We began with three people. An owner and manager of a whitewater rafting company were looking for a way to give back through their exclusive access to rivers. The third had endured extraordinary family tragedy. They were collectively supportive of one thing: Paddling rivers in one's own inflatable kayak yields transformational benefits that can help those facing extraordinary challenges to get their lives moving forward again.
Together they identified populations who would immensely benefit from the experiences that come from a multi-day trek into the wilderness, and LEAP was born.
With the support of the Legacy Health/Oregon Burn Center, we began our journey in 2008. We took burn survivors from the already-challenging routine of their daily lives and shared the beautiful, invigorating, and replenishing powers of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River with them. Those who made the inaugural LEAP program adapted and overcame the numerous obstacles present by the river, demonstrated strength & confidence in the storied whitewater of the Rogue, and internalized the translational power of those achievements in their lives at home.
Over the course of the program, participants re-discovered themselves.
From self-confidence lost to their circumstances and courage held back to doubt in one's self, those who embarked on the pilot LEAP journey broke down barriers and aspired to glowingly move forward with their lives. LEAP helped the people on the pilot program realize they're not alone, they have a support system around them, and they can achieve their goals.
LEAP serves burn survivors, at-risk youth, homeless youth, those who experienced trauma or death, or are going through a serious illness. Through their LEAP experience, these groups find their smiles again, laugh, and start to trust once more; They re-connect with their families, make friends, accomplish feats like graduating from school, finding employment, and securing housing. Most importantly, they discover how to move their lives forward again.