It was a stunning fall morning on the back deck at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. Myself and K.M. Collins, were laughing and chatting about my project “Trail Tales: A Conversation with Inspiring Community Members”, as she prepped the camera for a live interview. This particular interview was important to me on multiple levels. For one, it seems like “Tales”, a monthly event at the Deschutes Brewery is gaining some traction. It’s a really personal project for me and perhaps I’m the most inspired out of anyone, talking with the potential guests and co-hosts. When people ask what it’s all about I describe the idea behind this monthly discussion, and I get fired up all over again!
The other reason this interview was important to me is that I know K.M. Collins on a personal level. Collins and I first met awhile back…perhaps 5 years ago?! Wow. Time flies. She was enthusiastic and positive, just getting into the sport of recreational paddleboarding. It was toward the end of the peak summer season, at a time when I was spending, on average 3-5 hours a day on the same stretch of flatwater, instructing beginning SUP group and private lessons. I will never forget an interaction with her– I was getting ready to launch my small group of newbie students (full disclosure, after teaching the same basic class maybe 100 times over the years, you can get burnt out). Collins was returning from a solo paddle and said to me as I was setting out on the water “Yeah homie…are you totally excited to get out there?”. In that moment I laughed to myself…ummmm no? But something about her positivity and authenticity led me to consider something. I might have uttered these same instructions to students over and over and over, but for these four paddlers it was the VERY FIRST TIME. It was a pivotal moment. Since that day I’ve reminded myself that I am privileged to be a part of these students’ experience. I get to show them for the first time, in many cases, what paddleboarding is about. I get to set the stage for an activity that, if it goes well, can enhance their life in many ways….health-wise if done for exercise. Socially if paddling with friends. Perhaps it’s a way to experience the water for those individuals who previously had no connection to the water. This SUP instruction stuff is a gift!! I was taking it for granted.
I appreciate Collins’ words that day for reminding me how fortunate I am, and also her continued enthusiasm with SUP and all kinds of other activities because she still keeps me on my toes. She is passionate about gaining accessibility to the water, for all people and especially women. I admire her commitment–she exemplifies the inclusive, community-minded human. Collins is the first to encourage a fellow woman to try out a sport, not only with words, but making herself present to help.
It was a fun interview and hopefully you can check it out (I don’t have the link yet, but stay tuned). In the meantime, if you’re around the Bend area on October 9th from 7-8:30pm (ish), come check out Trail Tales:
Thanks for listening, and hope to see you there!!