Alanna Stockford has been transformed by nature.
A participant in Power To Be Adventure Therapy’s Adaptive Recreation program for the past decade, her self-confidence has grown with each kayak paddle stroke through the waters around North Vancouver.
“My time on program – since I was nine-years-old – has helped me put my disability in perspective,” states Alanna. “It has helped me realize I can do a whole lot more than anybody ever told me I could or I ever thought I could.”
That is what Power To Be has helped people do since 1998. The non-profit organization provides adventure-based programs for youth and families in need of support in Vancouver and Victoria through a network of community partners and donors, in part thanks to the work of SVP Vancouver. In 2014, year-round outdoor activities focused on connecting more than 1,000 participants to their community while building confidence and skills through activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, snowshoeing and adaptive yoga.
One particular program that made a lasting impression for Alanna was a two-night trip to Granite Falls in Indian Arm Provincial Park. The group ventured upriver at the end of a long hot summer in time to see the annual salmon-spawning run and past sites Alanna had only seen in photographs.
“I couldn’t see the bottom for all the fish. It looked like some giant black snake was crawling slowly up river,” she says. “We followed them all the way up to a point where the water got too shallow. I was convinced I wouldn’t see anything else as truly awesome as the great salmon struggle. I was wrong though.”
That night it rained harder than it had in months. As they got ready to paddle home the next day, they went past Granite Falls, which only a day prior had been a trickle.
“It was just gushing water like I had never seen. It was rumbling down over the rocks and you could hear it from hundreds of metres away,” she says. “It was amazing.”
“Facilitating experiences like Alanna’s is made possible through the generous support of organizations and individuals,” says Tim Cormode, Power To Be Executive Director. “Our staff and volunteers couldn’t provide the opportunities they do for people living with significant barriers to access nature without the kind of support we receive from SVP Vancouver,” he says. “We are so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.”