We live in the Okanagan Valley, home to a host of outdoor sport and recreational opportunities. Throughout my life I have always been a little anxious when I start to think about all of the possibilities I could possibly get myself involved in within the outdoors world. There are just that many options out there to try, and only so much time in this life to dedicate to said recreational opportunity. One must choose the time wisely. For example, there are infinite hikes and places to explore within this valley on foot and thinking about having only scratched the surface of these places, once again makes me panic just a little bit. I am driven to want to go to new local Okanagan places by bike, foot, or water vessel, see these places with my own kids, and explore all that this valley has to offer. Enter the feeling of anxiousness in trying to make this a reality… It is a feeling of ‘time is precious’, and I must choose the time to try new things and go new places well to be able to experience as much as possible. All of this is from the perspective of someone who has been dealt the great fortune of easily having opportunities to try these things, and an innate sense of adventure to go along with it.


But what exactly is it that makes someone want to try something new? A couple of key things come to mind: opportunity, and confidence. Being given opportunity to try new things comes from one’s own personal situation; family support, financial means, awareness, and community connections enable people to have their eyes opened to the possibilities that are out there.


Confidence though is an equally important piece to the adventurous puzzle, and one that does not necessarily come to everyone with ease. One can be born with a certain level of confidence but it is largely gained through personal experiences and character development.  Trying new things and putting yourself out there, to be willing to maybe make some mistakes and not have success the first time around takes the support of people around you; knowing that no one is going to laugh or make fun or you, but just be there to help you figure it out helps confidence grow. Hence, mentorship is also a big factor in building confidence. And so, without the confidence to believe in yourself and be comfortable to make mistakes, trying new things is not easy.


Within all of the Elevation Outdoors programs, we focus on Confidence as a theme. It is vitally important in helping young people grow and realize their full potential. We discuss what having confidence means, and also develop it through our programs by offering mentorship and new experiences. And in making mistakes, such as falling, then working through these mistakes and succeeding at the end, helps develop Confidence.

Giving opportunity to those who would not normally have it is also a fundamental part of Elevation Outdoors. We are providing the circumstances to young people with financial and social barriers to be able to try new things. We believe that everyone in this beautiful Okanagan valley should have the opportunity to try some of the amazing outdoor experiences that are out there, right at our fingertips. In this way we are also developing Confidence: allowing young people to try things out and have their eyes opened to some of the possibilities.   In providing the opportunity to try new things, and build confidence, we are providing Kelowna’s young people some of the tools for a successful life. In essence we are helping give the ability and confidence to become active and valuable members of this community. And with this gained confidence, we are encouraging that adventurous spirit in youth whose minds will be opened to many of the possibilities that are out there waiting for them to discover.


Tori Hanson


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