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Gold Star Teen Adventures

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Leadership Development, Military & Veterans Organizations, Secondary & High Schools, Veterans, Youth Development

Mission: Gold Star Teen Adventures enables healing, fosters enduring relationships, and develops character and leadership skills through adventure experiences to the surviving youth of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Results: Over the past 5 years, Gold Star Teen Adventures has served over 400 participants through adventures providing opportunity, healing, mentorship and leadership and character development. The adventures provided by GSTA include hunting, gun safety, marksmanship training, leadership development, scuba diving, survival training with opportunities to utilize the skills acquired during training. Over 100 teens have earned their Open Water Scuba Certification, 75+ have earned their Advanced Certification and their Nitrox , and 20+ have earned their Rescue level training. GSTA works to provide opportunity for healing, growth, and development through adventure experiences.

Target demographics: Gold Star Teen Adventures provides unique summer adventure opportunities for Gold Star Youth. The purpose of the program is to provide healing, mentorship, development, and opportunity to the children of special operations Service Members who lost their lives in the line of duty. The program serves youth of fallen United States military special operations service members, consisting of Army Special Forces (Green Berets), Army Rangers (75th Ranger Regiment), the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, 4th MISOC, Navy Small Boat Teams, Navy SEALs, Air Force Combat Controllers, Air Force rotary and fixed wing squadrons, and Marine Corps special operations personnel.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 138 participants

Geographic areas served: Gold Star Teen Adventures provides unique summer adventure opportunities for Gold Star Youth.

Programs: GSTA Basic open Water Scuba, Alumni Advanced Scuba, Basic Outdoor Leadership, Alumni Advanced Outdoor Leadership, GSTA Leadership Workshop, GSTA Girl's Retreat, GSTA's White Tail Deer Hunt.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wonderful Organization. Beautiful people. True Patriots helping those in need in the great Spirit of The United States of America,

God Bless.
Rob Matticola
Homeland Security Director
NYW-Ferry

1 Akira L.

Donor

Rating: 5

GSTA is an incredible organization. From the ground up their focus is ALWAYS on the teens that they serve. I have fundraised for them 3 times so far and been lucky enough to meet the incredibly kind and hardworking members of their organization and some of the Gold Star Teens. Their focus on their incredibly important mission and the efficiency with which they run makes them a fantastic organization that I proudly support.

Stacy M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization provides the BEST experiences for our Gold Star families! I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend an adventure and the smiles on faces of these kids was priceless! The organizers and mentors go out of their way to provide support in any way needed. It’s tragic that these services are needed, but so thankful they are available! Keep up the awesome work GSTA!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve had the great privilege of seeing this organization in action and interacting with some of the teens involved. This is an outstanding organization that affords these gold star kids some amazing opportunities! The founders, volunteers and mentors go above and beyond. You can see the joy they bring on the faces of the kids that have endured such heart ache. THANK YOU GSTA!

1 Tricia Fernandez Tarlavsky K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Joey was 10 months old when his dad was killed in action. He never had the chance to witness his dad’s thirst for adventure, or his love of scuba, hiking and camping. Gold Star Teen Adventures has recognized the importance of providing opportunities for teens like Joey to explore the world that their dad would have shown them if he could. Joey has traveled with GSTA to Belize for Advanced Scuba Certification and Outdoor Leadership Course, Florida for Wreck Diving, North Carolina to deer hunt and train with special forces. He will travel this Summer to Bonaire for Rescue Diver and back to North Carolina to compete in an Amazing Race like competition. Hands down, GSTA is Joey’s favorite group of people and the highlight of his year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gold Star Teen Adventures is more than a program it is an investment. An investment into the lives of Gold Star Teens. This organization stays actively involved in a teen's life and the program is structured to bring the teen back year after year to progress in skills and in turn in the relationships they build both with peers and mentors. GSTA is like no other program I have ever witnessed. It is certainly not a grief camp, but rather a opportunity for teens to honor their fallen loved one by meeting their potential and surpassing their fears and overcoming challenges through experiences not often had by others.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with GSTA for over 4 years and it has been truly life changing. I am honored and humbled to be associated with this family. I travel throughout the year with the teens and host the "Fall Whitetail Deer Hunt." Providing fun, challenging and educational adventures for these kids that have sacrificed so much is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. We focus on opportunity, not loss, by engaging the teens in fun, safe activities and life experiences that they will never forget. THIS IS AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION that consistently delivers on it's mission to enable healing, foster enduring relationships and to develop character and leadership skills through adventure experiences. I am truly blessed to be a donor, sponsor, volunteer and board member. GSTA is truly a GREAT NONPROFIT !!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I grew up as a Gold Star Teen and found out about GSTA through other Gold Star Teens I grew up with and through some of my peers at the Naval Academy. I am super grateful that GSTA has welcomed me into the family as a mentor. They brought me on board the team when I was a plebe, and I have been on trips with the teens all over the world from North Carolina to Kauai to Belize over the past three years. The relationships I have built extend far beyond the amazing adventures that go on throughout the year. I'm truly blessed to be apart of this family that I know will be with me for life.

