Thursday, July 7th, 2011

First Descents in Town for the Month

We’re so honored to support First Descents again this year.

First Descents, an outdoor adventure program for young adults battling cancer, is in the Flathead Valley this month. Started by Kalispell native Brad Ludden, First Descents is a nonprofit with 27 programs spanning the country and Canada. Glacier Raft Company kayakers volunteer each year to help offer river safety and instruction to participants. It’s an incredibly inspirational experience for us to be a part of First Descents, and we’re so impressed by the program, its staff, and its participants.

First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors (ages 18 to 39) a free week-long outdoor adventure experience designed to enable them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.

Brad started First Descents in 2001 after traveling the globe as a world-renowned kayaker with plenty of his own “first descents” on many international streams and rivers. He was inspired to start a program that offers support to cancer battlers after watching his Aunt deal with breast cancer.  He knew that since outdoor activities like kayaking can be life-changing experiences for anyone, they can be especially powerful for people fighting and surviving cancer.

This summer First Descents is spending four weeks in the Flathead Valley. The programs begin with instructional paddling courses on glacial lakes before the paddlers hit the North Fork of the Flathead River later in the week.

During the week-long First Descents experience, young adult survivors are empowered through conquering legitimate outdoor challenges to push their limits and face their fears and by doing so, they are able to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to cancer.

It is always fun to have the crew back in town each summer! They have been Glacier Outdoor Center friends for a very long time and we support this fantastic organization!

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