The Cause: Whitewater paddling and other outdoor sports for young adults with cancer
The Instigator: Brad Ludden
The Method: First Descents introduces cancer-fighters to outdoor challenges, empowering them to paddle, climb and surf beyond their diagnosis, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. The experience offers them the opportunity to regain confidence and self-reliance often lost to cancer and allows healing to happen naturally and organically-without forced conversations, structured group sessions or therapy. The program is free, including travel scholarships when needed.
The Cause: Experiential learning for young people through multi-day wilderness river programs.
The Instigator: Brett Hochmuth
The Method: Former raft guide and middle school science teacher Brett Hochmuth and his GOALS staff bring middle and high school students on wilderness river trips. Using a unique curriculum, GOALS challenges students to step out of their comfort zone and experience the powerful lessons of discovery, teamwork and self-reliance that wild rivers provide.
The Cause: Healing wounded spirits through kayak fishing
The Instigator: Jim Dolan
The Method: Heroes on the Water serves all military personnel who have been wounded, injured or disabled. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing for wounded vets is something much deeper. Being on the water gives soldiers a feeling of peace and freedom from their wounds-an experience that “coalesces into personal revelations that while the wounds may have closed one door, there are other doors to explore.” HOW facilitates that healing by bringing wounded veterans together with experienced anglers in 35 chapters around the country.
The Cause: Restoring local watersheds
The Method: Engage the local paddling community to help restore and protect Pennsylvania’s natural water systems. PWP organizes kayakers and canoeists to help with habitat restoration and watershed cleanups. The organization also monitors local watershed conditions. PWP’s other core initiatives include reducing nonpoint source pollution and educating the public about the local watersheds.
More on Paddle Without Pollution: Website
The Cause: Kayaking as therapy for wounded warriors and their families
The Instigators: Joe Mornini and Mike McCormick
The Method: Give active duty service members and veterans the chance to find healing and discover new challenges through whitewater. Military members wounded in battle often endure months of surgeries, physical and readjustment therapies and intense life changes. During these difficult times, many seek new challenges to break their daily treatment routine. Established in 2004 in Washington D.C., TRR offers wounded veterans a chance to improve their health, happiness and connection to nature. TRR works in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports, USA.