FD1 was so incredible last year that I fell in love with kayaking and couldn’t wait to get back on the river. So this summer, I went to FD2 to kayak in Montana. I was nervous and anxious at the beginning, worried about having to fit in with a whole new group of people and worried that I had forgotten how to kayak on the river. There’s something about getting on the river in your kayak though, that makes you live in the present and let go of your worries. As I was going through the first rapid though, I kept thinking about one of my instructors last year telling me to keep paddling, to sit up straight, and lo and behold I made it through just fine. I was so thrilled and remembered exactly why I fell in love with kayaking! As the week went on though and I got more and more comfortable in the river, and met each rapid with a smile on my face. The scenery in Montana was so incredibly beautiful and being on the river brought me such joy. On our last day on the river, we kayaked a pretty challenging stretch, and I didn’t swim at all, even though I went through this big hole that we were supposed to go around! One of the highlights was watching Grid, a fellow camper, flip in a rapid and then do a combat roll and didn’t have to be saved! As a group, we were all amazing and even the instructors were impressed with our mad skills.
We made so many amazing memories in just one week of camp that I never want to forget. At one of the campfires, Konvict mentioned that at FD we have these amazing communities full of unconditional love handed to us. And it’s so true. It was so touching to see Patch and Sweet D take care of Lolli through all of her seizures and make it possible for her to go down the river with us and enjoy the full experience. Patch is absolutely the sweetest guy ever. It was also really neat to be able to convert on “off water day” into a 12 mile paddling day and camp overnight by the river. We spent the night after campfire singing and watching the stars come out, and it made me so happy because I love to
sing but rarely get the chance to (and you can’t see very many stars in Houston). There were so many precious moments that we shared and that I want to keep in my heart forever. As Konvict also said though, he hopes to build this wonderful kind of community in the rest of his life, and that’s definitely something I want to work on too because this community makes me feel so happy and fulfilled.
Despite it being a kayaking camp, the whole week was a head fake. We learned how to be confident, how to take challenges head on, how to try new things. We enjoyed the incredibly supportive community and learned to open up, and let our true/best selves shine. We cheered each other on, laughed with each other, and learned how to have fun again. We learned what we are capable of, individually, and together. We became family. I will always look back at FD with awe and wonder how it’s able to be so magical every time.