On the morning of September 8, 2006, I met with 10 retreat participants at the Vancouver International Airport. All were from British Columbia and our destination was Calgary, Alberta for the Casting for Recovery Canada weekend. I had a sign to help us find each other. The sign had “Casting” in larger letters than “for recovery”, and so the woman who checked us in at the ticket counter thought we were all off to star in a movie. Well, feeling like a star was how we all felt by the end of the weekend, energized, connected, pampered, supported and with a blossoming new skill in hand. One participant joined us in Calgary, having driven there. The participants were all from communities and cities in British Columbia.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Trailside in Calgary, and thank them for their generosity in providing the rooms and meals. Friday evening was spent getting to know each other a little. I thought at that early time during the weekend how wonderful it was to see women sharing their experiences, being supportive and open with each other. During the day on Saturday, Kathryn gave an overview of the fishing equipment, and a lesson on knot tying, followed by practice. In a nearby park, Kathryn gave a lesson on introductory fly-casting, with everyone having a chance to practice with their rods. It was a tranquil and beautiful scene to witness the women trying out their newly found skill, practicing the gentle motion of fly-casting
Saturday evening provided an opportunity for discussion of any issues related to coping with a breast cancer diagnosis. It was my sense that this group of women had enormous trust and connection with each other.
The highlight of the weekend was the Sunday morning experience of drifting down the Bow River, each of us with an experienced fly fisher/guide. Downtown Calgary looked stunning in the background as we gently drifted and floated on a perfectly warm September day. Lines were cast and some fish nibbled. A couple of others were caught, and released. Two hours on the river in drift boats, was heavenly. After fishing, and ceremonies, which included graduation for the participants and gratitude for the river guides, we headed off to the airport, arriving home with memories of a rich weekend, and new friendships.