If you’ve ever experienced the power of the outdoors then you know best what influence and message nature instills on humans. First Descents, established in 2001, offers free outdoor adventure experiences to young adult cancer fighters and survivors. The outdoor and adventure experience allows individuals to escape the disease and worrisome mindset and enter into an empowering world of outdoor challenges.
Surfing, kayaking and rock climbing are some of the adventurous trips, which range from two days to one week. In 2013, First Descent will host over 50 programs in 15 different states and six countries. The programs inspire those beyond a fun week in nature. Individuals’ self-confidence soar and they return home with a fresh perception of life.
The goal is to allow one to explore freely outdoors while enhancing observations on one’s psycho-social issues. This includes body image, self-esteem, social skills and outlook on their future. Current studies found a direct correlation between the positive psycho-social benefits for participants who attended the First Descent programs.
A documentary about First Descents, “Out Living It,” is a winner of the 2012 Mountain Film Awards. Events such as the Ski Party and First Descents Ball are annual events to raise money for the funds.
First Descents waive costs for meals, accommodations, supplies and program activities. In addition, in some cases a travel scholarship is offered. The 501(c)(3) organization accepts donations to fund the trips. Individuals can also sponsor a young adult to attend one of the many adventures.
Whether one lives with a disease or not, this is enough validation to know that nature is transforming lives and mindsets, one activity at a time. To learn more about First Descents, visit www.firstdescents.org.