly.

I’ve finally recouped enough and slightly gathered my thoughts to put together this blog, I’m going to describe each day of our trip, and then show photos from it! Hope you can keep up!

Here is the highlight video! : )

Day 1 :

Today was travel day. We all were SUPER excited to finally be starting this adventure that our airport photos make us look like wild animals full of excitement! I was so excited to see our group on a plane together, there was no doubt that we were a little bit distracting to the unsuspecting passengers. I like to believe it brightened their travels though ; ) After flying from OKC to Atlanta, then Atlanta to San Jose Costa Rica and making a poor Costa Rican man haul all of our huge backpacks through the airport ( don’t worry we tipped him) we finally made it. We were actually in another country, worn out and eating dinner together : )

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^MPH in sign language!^
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^John LOVES diet coke^


^James and Elisha filling out ALLLL the customs forms^


^taking over the place^2014-03-26_0041 2014-03-26_0035


Day 2 : This was one of my favorite days, we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast, but our plan for the day was to start the drive to the coast and take it down to Finca. We had 3 SUV’s packed down and loaded and started our adventure. We were out of the box, for sure. I was in the car with Jay and Jordan, Jay kept repeating how much he was loving the trip, and Jordan never put his camera down.  We made it to our first stop and got there just in time to see the sunset on the beach and take these super cute photos!

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^ Planning out the route^2014-03-26_0047 2014-03-26_0048 2014-03-26_0049

^holy mango!^


^They have pretty much all their carbonated drinks in glass bottles and I LOVE IT^

2014-03-26_0051^No big deal, just another palm tree farm…. ( the photographer in me was freaking out) ^

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 ^ Sandra : ) You’re so so beautiful ^2014-03-26_0054

^John escaping into the Ocean^2014-03-26_0055

The sweetest man on the planet ^ Jay 2014-03-26_0056 2014-03-26_0057

Day 3 : This is the day with the least amount of photos because I may or may not have been attacked by a rouge wave in the Ocean and separated my collar bone from my shoulder and visited a Costa Rican hospital…. BUT fun was still had by all! Beach, parasailing, and banana boat riding, and it was a beautiful day!  The sunset alone made my whole trip.


^the beach in the morning : ) ^2014-03-26_0059

^ the really cool street behind the beach^2014-03-26_0060

^ josh, hannah, and 5 out of 6 of our campers, james elisha beth and Nonnies hat…^2014-03-26_0061

Erica is a good jumper!^2014-03-26_0062 2014-03-26_0063 2014-03-26_0064

^ I really thought I might have died and gone to heaven… my face hurt from smiling^2014-03-26_0065^ our crew on the banana boat : ) ^

Day 4 : On day 4 we went to an really great place called Kids Saving the Rainforest we got to see so many monkeys SUPER close up, it was great! We also traveled by a school yard where everything was bright colors and outdoors,  again, I was wowed, and then FINALLY we drove and made it to Finca Bella Vista. We had all been warned that we had some hiking ahead of us, and all the campers had to carry their own back packs ( this was the only time my injury did NOT hurt so bad… as I watched James and Josh carry my 25 lb bags up a huge rocky steep hill )  I keep thinking about this part of the trip as a HUGE team building exercise, some people said it even reminded them of The Biggest Looser T.V. show. It was intense, everyone was pushed to their limit as the hauled all of their belongings up to their tree houses, but that was the amazing part about it. We ALL did it. The campers, DID IT. I was so proud, so so proud of them that I was almost in tears thinking about what they had accomplished. So often individuals with special needs get thrown into a TV room, handed a book, or given another task to occupy their time. What people don’t understand is that their need for adventure, new things, challenges, and fun experiences is just as great as yours or mine. This is why we do what we do. This is why the counselors and staff at Make Promises Happen work so hard at building trust, friendships, and family like bonds during camp. So when that day comes when someone says, ” Hey, wanna hike to a waterfall, zip line, or sleep in a tree house with us?” They don’t even hesitate to trust us and say ” Let’s do it” . Day 4 was a great day.
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^please notice his precious shirt^2014-03-26_0069 2014-03-26_0070

^crazy monkeys !!^2014-03-26_0071 2014-03-26_0072 2014-03-26_0073 2014-03-26_0074

^ erica and part of her team!^ 2014-03-26_0075

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^My extra baggage…^2014-03-26_0078 2014-03-26_0079

^So in love with the two men in the very center haha^2014-03-26_0080

^Look at these troopers^

Day 5 : We split up into groups, one group went zip lining, the other group hung out and dug a hole to roast a pig in, and I hiked all day and took photos of zip liners and the super crazy cool garden that Finca has.


^ this was RIGHT OUTSIDE my tree house… REALLY?!^

^donated finca boots^
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^daniel my guide/ friend via singing frozen soundtrack together in the heat of the jungle^2014-03-26_0086 2014-03-26_0087 2014-03-26_0088 2014-03-26_0089^ sandra was literally the most HARDCORE gal we brought, I’m so proud of you girl!^2014-03-26_0090

^ they were just a little tired… ^2014-03-26_0091 2014-03-26_0092

^We hiked to El Grande Castillo ^ 2014-03-26_0093

^ this seem familiar?? that’s because if you watch Tree House Masters on animal planet you’ve seen this tree house every time they open their show!


Day 6 : 2nd day of zip lining, and a BIG hike to the waterfall! I didn’t bring big camera to the water fall, so I’ll have to wait to post photos from down under, but it was super great. another team building activity of hiking with an awesome reward of a beautiful waterfall : )


^ it was SO HOT the ice was literally like GOLD! talk about BLING!! ^2014-03-26_0096 2014-03-26_0097

^ be still my heart, Jay, you ARE the epitome of precious^2014-03-26_0098

Day 6: today was leave Finca day : (  in just a few days we became so close to Erica and her staff, they were all so good to us and took us into their community with open arms. A few of our campers got a little emotional about leaving. We really set the standard of a good time here people. It’s our last day and we are in a rush, so what do I do? DUH! MINI PORTRAIT SESSIONS!!!! Below are the 6 campers who adventured into the jungle with us : ) Darien, Sandra, Jordan, John, Christina, and Jay. We just thought we were close to them before this trip. We are bonded like blood brothers and sisters after this adventure!!

2014-03-26_0099 2014-03-26_0100 2014-03-26_0101 2014-03-26_0102 2014-03-26_0103 2014-03-26_0104So precious : )

Our last day was travel travel travel and everyone was super tired, we still managed to get laughs out though!!

Rugged and worn out.. we are still a group of crazies.


I can’t thank everyone enough for helping Josh and I fund this trip, and for inviting us. I’m SO proud to be a part of the community of people. : ) Hope you enjoy the post, that was A LOT to throw into one post!!

Love to you all : )


oh…. and guess what…..

there is a video to come 


One thought on “Make Promises Happen | Costa Rica | Finca Bella Vista

  1. I can’t explain how glad it made me to get lost in these photos with campers that I know and love! I miss living in Oklahoma when I think of MPH and all my dear friends associated with it! I remember how fulfilling it was so have such wonderful people surrounding me and I’ll bet that’s how everyone felt here!
    I was so happy to see all the photos and seeing Jordan made me cry! He was one of my favorite campers. Thank you so much for posting this and making my day!

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