September marks the end of another river season.   While we’re busily packing away boats and filing our trip logs, and you’re sending your kids off to school- I encourage our entire GOALS community to stop for a moment and reflect. 

A powerful moment of reflection in my life occurred just a few days ago, while organizing a desk that I've abandoned all summer long.  I stumbled upon my very first GOALS journal from a 2012 Cataract Canyon trip. Scanning the oath on its’ first few pages, I realized that 16-year-old me was still holding myself accountable to that oath, now five years later.

Closing the pages of that journal, I spent some time reflecting on what I’ve accomplished since 2012.  Our group oath included a promise to “embrace others for who they are and not who we want them to be.”  GOALS empowered the 16-year-old me to navigate my own path – one that has lead me right back to now work for the same organization that set my wheels in motion all those years ago.

My GOALS expeditions throughout middle and high school played a large role in making me the person I am proud to be today, and I'm driven to give more kids the same experiences I had.  You can help me make this happen. I'm asking every parent from our 2016 season to commit – taking an oath of sorts – to do their part in making the same experience that their child had available to others downstream. 

I BELIEVE that - like me - you know other kids who will benefit from a GOALS expedition.  I BELIEVE that - like me - you want to do what you can to open these doors for those kids.  And thus I BELIEVE that - like me - each parent of a child that GOALS served in 2016 can, should, and will, invest at least $10 per month in the future of GOALS and the kids we serve.

- Ben Shay, GOALS participant 2009, 2012, 2013
Assistant Director of Program Expansion and Evolution, GOALS


I, 2016 participant parent, will lead by example within the GOALS community. I will make an impact -and hold myself accountable outside of the canyon, just as my child did within its’ walls. I will take pride in being a part of the 100% community whose small recurring gifts add up to do more than we could do on our own. By following this oath, I will play an active role in empowering GOALS to “over-exist” in 2017.

 "I'm about to cry.  Goodbye, canyon.  I will miss you more than words can explain.  Thank you for one of the best experiences of my life."   - Jules, age 12 - Desolation Canyon explorer

"I'm about to cry.  Goodbye, canyon.  I will miss you more than words can explain.  Thank you for one of the best experiences of my life." 

- Jules, age 12 - Desolation Canyon explorer

Keeping it Going

You know first-hand how GOALS impacts kids.  GOALS teaches kids about the power of community - and just as a river gains its' strength from the collective sum of each water molecule working together, we can make the same lessons, experiences, and growth your child experienced possible for more kids than ever downstream.   

Our goal is to have EVERY family served by GOALS in 2016 commit to the parent oath and sign up as a recurring monthly donor in the next two weeks.   By gifting just $10, $25, or $50 each month, you become a part of something larger than any of us can do on our own.  This small individual contribution may feel insignificant each month, but adds up over the course of a year, and when multiplied by an entire community of GOALS supporters it’s truly a dial turner (plus, of course it’s tax deductible since GOALS is a 501(c)3 charity). 

Consider this…one person’s $20/month becomes $240 over a year.  If there were 15 kids on a trip whose families all give $20/month – that’s $3,600 in a year.  Combine them with a community of 150 who jump in, and the collective impact in one year becomes $36,000!  Ultimately, this is an opportunity for you to make a profoundly positive impact on many young lives without having any negative impact on your own.  

Sign up below to become part of a collective community with a single, determined focus to do as much as possible for as many as possible- not because you feel that you're supposed to, but because you want to. 

“I would like to thank Desolation Canyon for the amazing time I had this week. Out here I can be myself and act like who I want to be. I now will have a better outlook on life, and appreciating the small things.”
— Orion, age 13.