This holiday season, (Re)new adventure

First Descents is focused on renewing, recharging, reconnecting and rediscovering adventure in the year ahead. This holiday season, support First Descents to extend the healing power of adventure to over 500 participants in 2022.

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Outdoor Adventures for Young adults impacted by MS

It wasn’t until I was surrounded by others who had MS that I could more freely express my challenges and my fears, because they truly understood.” – First Descents Participant

First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventures and peer community support for young adults living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Our goal is to get you on a program that works for you, as soon as possible. We do this through a variety of adaptive Multi-Day adventures.

At the end of the day, our ultimate mission is that adventure and the supportive friends you make along the way will be an ongoing part of your journey

Young adults impacted by MS between the ages of 18-45 are eligible to apply for MS Programs. Interested in joining us on an adventure? Join us! Check out our Participant Out Living It Guide to learn more about our free adventure programs.

Have more questions? Contact our Programs Team at [email protected].

These programs are made possible by the generous support of Velocity Global and Genentech.

 

Find Your Adventure

Multiple Sclerosis

Rock Climbing | Estes Park, CO – Multiple Sclerosis

August 28, 2022 - September 2, 2022

Join your First Descents community for breathtaking mountain views, connection, and adventure as we head to Rocky Mountain National Park to rock climb with our friends at Colorado Mountain School! With hundreds of granite faces and various peaks, Rocky Mountain National Park is truly a climber's paradise. Whether you're new…

Eligibility: Multiple Sclerosis Participants, ages 18 - 45, diagnosed age 15-39
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Multiple Sclerosis

Surfing | Santa Cruz, CA – Multiple Sclerosis

September 27, 2022 - October 2, 2022

Ride the world-famous waves of Santa Cruz, California on this week-long surfing adventure with your First Descents community! With a coastline that is part of a marine sanctuary, Santa Cruz offers sunny beach days and pristine wilderness perfect for catching waves with the stoked guides at Richard Schmidt Surf School.…

Eligibility: Multiple Sclerosis Participants, Ages 18 - 45, Diagnosed age 15-39
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Multiple Sclerosis

Kayaking | Rogue River, OR – Multiple Sclerosis

August 14, 2022 - August 19, 2022

The Rogue River starts its journey at Crater Lake and winds its way through 215 miles of Oregonian wilderness. The warm water, friendly rapids, and lush scenery make it the perfect kayaking playland for both beginners and experts alike. The Rogue is the perfect place to paddle your first strokes,…

Eligibility: Multiple Sclerosis Participants, ages 18-45, diagnosed ages 15-39
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FAQ's

What precautionary measures is FD taking during the COVID-19 pandemic?

FD works closely with medical professionals on its Medical Advisory Board to ensure safe programming. Programs have been carefully designed and to ensure that everyone arrives healthy. In advance of each program, participants must complete a Health Agreement, medical forms, and a COVID-19 screening. Program control measures are implemented (e.g. masking, distancing, etc.) at programs in accordance with public health guidelines.

Are COVID-19 vaccines required to attend a program?

Given the current rise in the Delta variant and First Descents' work with immunocompromised individuals and healthcare workers, FD strongly encourages all Parties (e.g. Participants, Staff, Visitors, and Volunteers) to obtain full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. For the remainder of 2021, all Parties must submit proof of 1) full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 or 2) submit proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of the individual’s departure to an FD program. This policy is effective immediately.

In 2022, all Parties will be required to submit proof of full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. FD can make accommodations for individuals that can provide proof of exemption. Those individuals will be required to submit proof of a negative PCR test or NAAT test in the timeline outlined above.

How can I attend a MS program?

Thank you for your interest in First Descents’ programs for young adults coping with MS. Currently, we offer Multi-Day programs for the MS community. You can learn about our MS programs through our Programs Finder on our website. If you have any questions please email [email protected] and we will get right back to you.

What can I expect from lodging? And what precautions will be taken at the lodge with COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, FD is taking great care in the selection of lodges to host programs. Our team takes into account criteria such as hygiene, social distancing, ventilation, more individual rooms, activities/outfitters on site or close to the program site, and the use of personal protective equipment. Additionally, increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be followed on programs.

Are lodges American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant?

Finding ADA compliant lodges to accommodate a group of our size can be challenging. We do our best to find suitable lodging, including comfortable bathroom and sleeping arrangements. It is possible that lodges will include stairs and shared bathrooms. Therefore, Participants may need to walk up and down stairs and be comfortable in shared spaces.

What if I slow down the group or I am not as physically fit/able as everyone else?

Everyone on your program will be at a different place. No one expects you to be a superstar athlete. While on a FD program you can go at your own pace, take breaks when you need to, and have extra support when you need to. We are an open and supportive community and we will meet you where you are at.

What if I’m in active treatment and experiencing symptoms, such as fatigue?

Our goal is to get you out on a program when the time is right for you. Ultimately, you know your body best. At FD programs are “challenge by choice,” meaning you get to decide on your own without any pressure. This means if you need to rest and take a break, cool! If you want to try another climbing route or another wave, awesome! You can push yourself as much or as little as you want and do what feels right to you and our staff and volunteer team will be there to help guide you.

What if I have a disability and/or strength/mobility restrictions?

We recognize that everybody and every BODY is different! We work with each person individually to understand their needs and to make adjustments as needed. Connect with the Programs Team so we can better understand your needs and we can work to find the right program option for you!

What if I am sensitive to the sun and/or concerned about temperature regulation?

We know that sun and hot and/or cold temperatures affect people differently, especially for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. It’s important to know that exposure to outdoor elements is part of outdoor adventure programming. It’s important that you share your symptoms with us in your application and we will work with you to help manage and mitigate these symptoms during the program. For example, at many programs, we can provide options for shade and cooling devices (e.g. cooling vests).

Can I attend a FD program with my Caregiver?

You must be able to travel and attend a program without the assistance of a personal caregiver.

First Descents knows cancer. How will FD be able to care for participants with MS?

FD relies on experienced and caring healthcare professionals to advise its program design and implementation. For MS programs in particular, FD has enrolled the support of program and medical leaders from the National MS Society, CanDo MS, along with other leaders in the MS community to advise on MS program design, medical screenings, and participant recruitment. FD recognizes there are special adaptive considerations for people coping with MS, including temperature fluctuations, fatigue, and mobility restrictions, and takes a similar approach in ensuring its staff has the necessary tools available to deliver a meaningful and safe First Descents experience for everyone.

How many facilitated FD programs am I eligible for?

Everyone regardless of their diagnosis is eligible for one free First Descents program. If you happen to have a dual diagnosis of cancer and MS, you have the option to attend one program and can choose from either MS or Oncology programs located on our Programs Finder. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

What does this mean for cancer programs?

FD will continue to expand programs for young adults impacted by cancer. We aim to reach more adults year over year by expanding programs, building community and prescribing adventure. By strengthening medical center partnerships, implementing a robust recruitment strategy, and investing in local adventure communities, FD’s oncology programs will continue to thrive.

What other serious health conditions does FD focus on?

First Descents provides programs for young adults with cancer, MS, and for frontline healthcare workers.

I have more questions.

Please leave a message on our contact page at www.firstdescents.org/contact-us/ and the appropriate FD staffer will respond back in a timely manner. Or please reach out to [email protected] and a member of our programs team will get back to you.

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