Thursday, June 22, 2017


I'm thrilled to announce that we've hired my 14 year old nephew Carson Vescovi as our part-time ministry assistant!
He will be assisting me 15 hours per week with countless work projects and an unending list of to-do's.
Carson has volunteered for GTD for the past 4+ years and served as one of our Jr Guides for the past few summers. He is a very hard workers, a ton of fun, full of adventure, and dares to dream big dreams. At such a young age he is already an impact person.
Yesterday he completed an exhausting 5 hour application and interview process with me. At the end of the process it was my privilege to say, "You're hired!"
This is the first paying job he has ever had! Welcome to Team GTD Carson! We're so blessed to have you on staff =)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

UTAH & COLORADO Trips ON SALE Thru July 15th!!


30 DAY SALE: UTAH ($849) & COLORADO ($899)

Select Our Lowest Price Offered Until July 15th

We haven't had a chance to promote these trips like we wanted to sooooooo we are discounting them for the next 30 days to our early bird lowest price.

Come join us on a God-awesome trip of a lifetime!!!! (Click links below for details)


UTAH Trip (Sept 18-23, 2017)

COLORADO Trip: (Oct 2-7, 2017)



Thursday, June 15, 2017


Tackling 6 months of "less urgent" mail!!

(Getting caught up on tons of office work after a very full retreat season!!)

Road Trip! (Spanish Immersion Team in Costa Rica)

A little road trip excursion started a couple of days ago for our Spanish Immersion Trip students and now we are in one of the most lush areas of Costa Rica I've seen called Monteverde. Monteverde is in the cloud forest, and the place we are staying is above the treetops....(we can actually see and feel the clouds pass us by)! It's incredible! Last night we went on a guided night hike and saw sleeping birds, raccoon type animals, a tarantula, large grasshoppers, frogs, and bats. Today we'll be heading out to ride ATV's and go zip lining! I'm so excited to see more of this beautiful place!


Monteverde (By Talia)

Today we drove into central Costa Rica to spend time in Monteverde, which is a cloud forest. This is one of my favorite parts of Costa Rica 🙂  Talia details our day below.

Second day for the books in Costa Rica! We started the day with our families. For me personally, Adriana (my new mama) had to go to work early so she left Veronica and I some breakfast sandwiches on their table. Although we didn’t get to see the girls before they left for school, we left them a note en español for them to find for later. We had about a 4 hour drive to Monteverde, and I can speak for the team that THIS IS THE CUTEST PLACE EVER. We are seriously in love with the views here. We ate a huge lunch (I ate two empanadas at once which was pretty impressive— and they tasted amazing) and walked around the hotel. So many pictures were taken, (that one is for you, parents!!) and we learned that the view can change from completely foggy to completely clear within minutes. As soon as the sun went down we want on a guided (once again, look at us parents! We’re being safe!) night tour and saw some pretty impressive animals like tarantulas, vampire bats, blue-crowned mud bird, and many other that sounded too crazy to be able to remember. We finished off our night with continuous orders of large pizzas and some card games that I continued to beat Cavan and the rest of the team at. Sadly we couldn’t spot any sloths but fear not for me and Autumn’s mission to find them will not be deterred! Our mission to bring a native sloth back home is still alive and well.

quote of the day: smooth like mantequilla (gracias a autumn)

