SUP program strengthens body and mind on Thetis Lake

Somehow, once again, I find myself in the middle of a lake, on a stand up paddleboard, being soaked by a kid with impressively refined aim. And it’s the best feeling. He pulls his board next to me, rafting up, and testing his balance tries to jump onto mine. We both fall in, laughing. The sun is shining; it’s a perfect day. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.

To my left another kid is doing a yoga pose on his paddleboard, feet in the air, rolling into a backwards summersault into the water. We all start cheering; we’re hooting and hollering for the whole lake to hear. Celebrating all that we can do, all that we are able to do, no matter how big or small. Although, who are we kidding, yoga on paddle boards ranks pretty highly.

20150805-sup thetis lake 2

I’ve spent many days this summer volunteering with Power to Be’s Adaptive Recreation program. When I think back on my summer, those have been some of my most memorable, meaningful and joy-filled. From rock climbing to hiking to kayaking to paddleboarding, it’s always an adventure, and this day was no different.

Floating in the middle of Thetis Lake, exploring the nooks and crannies and lily pads, together we dipped our paddles into the water and created a space where we could just be. We could be ourselves, in that moment, authentically, meeting each other wherever we all were at. That’s what it’s all about.

20150805-sup thetis lake 3

Volunteering at Power to Be has shown me the strength and determination of the human spirit. It has taught me to never make assumptions about what someone can and cannot do. It has shown me the empowerment that follows acceptance and encouragement. And it has consistently amazed me by demonstrating how far we can go, individually and collectively, when we support each other in challenging ourselves.

As the sun shone on us that day on Thetis Lake, hands trailing in the water as we rested and let the current carry us, I couldn’t help but smile. I was thinking about what I would say at the closing circle at the end of the session, where we all come together for a few final moments to share what we learned or appreciated about the day. For me, it almost always comes back to one thing: the way we support each other, the way we encourage each other, the way we always want to see others succeed. It’s truly inspiring.

20150805-sup thetis lake 4

As we all took turns jumping in the water at the start of the session, there was only one girl left who hadn’t yet gone for a dip. “Get in the water! Just jump in!” we all yelled in unison, teetering on our boards as the gentle ripples of the lake lapped on our toes. “You can do it!”

And she did. She jumped. She could do it. Because we all can.

– Story shared by Kelsey Mech, volunteer