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July 27, 2009

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July 27, 2009

I have recently come back from my third camp as a camper at first descents. It is a place you go to challenge your self and finally feel you hace control over what you do. The staff is thare to watch you and help you when you need it and will make shure you feel safe. I would say this camp is the best one i have went to it really dosent even feel like a cancer camp. you are thare to make friends and have a good time and finally made to feel like you arent broken and you can do any thing.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen results of this camp as a Participant

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

i would try to expand as much as possibe.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

IS that it is a great place to to meet people in your own age group who under stand you

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The staff and voulunteers were all very warm and supportive. They always encouraged you to keep going

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

If this organization had 10 million dollars it could expand all over the usa and possibly globaly to give the same experience i had to other young adults to let theme know they arent alone and give a chance to feel invincible and that they have a choice

Ways to make it better...

I dont think my personal experience could have been any better than it was

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

I belive biggest challenge this organization would be the right amount of funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

I would like to say to any one who takes the time out to read what i have written to please take a chance and try this camp i am not a person who belived in getting toghther in a group and crying about how my life stunk but this place is nothing like that

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 27, 2009

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July 27, 2009

I recently worked as a volunteer at a First Descents Kayak Camp for young adults with cancer. The very positive attitude, support, and encouragement seemed to provide a wonderful experience for campers and staff alike. I hope to volunteer again.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lives of the attendees, and the staff.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Work and raising more dollars.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the smiles and growth in the kayaking skills of the campers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

most excellent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach a lot more of this group, an underserved population. We don't think of cancer in 18-40 year olds.

Ways to make it better...

The facilities weere a bit better, and the camps were better funded. These were relatively minor issues for the true value of the experience.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

growth and fund raising.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 27, 2009

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July 27, 2009

First Descents has been the most amazing thing that has happened in my life since cancer-if not my whole life. I recommend this camp to everyone I know with cancer. I get goosebumps just thinking about all the amazing bonds I've made within just the first day of knowing everyone! I felt more comfortable there than I ever have in my entire life. I'm absolutely in love with FD and would one day like to become a counselor! This experience has changed my life forever! The best thing about FD is that they push you in kayaking no matter what you're skill level is. I look forward to going back next year!!! :) Thank you, FD, for the best time of my life!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they work with the Young Adult Cancer Population!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING, selfless, caring, and truly inspiring people!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have so many more camps and help so many more young adults with cancer!

Ways to make it better...

it were longer! The week just flys by with all the fun activities-I just wish I could take the people with me back to the "real world". First Descents is my Oasis.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I LOVE FIRST DESCENTS!!! : )

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 27, 2009

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July 27, 2009

First Descents is an amazing organization that centers on offering a camp experience like no other. It provides a great opportunity for young survivors to test their emotional and physical strength, to become strong again. I had never had the chance to go to camp as a kid. Before going, I had joked that this was my last chance to attend since I was almost at the age cut off (since it focuses on young survivors.) During my week at camp, I was challenged physically more than I could imagine, but never more than I was willing. I always felt safe and incredibly supported by all of the staff and safety boaters. I learned kayaking skills and had incredible experiences on the water. But the comraderie and support off the water was just as important. First Descents may have taught me how to kayak, but it also taught me how to live, Without Fear.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting other young survivors and bonding with them in such a supportive environment that only a camp can bring about.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

skilled, professional and compassionate.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

offer this incredible experience to all young cancer survivors!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 26, 2009

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July 26, 2009

I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing First Descents, but I'll try my best. First Descents provided me with an incredible experience that allowed me to truly "live my life to the fullest," a feat I had never actually tried to achieve before. I was able to share a week of adventure, relaxation, and fun with a terrific group of volunteers and other young adult cancer survivors who allowed me to feel as if I could completely be myself. It was the first time in 3 years, since my cancer diagnosis, that I truly felt comfortable. I was able to finally be myself in a place that was SO different from where I live and from the way I live my life. I am so grateful for the experience and can honestly say that the way I view and live my life has been changed after the week I spent in Montana. I'm so inspired by the experience, as well as by the people I met, that I am continuing to live my life to the fullest and have just signed up to train for a half-marathon, something that would never have been on my "to do list" previously. I hope to be able to experience First Descents once again in the future and look forward to it more than anything else.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

every person I met during the trip, as well as past participants who raved about their experience with First Descents. After hearing all the positive feedback about First Descents, I knew it was an experience I absolutely could not miss out on.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change absolutely nothing about it.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the fact that it allowed me to meet other people who, although facing different challenges, were able to empathize and share in a similar experience that had completely changed our lives. I also appreciated finally being able to come out of my shell.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

inspiring, amazing, kind, generous, and out of this world. I have never met a group of people who were so quick to make sure everyone was comfortable. I was provided with anything I needed and more. I felt safe and cared for at all times.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

allow every young adult cancer survivor to have this experience. I can only hope that First Descents will continue to fill other survivor's lives with joy and purpose, as well as continue to teach others how to take a chance and truly enjoy life.