-Chris Bianchi

Alex V.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a mentor for GSTA, it was a life changing experience for me. I was able to push myself and my team beyond what I thought possible. The kids, program, and fellow mentors are incredibly compassionate, enthusiastic, and promote and experience that these kids will never forget. I will be involved with GSTA for life.
-Alex Vandenberg, US Naval Academy Class of '19

Donor

Rating: 5

I became a part of Gold Star Teen Adventures as a result of a high school classmate not making it home from Afghanistan. When I met with his wife and two children 4 years later I instantly thought about who takes these children to do dad stuff. The answer I would soon find out was Gold Star. As Jessica told me about the organization I was instantly drawn to them. I've spent the last 15 months working to raise money in a variety of ways. Success in my mind is measured by impact. The impact in this case is the fellowship between children that have gone through similar losses. The hurt, the emptiness and all of the emotions of losing your parent to war is explored together. There is great power in knowing someone that is dealing with something similar to you. The healing that takes place within Gold Star is real and thus the positive impact is what I'm signing up to be a part of. The founders Kent and Trina Solheim will leave you speechless with their drive and commitment to ensure the healing of the children.

Samantha P.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a "Gold Star Teen," and have had the amazing opportunity to be actively involved with the organization for almost 5 years now!! I have since graduated from the program, and get the incredible privilege to continue with the organization as a GSTA mentor. It is such an honor to be able to serve an organization that has personally given me so much healing and provided me with a community of amazing people who know and understand my story! GSTA is an organization truly worth your contribution because they so the extra mile. The relationships built through each adventure extends far into the daily lives of each teen by giving each teen a community that is dependable and cares for them on a personal level!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just got involved with GSTA as a mentor for the first time this past summer and was immediately blown away. The leadership of this organization is extremely committed to the teens and offers them tremendous opportunities for adventures such as scuba diving, hunting, and outdoor survival skills. The teens also develop close bonds with each other as well as with the mentors. I can't wait to continue working with GSTA in the future!

Austin A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been apart of Gold Star Teen Adventure for about 5 years now. Ranging from Outdoor Survival Camps, to Scuba Diving, G.S.T.A has expanded my range of experiences and has also taught me lessons I'll be able to carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank You G.S.T.A for everything you have done!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Scuba diving, hiking, swimming with dolphins, windsurfing, completing a rugged maniac race, learning how to build a fire, competitions, etc..the list of opportunities goes on and on. Gold Star Teen Adventures is a unique non-profit organization that offers experiences like no other. I have been fortunate enough to attend several adventures to assist with logistics and planning, as well as mentor, and the interactions I have had were, and continue to be many of the most memorable moments in my life. Relationships between the teens and mentors last longer than the duration of the trip and the excitement for each adventure never dwindles. These adventures offer healing through exciting opportunties that facilitate leadership skills, foster self confidence, and lead to endless days and nights of laughter and fun. The thought and planning that goes into these adventures and the execution of them is absolutely amazing. What an awesome non-profit organization!!!

Brigid D.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

GSTA is an amazing organization! Had the honor to see GSTA in action. This organization is just what these Gold Star Teens need. The founders and mentors give 110% in everything they do! Truly Amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor for GSTA for the past two years and the work that they do is outstanding. While it is incredible to see the confidence the teens build throughout the week-long adventures, it is even more remarkable to see the same teens come back year after year and have the ability to become leaders within the organization. GSTA is committed to long-term success for those that it serves and the teen-mentor relationships continue informally throughout the year. The GSTA family is developing leaders for the next generation that have enormous potential for a positive impact.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Gold Star Teen Adventures for the past three years. During this time I have participated in nine GSTA adventures. As a mentor on the adventures I have worked closely with the teens and also the leadership of this organization--- both are incredibly impressive. I have seen the tremendous growth that occurs during the adventures for the teens, especially as they return year after year. On the trips the teens learn valuable leadership and outdoor skills that will serve them well beyond their teenage years.
The trips are highly organized and incredibly well planned. The focus is always 100% on serving the teens and making each adventure the "best week ever" for each Gold Star teen.

sofsupporter

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Awesome, program! I am continually impressed with GSTA and their commitment to the mission and those that they serve. As a professional working with another nonprofit serving the gold star and special operations community, I know many teens that have participated in GSTA's programs. There is no endorsement greater than that of those who have participated, and I have never heard anything but the best about GSTA.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great program, what GSTA is doing is incredible! I hope more people get on board and help support this great cause!

dbwinters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We had the honor to do an event called Operation Blackbeard with Gold Star Teen Adventures. Wonderful mission and great team!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love and am continually impressed with Gold Star Teen Adventures! What they do is so needed and the staff, as well as those served, care so much about the mission. I had the opportunity to see two retreats in action and was both amazed and touched at all that went into making it a success. What they have created is a family and and a network of mentors, youth served, and staff. All of their trips are extremely fun and teach youth skills they will have for the rest of their lives. I vet NGOs often and I can tell you that I will definitely continue to support Gold Star Teen Adventures and highly recommend them to others as a worthy cause where your donations are well spent.