Why to Love 3-Day Camp with Coach Gayla

The 3-Day camp is an experience like no other. Imagine a slumber party with hundreds of your favorite people, complete with dance party, delicious food, games and shopping…all under the stars. It’s a fun time to say the least! Our walkers in Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego will get to experience that magic first-hand this year. If you’re a first-time camper, Coach Gayla is here to get you excited for that experience. There is so much to love about the 3-Day camp, and she’s breaking it all down for you…

  1. First and foremost, tent camping gives you the extra excuse to ask for a large donation as you are fundraising! You’re giving up your comfy bed for two nights. A big commitment deserves a big donation. Just remind potential donors that you’ll be showering in a semi-truck, and that should motivate them to support your goals 😉
  2. The camp environment gives you a chance to do something different than what we do at home every day. I mean, other than the 3-Day, when was the last time you went camping?!

  1. At camp, you’ll have access to the dining hall, camp lounge, massages and Remembrance Tent, all within a short distance of your tent. It also makes it easy to be right on hand at the finish line to cheer other walkers in! I love this part, and it’s something my pals from Team STEPS (Hi Dana and Sheryl!) brought up when I talked with them about this, too.
  2. You can easily meet new friends as you wander around camp. Sheryl and Dana summed it up perfectly, saying, “Even a trip to the port-o-potty or shower will often provide a smiling face on the way, a high five with a 3-Day legend, an opportunity to thank a volunteer, or a special random act of kindness.” We love making those connections!
  3. Picture yourself sitting in the entry of your tent at the end of the day reading your camp mail, rehydrating, and waving and smiling as people come in from the walk route. There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment!
  4. The joy and inspiration of the 3-Day is heightened by having just the sounds of nature and your 3-Day family around you. No sounds of TV, or doors creating barriers between you and all the fun!

  1. In general, camaraderie is at an all-time high when hanging out with your friends in and around your tents. You can even personally check in on all your tentmates before you turn in for the night…just by giving them a holler!
  2. Then, as the night goes on, and you’re all cozy in your sleeping bag, you really will appreciate the great outdoors where you can see the stars at night and breathe in the fresh air. You become one with nature.
  3. It really helps you escape the daily grind of life and decompress – no phones, tv, radio. It will do your mind some good! As Sheryl and Dana said, “you get to unplug and be perfectly present in the moment.” It will give you time and space to truly appreciate the 3-Day in a whole new way.
  4. And then, sitting in your tent as the sun comes up and a new day begins…it’s just so exciting and inspiring. Plus, Sheryl and Dana reminded me about “waking up to the smell of coffee and bacon,” which is never a bad thing.

Bonus! Remember, it’s GLAMPING, not really CAMPING after all 😉

What else do you love about the 3-Day camp experience? Tell us in the comments!

Two Walkers, One 3-Day Love with Dylan and Karla from the San Diego 3-Day

It only took 3 days and 60 miles for Dylan and Karla to feel the spark. 365 days later, they took that journey again, this time as husband and wife. Though they had both been involved for the 3-Day in years past, Dylan and Karla didn’t officially meet until friends introduced them on the 2017 San Diego 3-Day. Dylan started walking for his ex-wife’s good friend in 2002 and has now participated in 13 events. 2016 was Karla’s first year walking. But 2017 was the one that counted, because that’s when they met each other. That’s where their story began…

How did you then meet each other?

Dylan had walked in the Philly event in 2016 and again in 2017 along with other good 3-Day friends. When the 2017 San Diego 3-Day came around we were introduced by common friends at the Red Marlin Day 0 party. Our friends had no idea what would happen in the days to come.

What was your first walk like together?

That depends who you ask. 😉 Dylan would say the first day wasn’t like any other walk. Karla might say she had her eye on Dylan, but the first day was fairly normal. The second day we walked together more, talked more and started to realize there was a spark. By Day 3, it was pretty clear we had a strong connection. Plans were altered and the Monday following the 3-Day we spent all day wandering around San Diego. For the sake of brevity, many details are being left out, but it goes without saying (now) that we couldn’t deny the connection.

And how has your 3-Day experience changed over time?

We continue to meet amazing people who have become dear to our hearts and unfortunately a few of these dear friends have lost their lives, which gives us more reason to continue this effort. Together we are more determined to raise money and participate. As far as the actual walk goes, it’s changed considerably given we basically walk all 60 miles holding hands.

This year was your first walk as a married couple!

Dylan proposed to Karla a month after the 2017 3-Day (right before Christmas). She moved to Raleigh from Atlanta two months after that. We both decided pretty quickly we wanted to get married in San Diego right before the 2018 3-Day but the details kind of fell into place over the next few months. On a drive from Orange County to San Diego in January 2018 we passed Oceanside, the city Dylan’s dad grew up in. We visited the house his dad grew up in and, subsequently, drove a few miles south to Carlsbad where Dylan’s grandfather had established a church in the early ‘60s after retiring from the Navy as a Chaplain. The visit wasn’t intended for scoping out a wedding venue, but we both decided after walking the church campus that there was no better place to profess our love for each other and to bring both families together. As more plans came together, we decided the Red Marlin (where we had originally met) was an obvious location for the reception and of course that meant our guests would be staying at the Hyatt Mission Bay. It was not only our wedding host hotel, but also the 3-Day host hotel! It was pretty cool seeing our wedding family transition to our 3-Day family.

And what was it like walking only a few days later?