Ways to make it better...

it had lasted longer than a week.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the fact that it is not able to provide its services to every young adult cancer survivor who is in need of this amazing experience.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization deserves endless amounts of praise that I alone cannot provide. It is truly a wonderful organization and I have nothing negative to say about it.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 23, 2009

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July 23, 2009

First descents was an incredible experience, both for me as a volunteer and for the participants. Looking back at the video of the week and comparing the first tentative wobbles of the participants as they entered the current for the first time and comparing that with the footage from the end of the week where the entire group aced Graduation Rapid is very moving to me and still brings tears to my eyes because I am so proud and blessed to know everyone that I met at FD. To watch people come out of their shell and go from being scared or intimidated to enjoying things and being playful with what once scared them was amazing (and the parallels to life are obvious there too...). I think kayaking is a great thing for cancer survivors because it is a great equalizer. In paddling gear everyone just looks like a kayaker. Way to go FD!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

One week - participants and staff alike are transformed.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to expand the program so that more people can benefit from it, including internationally.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Personal growth is achieved organically, without putting it "on the program" - people bond through the experience of learning to paddle together and then share more about their lives. There's no "let's talk about our cancer" moment - it's not needed!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

first rate. Lifelong friendships were made.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

really make a difference in a lot of people's lives that need it and deserve it. I wish I had 10 million bucks to give them!

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer and volunteered at a couple more camps. (My fault, not theirs...)

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, of course, and replication: ensuring consistency and quality of the experience remain as high as they are now as the organization expands to include more camps than the founders can attend. They are doing a great job so far!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 22, 2009

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July 22, 2009

Cancer took away my self confidence. First Descents gave it back. They don't tell you to take it easy or baby you the way everyone else around you has. They want you to jump in and take control of yourself again. I'm tearing up just writing about it because the volunteers, staff, and other campers bring such joy out in each other that it's really hard to describe the feelings that you have while your at camp and when you get home. First Descents for me is was a life saver!

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Myself and other campers.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Keep doing exactly what they are doing now.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Meeting other young adults with cancer, learning to rock climb, and white water kayak.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, funny, caring, and humbled by their experience at camp.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Hold camps year round to help the growing number of young survivors get back some of what cancer took away from them.

Ways to make it better...

I don't know how it could have been any better. The people were awesome and the food was great!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Money. Its a tough economy and getting funding for non-profits is hard work.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I tell everyone about First Descents. It has changed my life. I do not believe that I would be doing all the outdoor activities and kayaking on my own without the encouragement and strength I received from camp. I love you FD!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 22, 2009

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July 22, 2009

You get to camp and are scared but then you remember that being scared is nothing new after going through all you have been through with your illness. Then you jump in, literally, to the water and start to aclimate to the world of kayaking. Kayaking lingo, kayaking thrills, start to become your focus and you forget the past, time becomes eternal, as you master the physicology of it all. The warmth, support and love of all the expert and dedicated staff reminds you just what matters in this world, not that you needed a reminder. By the end of the week your body is in better condition, even if you still feel sore. Lifetime friends are made and the place in your heart that expands to make room for more happiness grows bigger. It feels all so magical but it really is a result of all the positive energy that flows back and forth among everyone. It is a tremendous adventure, not to be missed. Adventure therapy-was definitely coined at First Descents!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

one week

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Be a workaholic cause it makes you want to give so much

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

They treated me well

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Above par

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Serve more people!

Ways to make it better...

More information/history about kayaking

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Making appropriate, workable changes as they grow bigger

One thing I'd also say is that...

I hope to give back to the organization.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 22, 2009

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July 22, 2009

When you are going through cancer treatment your family and significant other might try to understand what you are going through but no one knows better than other cancer survivors. First Descent's gave me a chance to get away from the harsh reality and enjoy the outdoors while learning how to kayak with other survivors that have gone through similar scenarios. For me, there was nothing better than connecting with nature while connecting with peers in which I can comfortably talk about cancer.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

some of the most fantastic and caring people I have ever met. I would love to continue my relationships with them in the outside world.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve numerous more cancer patients. They don't promise a cure by any means but I have yet to see a better outlet than this.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 22, 2009

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July 22, 2009

First Descents is the most powerful organization I have seen. I attended First Descents and was blown away, not only by the staff and experience, but by the inspiring atmosphere that the campers help create. It provided an escape from treatment, motivating and EMPOWERING cancer survivors to beat their disease and take control of their lives.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lives of the survivors who attended.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to raise money to serve more survivors. The difference that it makes in each life is incredible.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being empowered to take control of my life as soon as it was over.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, selfless, inspiring, and empowering.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

empower thousands of survivors and offer an escape from the stress and hardships of beating cancer.

Ways to make it better...

there were even more locations offered.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

scaling. It is difficult to find the volunteer staff and locations to serve many more survivors.

One thing I'd also say is that...

it is impossible to understand the difference it makes in the lives of survivors without being a survivor and attending the camp.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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