Terminó el segundo día en Costa Rica! Empezamos con nuestras familias. En mi familia, Adriana (mi nuevo madre) necesitó ir a trabajo temprano entonces ella puso algunos sandwiches en la mesita para Veronica y yo. No podíamos ver las chicitas de mi familia antes de ellas fueron a su escuela, entonces Veronica y yo pusimos una carta para la familia a escoger. Tuvimos una maneja a Monteverde, y yo puedo hablar para todo el equipo que ESTE ES UN LUGAR MÁS LINDA. Todos tienen amor por estas vistas aquí. Comimos un almuerzo grande (yo comí dos empanadas en una vez que fue muy impresionante- y el sabor fue increíble). y caminábamos alrededor del hotel. Hay muchas fotos que toman ( este es para ustedes padres!) y aprendíamos que la vista puede cambiar de neblinoso a claro con minutos. Cuando atardecer, fuimos a una visita guiada (un otro vez para utds, padres!!) del noche and veíamos animales impresionante como tarantulas, vampire bats, pájaros, y otros que fueron más loco para recordar. Terminamos este noche con pizza y partidos de tarjetas que yo sigo a ganar contra de Cavan y todo el tiempo. Tristemente, no podíamos escoger un perezoso pero no tienes miedo porque la misión de yo y Otoña para escogerlos no está roto! Nuestra misión para traemos un perezoso a los Estados Unidos está vivito y coleando.


Day One (By Jessie)


Today is our first day and a lot has already happened to remind us that we are in another country. I am living in a house with Autumn and a Costa Rican family. For breakfast my new mom named Mirna cooked us rice and beans and avocado and a mystery meat. In the family, there is a fifteen year old girl and a father but they were not home so we ate with Mirna and learned a lot about her and her family. Then she showed Autumn and me a little of the town. We are in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and tropical vegetation. But the best part of my experience so far is that my family has two little dogs named Princess and Mia. They are my new best friends of course! Autumn called me the dog whisperer. Now our group is at the church talking about what we are going to do this month and our new families (in Spanish of course!). There was a frog that was in the kitchen that we are in and I decided to save it, but when it was in my hand, it always wanted to jump around the room. Veronica was screaming and a member of the church names Yikson ran into the other room. Eventually I brought it outside the church and saved the life of the frog. It’s hard to understand a lot of the Spanish here because the people talk very very fast and use words that I don't know, but using the words that I know, I can avoid words that don't know in order to have a conversation. But I know that later in the month i will be able to understand a lot more.

Live a pure life!


Hoy es nuestra primera día y ya teníamos mucho cosas ocurrían para recogernos que estamos en una país diferente. Estoy viviendo en una casa con Otoña y una familia costaricence. Por desayuno, mi madre nueva se llama Mirna nos cocinó arroz y frijoles y aguacate, y un carne misterioso. En la familia hay una chica que tiene quince años y una padre pero no estaban en la casa como así comimos con Mirna y aprendimos mucho sobre ella y su familia. Luego, a Otoña y yo nos mostró un poco de la ciudad. Estamos en un valle rodeado de montañas bonitas y vegetación trópica. Pero, el parte mejor de mi experiencia hasta este punto es que mi familia tiene dos perritas se llama Princesas y Mia. Son mis nuevas mejores amigas, por supuesto. Otoña me llama “el pero musitador.” Ahora todo el grupo es a la iglesia hablando sobre que vamos a hacer este mes y sobre nuestras familias (¡En Español por supuesto!). Era una rana que estaba en la cocina que estamos en y decidí salvarla, pero cuando estaba en mi mano, siempre quería saltar sobre el cuarto. Veronica estaba gritando y uno de los miembros de la iglesia se llama Yikson corrió en un cuarto otra. Eventualmente, la traí afuera de la iglesia y salvé la vida de la rana. Es difícil comprender mucho del español aquí porque las personas hablan mucho mucho rápidamente y usan muchas palabras que no sé, pero usando las palabras que yo sé puedo evitar las palabras que no sé para tener una conversación. Pero, yo sé que subsecuente en la mes podré comprender mucho más.

¡Viva una pura vida!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Meeting with Word of Life

Meeting with Keith Balsley of Word of Life in Hudson about future retreats and future opportunities. Our great thanks to Word of Life for the valuable role they play in many of our local camping retreats. This is such a great ministry... We are very blessed for their partnership!

