We are family!
Family. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. You can pick your friends, but not your family. This week, guest blogger and CfR board member, Kate Watson, is talking about family. The CfR family that is. With deep roots, our family tree has over 25,000 constituents nationwide. Whether you volunteer at a retreat, attend our events, make a donation, tie flies, follow us on social media or pass on the CfR word to your friends, you too, are part of the family.
It is happening. We are about to start our 22nd year of retreats serving so many amazing women! I have seen a lot of change in CfR since I got involved back in 2007 and I am forever inspired by the spirit of everyone that CfR touches.
I started volunteering for CfR when the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee program was a thing. Now they are four separate programs and flourishing. At that time I had just moved to Charleston, SC because someone in an airport said it was a great place to live – she was right. I was simplifying my life and trying to focus on who I wanted to be in life. Ahh the sweet innocence of one’s 20’s!
I went to The Charleston Angler, the local fly shop, was greeted by Caroline Rhodes, owner, and welcomed into the angling family that I so craved. Here I was also introduced to Casting for Recovery. I was immediately sold – fly fishing, a spectacular cause, an opportunity for me to get involved and make a difference, and meeting great people along the way.
I was hooked on so many levels. The profound impact CfR has had on me stretches to every facet of my life. Not being a survivor myself and not being personally affected by breast cancer before getting involved with CfR has made the impact even more life changing.
The friendships with participants, volunteers, staff, friends of CfR….the impact that these amazing people have made on who I am today is humbling and they have woven themselves into my everyday world – and it is glorious! From fishing trips, to painting crafts, to sitting on the couch watching Real Housewives of (insert any city), to eating Twin Cherries, to helping me plan my native landscaping, to accompanying me for my wedding dress fitting, to just blowing off some steam on a Tuesday. It is abundantly clear to me that CfR is not just a spectacular charity making a difference, it is a family. It is my family.
Chapter after chapter of our lives set us in different places. Since Charleston I have lived in Chicago and am now I am married and nesting in Auburn, AL. I love how CfR ebbs and flows with me. From a hospitality “beck and call girl” at retreats to having the honor to serve as Secretary on the Board of Trustees, there are so many fulfilling ways to give and I am relishing in them all. As CfR grows and changes, so do I.
As I write this, I am getting the sense that I might just get more out of CfR than I put in. But I actually think that sense is a testament to my love, and the love of everyone else who gives to CfR, and how a lot of times giving love doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like love. I feel this most when I see the smiles that CfR inspires that represent so much to so many.
Where am I going with this? Like I said, it is happening. This retreat season is about to start and CfR is about to make a huge impact on over 800 participants, hundreds of volunteers, thousands of donors and friends, and the countless family members who love the participants and volunteers and friends of CfR.
Wishing you all a retreat season of love, growth, and joy!
Sending appreciation and oodles of xoxox’s to my beloved CfR family, new and old!
– Kate Watson