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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

First Descent

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Health, Health Support, Sports

Mission:

First Descents is committed to curing young adults (aged 18-39) of the emotional effects of cancer and empowering them to regain control of their lives by experiencing whitewater kayaking and other challenging adventure sports in a safe, fun and supportive environment.

Programs: First Descents will invite 15 young adults with cancer to attend our week long program at no expense to them. During the week they are taught to kayak. Starting in a small pond escalating up to rolling the boat in class III whitewater. Along the way they form bonds with other participants, share thier common problems, learn to rely on their bodies again, and realise they have the power to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

At First Descents, the reaction to my cancer wasn't a pitying gasp or awe-tinged shock, reactions that I got a lot after being diagnosed at 17. Instead, my fellow campers offered empathy, encouragement, and assurance that life goes on after cancer. My week on the river introduced me to an incredible and inspiring community, led me to rediscover the joy of physical achievement, and helped me make the transition from being a patient to being a survivor.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First Descents was an amazing experience i have been going for two years. it has definately shed the light on what we can do if we put our minds to it. i truely love what they do, and admire what they do cause it takes very special people who reach out to cancer survivors and i truely appreciate being able to come to this camp and show what i can do outside of my comfort zone.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at First Descents for several camps over the years, I can say with confidence that THERE IS NOTHING LIKE FIRST DESCENTSOUT THERE. Not only does FD pay for young adults to spend a week in the outdoors, but it empowers them for life. I still keep in touch with my friends from camp and know that their stories and courage will be with me for life. I may have taught them how to paddle, but they have shown me what true determination is.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

First Descents blew my expectations out of the water! I signed up for an adventure camp with hopes to step out of my comfort zone. Being a cancer survivor got me into the camp but living to my potential and beyond helped me finish my camp. I walked away with a new found appreciation and desire to live every moment with everything I have. FD has changed my life and I cannot imagine my life without my new FD family.