It made for a LONG week. We got to San Diego the Sunday before the 3-Day and didn’t get back home to Raleigh until the day after Thanksgiving. We both had a blast walking in the 3-Day for our honeymoon. 😊 We also spent a couple of days at the Hotel Del Coronado following the Closing Ceremony.

You were also featured in the camp show this year for the Newlywed Game!

It went by so fast we barely remember! Dylan does remember being right on more of the questions than Karla. LOL

What are some lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day that also apply to your relationship?

Sometimes in the real world it’s good to have the 3-Day family as an example of giving and philanthropy to look back on for reference. We both have lifelong friends we’ve met at the 3-Day and get to see throughout the year.

What makes a great 3-Day walking partner?

One who will hold your hand and listen to your rambling.

And partner in life?

Not much different! We are each other’s priority and nothing else is more important. It helps that we basically think the same way.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

Well, Karla’s birthday is 2 days after Valentine’s Day so it’s kind of a combined thing. We honestly don’t put much emphasis on Valentine’s Day. We don’t need a holiday to remind us to love each other. That said, for Karla’s birthday she wanted to go to the Daytona 500 so we’re going to Florida that weekend and watching fast cars turn left for a few hours. I’m sure we’ll be holding hands the entire time 😊

60 Miles to Forever: Tom and Kasandra’s 3-Day Proposal

On the final day of the Seattle 3-Day last fall, the finish line was abuzz with anticipation. Medical crew members were gathered, a group of friends craned their necks to see that final corner beyond the finish line, and our host Mark was grinning from ear to ear. A proposal was coming!

Tom Riggs had worked with the Seattle 3-Day team to prepare for his proposal to fellow 3-Dayer, Kasandra, at the end of his 60-mile journey, and everyone couldn’t wait to see the culmination of this love story that began with a shared love of the 3-Day!

Tom says being a part of the 3-Day has helped in his relationship with Kas because it has taught him patience, perseverance, and the importance of foot rubs. 😉

“Being the person to bring her food, being a shoulder to lean on and giving lots of encouragement was important to our bond!  I LOVED being the person she could rely upon when her personal heroic acts were finished. Sharing that journey together makes the hard places easier, the great places even more awesome and the accomplishments FANTASTIC!”

After each conquering the 3-Day separately, they are now looking forward to driving a sweep van together in Seattle this year, finally making that 60-mile journey as a married couple. 2019 will also be the year they finalize moving in together, celebrate her son’s and his daughter’s college graduations, and (of course) get married!

The tuxes have been ordered, she said “yes” to a dress, the venue and rings have been selected, and the music is chosen — but there’s still so much to do! But of course, they already know that their accent color will be PINK! Until their wedding, they have super top-secret Valentine’s Day plans this week (sorry Kas, Tom wouldn’t tell us in case you read the blog!), and lots more planning to do for the 3-Day and their big day. It’s going to be a big year!

For the full story of Tom and Kasandra’s love, we let Tom take over. After all, a man in love should tell his own story 😊

When I met Kasandra in the summer of 2017, one of the first things I found out about her was that she was signed up to walk in the 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. That was among the many, many things that endeared her to me! Because I was unable to participate in 2017, I committed to helping her train, raise money and get prepared. Once she was at the starting line, I spent the rest of the weekend supporting her. I knew how much the event takes out of a person physically, emotionally, and mentally, so I wanted to be there for her. I figured I was in a good position to be that friend who would understand.

After committing to the 2018 event in Seattle, Kasandra decided to switch roles with me. She wanted to come to the event to be my supporter and be at as many of the cheering stations as possible. So, when I knew in my soul that I wanted to ask her to marry me, it seemed a natural fit to propose at the 3-Day, as the event has become so important to the two of us.

I sent an e-mail to the 3-Day coaches, asking them for help. Gayla was so sweet (she even sent me a meme!) in responding, pledging support to help me. As I walked on the first day of the event, I told everyone that I was carrying the engagement ring for 60 miles and to look for the proposal at the finish line. I even recruited a friend who is attending the University of Washington to meet us at the finish, so she could use my phone to put the proposal on Facebook Live (I told all our mutual friends on Facebook to be watching!). As news of my proposal got out among the Seattle 3-Day staff (particularly the AMAZING medical crew), everyone got in on the fun to surprise Kasandra!

On the second day of the walk, I pulled my IT band and found that I couldn’t finish the event. It was so frustrating! However, the event staff was so kind in allowing Kasandra and I to take over a sweep van for Sunday. So, as we drove all over Seattle for the day, all I could think about was the proposal. As we parked the van and headed up to the finish line, everyone on the staff was smiling, knowing what was coming. To make everything look official, I even walked (gingerly!) through the finish line. The announcer gave me the microphone and it was time.

Honestly, I had rehearsed what I wanted to say for three days. But when the moment came, I couldn’t think, because all could see was her eyes and all I could think was how much I love her. So, after an initial comment about “going steady,” I dropped to one knee (also gingerly!) and proposed to her in front of the people at the finish line and dozens more on Facebook Live. And she said YES!

We now have planned a June 22nd wedding! Because we’ve recommitted to driving a sweep van for the 2019 3-Day in Seattle, we will have a table at our reception where people can support us our fundraising. We even have a name for our van already – Sweepless in Seattle! – so look for us on the route! And, of course, I’m looking forward to being under the Space Needle again, where I will kiss this amazing woman one year later as my WIFE!