My Adventure, My Therapy

I can remember as a small child, running through the woods with my brothers, leaves crunching under every step. We built forts, played tag, hide and seek and many simple games for hours and hours, either until it got dark or our parents hollered for us to return home. I remember sitting in class looking out my class windows waiting for the bell to ring so I could get back to my adventures. 

As vividly as I remember some things, I can't seem to remember when it changed. I can't remember when I stopped going into the woods, when I stopped my chasing my adventures. 

My life in my early twenties had become mundane, repetitive and boring. I worked my job, ran on a treadmill or on the streets for excercise and watched TV to fall asleep. I wasn't unhappy or depressed, I just wasn't........... alive. 

My wife and I began trying new things for fun. We started by hiking and then kayaking and then we went rappelling at Cape Enrage in New Brunswick. Instead of running on the roads I began running on the ATV trails and trying to explore the trails to find where they led. I found hidden lakes, waterfalls and lookouts. We strapped our newborn in a backpack and took her on hikes. What I began to notice was that my need to get outside into nature, coincided with the level of stress in the rest of my life. The more stress, the more often I was hiking, running and exploring. Adventure became therapeutic, and really put things in perspective for me.

One major event in my life, lead me here to this blog and to creating The Adventure Therapy Project. 

Mitchell Richard was in grade 8 when he played basketball for me. He captained our team the following year.  He was one of the greatest kids I have had the opportunity to coach. When he graduated he actually began coaching basketball. Mitchell's life was unfortunately cut short as he was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Mitchell and I had chatted about our love for the outdoors and Mitchell had offered to teach me Orienteering with a map and compass. He and those who knew him said he was most comfortable when he was outdoors. I saw a picture of Mitchell when he participated in a surfing event put on by Life Rolls On. It was cold and rainy, but Mitchell's smile when he was on that surfboard was infectious. After the diagnosis, the surgeries and uncertainty he faced, he was truly happy on that board. Three months later Mitchell passed. One of Mitchell's sayings I overheard stuck with me "Find Your True North". 

Over the next year, in dealing with Mitchell's passing, coupled with the prior death a few years earlier of a great friend who had ALS,  I felt my purpose shift, found my True North. In MitchelI's honour a few friends and I created the High Head Hustle, spending a night climbing a mountain, which raised money for Life Rolls On. I wanted to start pushing people to find Adventure in their lives. I believe and science has shown people who participate in activities in nature are happier and healthier. Adventure is whatever you make it or want it to be. Hiking, camping, ATV riding, biking, kayaking, exploring, geocaching..... the list goes on. 

Through the Adventure Therapy Project we hope to bring awareness to the benefits of Adventure and to support causes that help vulnerable access nature.

Thanks for helping us on our mission!!

-Mike