A river put me on the right path

Erin | Suwannee River, Florida

When I was just 14 years old I found myself making bad decisions and accompanying the wrong people. Eager to find my place in high school, I quickly found myself into trouble. My punishment for my actions was a month long outdoors based camp called “Outward Bound.” 11 other troubled teenage girls and three counselors set off on a month long canoe trip down the Suwannee River in north Florida. We were expected to do PT along the river every morning before rowing all day down stream, to then build camp, cook dinner, have “school” before hitting the sack to prepare for the next day. I went into this program with a very skewed idea of what was important. Through 30 days of hard work, deep reflection, and side splitting laughter, I left with a new outlook on the world and what truly matters. Here I am, almost 20 years later and living in Colorado, absolutely loving my life, my family, and myself. When my husband and I take our three children camping or hiking, the destination is usually a river. The Suwannee river changed my life, the healing powers of the outdoors, the sweet song of the constant flowing water, the constant changing of our surroundings, staring at the stars every night and listening to what the world REALLY sounds like…all of this has the innate ability to teach one that there are bigger things in the world than our little problems. To this day, there’s nothing more soothing to me than the sound of the river.

Support the protection of 5,000 new miles of wild and scenic rivers