Thank you again for your help and all that you, Kent and sponsors and volunteers do for my daughter & the other families. (My daugther) has come out of her shell so much, she is blossoming, making new friendships an her confidence has grown leaps and bounds doing things out of her comfort zone.
Gold Star Teen Adventures can be described as a camp for the kids of fallen heroes. To me it is much more than that. Jason Cunningham, my dad, passed away in 2002. Although it was 13 years ago, the healing process is a constant. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad and what could’ve been if he was still in my life. GSTA has changed me in more ways than I can count. The kids that participate at these camps rarely talk about the death of their parent, but we still recognize that we are all there for the same reason. So much healing is done with saying so little because you know that you are not alone. The friendships at these camps are friendships that I know will last forever… GSTA is more than a camp, it is family and I wouldn’t trade my experience with them for the world.
GSTA is an opportunity for kids to come together and make the most out of a bad situation. Every other kid there knows what the other has been through. Most of the time I don’t talk about losing my dad but that’s okay because we don’t have to. And that’s the beauty of it. So much is said with so little words because we are all thinking the same things. We are all remembering the huge sacrifice our parents have made because they maybe gone but they will never be forgotten. “
Two years ago I was given the opportunity to be a mentor on a GSTA event through a summer training program at the Naval Academy. … Five GSTA events later, I have seen the impact of this organization. GSTA builds confidence and self esteem in the teens through fun and challenging outdoor activities. But even more powerful, GSTA events provide a setting for the teens to relate to each other and form relationships that exceed the bounds of normal friendships. Over the course of a trip, a group of teens and mentors are transformed into one family, united by a deep and heroic sacrifice to our Nation. Being a mentor on the GSTA events has been the greatest honor and most meaningful leadership opportunity I have had during my three years at the Naval Academy. I am so thankful to be a part of lives of the sons and daughters whose fathers have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
I wish to express my deepest appreciation to you and Gold Star Teen Adventures for an amazing experience in the Florida Keys for Open Water Scuba. Thanks to everyone who supports your programs. (My son) and I were able to challenge ourselves with new activities and create wonderful memories. My favorite part, was watching (my son). Even though he was one of the younger children, the environment you created offered him the opportunity to be “one of the guys” …I think (my son) especially enjoyed the presence of the mentors. It was obvious to me that they cared about the kids. One night after (he) returned from an ultimate frisbee session he hugged me and said “I love you Mom”. That told me that he was thoroughly enjoying himself. Now that we’re home I smile every time I hear him excitedly recall an experience from his trip. Thank you for those smiles