…200 punches, 200 bicycle crunches, 200 high knees,100 mountain climbers, 100 supermans, 100 tricep extensions, 100 Russian twists, 50 squats, 50 donkey kicks, 50 lunges, 35 pushups, 8 minutes of planking, and a discovery of the FD nickname generator.
A big part of the FD experience is your name. When you set foot in camp, no one knows who you are. It’s liberating. The person who went through cancer, the person who is nervous about this experience, the person who is afraid of big rapids or waves or rocks…no one knows. And yet everyone knows. Because everyone had cancer. And everyone is nervous about this experience. And everyone is scared on some level about kayaking, surfing, or rock climbing. Since the playing field is level, you have an opportunity to recreate yourself. So FD gives you a new name. Usually, it is given randomly, haphazardly even, through the first words you may say to another camper or counselor. It might not make any sense. It will likely be ironic or funny. The two most important things about your name are that (1) over the next week, you get to define it; and (2) that name will be the only name that people at camp know you by.
My fellow campers, counselors, chefs, camp moms, doctors, nurses, and even folks on the side of the river knew me as Chewie. And I knew them as Big Bird, Beefcake, Pedro, Sweet D, Mrs. Robinson, Cha Cha, Ripple, Turbo, Doc Brown, and so many more. All of them, collectively and individually, shaped who “Chewie” would become, and in so doing, they changed my life.
I am forever grateful to First Descents for the new name and persona and for the unforgettable opportunity. Now it’s someone else’s turn to get a nickname. Help me crown the next “Ray-J” or “Comet” by throwing a few bones toward First Descents.