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Building a Family

To paddle a canoe, two paddlers must work in unison while also managing their own tasks and needs. A steering stroke does not work without a power stroke. Each role is of equal importance while also being unique.

Balancing in a boat in not the same as on land. If a paddler chooses to stand in a canoe, they may tip the boat. Examining past practices and adjusting to new surroundings is essential.

Go with the flow. But also know when it is the right moment to alter your path and fight the current, for the good of yourself and your community.

Play with the water. It is both powerful and filled with joy. A smash will bring a laugh.

A bent piece of aluminum separates a paddler from the air to the water. If a paddler respects both the canoe and the water, the paddler can then trust that they will stay at the surface. Respect and trust are intertwined and inseparable.

Care for the people, care for the land, care for the water. A paddler must extend their care past just what they can see. This water flows to other spaces, our actions affect well beyond just that moment.

I grew up in the midwest, where the last glaciation period flattened the land and then carved countless rivers and lakes, filling them with fresh water as the glaciers retreated. My family took advantage of these waters in the building of our family. We ventured out together on little daytime canoe adventures, always with my dad who had also learned to canoe in his own childhood in the midwest.

Canoeing with my dad taught me many life lessons. It was a part of the foundation that built my family and shaped who I am.

Fast forward to the present, during program orientation the CRBS Dragons crew headed out on our own canoe adventure on the Colorado River. After a bit of instruction on paddle strokes and boat parts, we paired up in twos and loaded into our vessels for an adventure on the Colorado River, the namesake waterway of our 10 week exploration.

These canoes taught us lessons. These canoes brought us joy. These canoes have become a part of building our Dragons family. We will hold on to these lessons and these memories as we navigate the remaining 9 weeks ahead.

I am grateful to be a part of this Dragons family.