First Descents Expands Offerings, Locations


While many in the paddling industry have watched the non-profit cancer organization First Descents grow over the last 10 years, the group’s ability to enable those suffering from cancer to reach new heights is going to be even greater in 2012.

With new program locations throughout the U.S. and reaching down into Central and South America, it seems the whole world is now rooting for these cancer-fighting adventurers.

The group is recognized for providing free weeklong outdoor adventure experiences for young adults battling different forms of cancer. These adventures range from paddling to now surfing, climbing and more. During these adventures, young people are empowered to leave their diagnosis, their hospital, and their disease behind them as they challenge themselves mentally and physically—giving them strength and confidence to help them fight their fight back home.

New program locations include Costa Rica and Peru—both famous for their whitewater—as well as Massachusettes, the Shawangunk Mountains in New York, Jackson Hole, Joshua Tree National Park, and Denali National Park here in the States.

“We are looking forward to signing up our old and new friends for programs in 2012,” says First Descents Programs Director Whitney Lange. “We’re going to new locations, offering more adventures to more young adults with cancer, and now First Descents has developed FDRock to recognize those who are tireless supporters and caregivers.”

Expanding adventure offerings to this support group is new for the organization. Lange explains: “We know how important that circle of support is, and we want to offer a way to include them on the water, rocks and waves.”

“I wanted to recreate the experience of a ‘first descent’ that had so greatly impacted my life,” said founder Brad Ludden. In 2011 First Descents hosted 27 weeklong programs in seven states and Canada. In 2012 offerings will expand to over 40 camps in 10 states and four countries. For more information on all locations, dates, and to apply for First Descents’ programs, visit: