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MS Program Eligibility


At First Descents (FD), we pride ourselves on the ability to adapt to a wide range different physical abilities and backgrounds. We also strive to create the safest and most healing environment possible for all FD Participants.

Some FD programs are physically taxing. Travel, time outside, physical and mental activity, as well as prolonged exposure to outdoor elements is often required. FD’s Participant eligibility criteria for all MS programs, regardless of activity, is outlined below. To ensure a safe and enjoyable program, please ensure that you meet the following criteria before moving forward with any portion of the application.


MS Program Eligibility Criteria

Age Criteria

  • In an effort to serve the young adult community, participants must have been diagnosed with MS between the ages of 15 to 39 and currently be between the ages of 18-45.

Activity-Based Criteria

  • Participants must be able to perform day to day functions, including but not limited to: traveling by car and plane without the assistance of a caregiver; getting up early in the morning; participating in outdoor recreational activities for three days in a row; and participating in group conversations, activities and dinner in the evenings.
  • Participants must be able to move independently from a seated position to a standing position.
  • Participants must be able to consistently perform fairly strenuous activities, including walking, hiking, climbing, paddling and swimming depending on the type of program, for 4+ hours at a time.
  • For whitewater rafting programs, Participants must be able to swim, submerge their head, and hold their breath.
  • For all Programs, Participants must be able to reach their arms over their head.
  • For all Programs, Participants must be able to sit upright with their legs in front of them for an extended period of time.
  • For all Programs, Participants must be able to stand for periods of time.
  • For all Programs, Participants must be able to walk over uneven terrain, including sand, rocks, and sloping hillsides to reach rock and/or water.

Lodging Criteria

  • Finding ADA compliant lodges to accommodate a group of our size is very challenging. However, we try our best to find suitable lodging, including comfortable bathroom and sleeping arrangements. It is likely that most of the lodges we will use will have stairs and some will also have bunk beds and shared bathrooms. Therefore, Participants must be able to walk up/down stairs and be comfortable sharing a bathroom and in some instances, sleeping in a bunk bed. Please keep this in mind before proceeding with any portion of the application.

Medical History

  • Participants agree to adhere to their prescription drug schedule and dosage at all times while on a Program.
  • If a Participant also has a history of seizures, they must demonstrate that they have been medically cleared to drive and have been stable for a year without an incident.
  • If a Participant struggles with heat exhaustion and fatigue, it’s encouraged for them to bring any additional clothing/resources they know might help them in the event they need it. FD may provide some cooling vests, at some but not all, MS Programs. We also strive to identify Program locations that offer shade and opportunities for rest and relaxation.


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