There’s something to be said about following your passion. And the McGrath family knows a thing or two about it.
After bouncing between seasonal jobs in Colorado for a few years in their 20s, Amy and Dave decided to settle down and return to the family construction business in Kansas. For six years, they raised cattle and brought two beautiful kids, Danni and Thomas, into the world. While they enjoyed their life in Kansas, they continued to miss the Rockies, and the life they’d created in Colorado.
“There’s so much more you want to do,” says Amy, “You want to run your own life and work on your own terms.” So they sold everything. They sold their kitchen appliances, and the couch they’d watched countless movies on, packed up the rest, and returned to Colorado.
Choosing to uproot their lives and return to the industry they love came at the cost of comfort and consistency. Instead of waking up to an alarm clock, their kids now wake to the sound of air pumps blowing up rafts. They manage rounds of schedules, trips on six different rivers, and are constantly working to improve their guests’ experience.
“It’s been determination,” Amy says, “it takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.” The choice, however, has been one of the best they’ve made.
Running a small business like Kodi gives them the opportunity to be part of a small mountain community. They sit on boards, attend trade shows, and constantly learn about Water Resource Management as it impacts their rivers and lives.
“We have a voice to represent our community,” says Amy, “It’s more than just rafting.”
It’s far more than just rafting. It’s making a change at a local level. It’s creating a network of businesses that aim towards the same goal. It’s a display of passion, of conviction, of courage. It’s choosing to take a chance, and trusting it will work out.
Now, their 8-year-old daughter runs the coffee shop for post-trip guests, and their kid’s friends enjoy the novelty of sleeping in a loft above the boat barn. They’re evolving and expanding to give their customers the best experience possible, from heated floors, to a hot cup of coffee, to guides who are tuned in to the unique needs of the people on their boats.
Going forward, they hope to impact the way outdoor activities are regulated across their community and state, and to take advantage of all the ways small businesses have a voice in that.
“Any phase in life you can change what you’re doing,” says Amy, “and make it work for yourself.”
And it’s true. She and her family are living proof.