Many of you are familiar with Gold Star Teen Adventures. For those that are not, GSTA is an organization that provides unique summer adventure opportunities to the children of our fallen special operations military personnel. The organization serves as an outlet for gold star children to grieve, grow and be surrounded by positive role models. In 2015, 31 special operators lost their lives. These 31 service members left behind 48 children, and these 48 children have joined the hundreds of other children that have lost a parent in the line of duty over the last 14 years. The numbers only grew in 2016, and the fight is not over.
A small team of our teens and mentors have accepted the challenge to participate in the Rugged Maniac race in an effort to raise funds for future GSTA adventures.
Gold star teen Andrew Elizzararas says, “I’m excited to see everyone again since it’s been a little while. What I’m really looking forward to though is the great opportunity to say thank you to GSTA for everything that they do. People have no idea what it means to gold star kids, the time and effort they put into planning these trips for us is truly amazing!”
Some adventures that we have done in the past include: SCUBA diving, hiking, rock climbing, camping, outdoor survival, hunting, horseback riding, etc. We have traveled to locations such as, the Florida Keys, North Carolina, California, Bonaire, Belize, Hawaii and Virginia. Regardless of where we travel and what we do, the most important thing is the relationships that are formed between the teens who attend our trips. We have accepted this challenge because of them, but we can not do this for them without your help!
Gold star daughter Sam Ponder says, “I’m excited to participate in the Rugged Maniac Challenge because the race is about so much more than the mud, sweat and tears that it will likely produce. Every step will be for GSTA, and for gold star children whose parents have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country’s freedom. I am so excited for the momentum and support we have already received, and I cannot wait to see what other great things are in store!”
If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser, please visit our team page here.
Written by GSTA mentor, Kaylee Henry