I’m not a social butterfly, so going to the pool the first time was a huge effort. I had so much fun! After a winter of practicing moves and techniques in the pool, Team River Runner sent a fellow veteran, Michele Williams, and me to an all-women’s five day leadership clinic on the San Juan River in Utah. That helped me step up to the plate and interact with others in a comfortable atmosphere, learn new techniques, and I made friends with like minded women.
It was when I got back home and ventured out for the first time on one of our mountain rivers with our local TRR chapter that I had my “ah ha” moment. The sun sparkling on the water, blue sky, mountain air and me in the middle of it, just how I’d always imagined. I knew I was meant to be there. Knowing that I have the most awesome experienced safety crew surrounding me gives me the security to kayak on moving water and through rapids. Yes, the louder the rapids roar, the higher the anxiety, but I stretch my limits and go for it.
Besides the obvious of being one with the water, one with nature, TRR gives me purpose. It gives me confidence and drive, and allows me to be with people who understand where I’m coming from. They say I’m always smiling on the water. I can’t help myself. So are they! I finished last season with another veteran, Stephen Pratt, traveling to St. John USVI for a week long leadership clinic staying on Cinnamon Bay and sea kayaking and snorkeling in a different bay every day. It was a dream. Again, I learned a lot and got to know other TRR members. Since that trip last fall, I have been an ambassador for TRR and am in their 30 week OJT leadership program, allowing me to do more of the administrative side, fundraising events, trip planning, etc. I’m finding the old me peeking out from behind the curtain and engaging in life again. So good.