Thank You (Day One From Lauren)

First of all, a huge thank you for following along with our trip!  We so appreciate your prayers. 
We arrived last night, and everyone settled into their host families houses. I have been blown away by the excitement that families have shown to host these students, and their commitment to that role. We are thankful.
These 5 students have been so resilient and up-for-anything, and watching the way that they invest is a blessing to me.  Everything is tougher in another language, but they are embracing time with their host families, communicating with each other in Spanish, and jumping on opportunities to practice in conversation. I could not be more proud of them.
Today they spent the morning with their host families, then met for lunch and a tour of the town. We had a few errands, and let the students lead so that they could practice their Spanish - they had a key made, went to the copy shop, bought chips for their cell phones, etc. 
All of the host families, along with a few other key families in the church, came together for dinner and a game of fishbowl (catch phrase and charades). The students took turns describing, acted things out with their host siblings, and guessed and laughed along. It was a beautiful picture of community.
Today we will leave for a 2.5 day trip to Monteverde, a cloud forest in central Costa Rica. 

-Lauren (Spanish Teacher) 

Monday, June 12, 2017


Our Spanish Immersion Team from Calvary High School is on board their flight to Costa Rica where they will spend 1 month immersed in the culture and community as they learn Spanish, experience life in Costa Rica, and participate in community outreaches. It's going to be an amazing month!

Please keep Laurie and the team in your prayers as they live in host homes 4 days each week and travel throughout the country the other 3 days. Special thanks to their Spanish teacher Lauren Shaeffer for overseeing this trip and for all the hard work she has poured into this event!!

Follow the GTD Blog & Facebook Page for regular updates =)

Friday, June 9, 2017


A 4am airport run kicks off a one month GTD journey for Laurie in Costa Rica. She's working with our first ever immersion team from Calvary High School of Clearwater. The students are embarking on a cultural adventure of learning Spanish by immersing themselves within the wonderful community we work with in La Fortuna de Bagaces. We can't wait to see all that they learn and all that God does in and through them over the next 4 weeks!!

Please keep the team in your prayer as they live in host homes and take time each week to travel throughout Costa Rica. It's going to be an amazing experience!

PS: Laurie and I have had a great and full 2 weeks since she returned from upstate New York. In addition to our regular ministry work, we've been working on our wedding plans!! Laurie finished her fitting for her wedding dress, I started the search for my suit, our "slightly late" invitations are coming together, Laurie's parents are doing a thousand incredible things to prepare their back yard for the ceremony, and last night we started registering at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Just under 3 months to go!! It's getting real folks! It's coming together! Praise Jesus =)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

GTD = Getting Tasks Done!

Tackling work projects with some awesome volunteers! ... it's the family business ;)

Thursday, May 25, 2017



Oct 2-7, 2017 (Mon-Sat) (6 Days / 5 Nights)

Click here for DETAILS


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy New Year (sort of)!

No, this isn't an accidental post from 5 1/2 months ago... it's actually for today - May 16, 2017. Because of the Christmas holidays followed by a huge mission trip to Costa Rica and then a full calendar of events from January through the end of April we had to push pause on several of our office obligations, important responsibilities, and personal priorities until things slowed down enough to go back and pick back up from where we left off... which was right after our greatest banquet ever in December. So today marks the day that I return back to where we pushed pause at the end of 2016. In a weird way it feels just like January 1st all over again (Happy New Year!). We have thank you notes and gifts for our banquet donors, unopened mail that dates back to Dec (don't worry, we made sure we opened the urgent and most important items), several months of emails (we did already handle most of the urgent and highly important emails), over $80k worth of receipts to enter into our financial software (again, not to worry, we have paid all of our bills on-time, entered all of our income and donations, and taken care of all time sensitive reports and responsibilities), and countless other tasks... in fact, with the exception of about 15 minutes, I still haven't seen the 4 hour tribute video with 170 videos submitted by many of you awesome people!! So, that's our ministry update. It's New Years in May in the GTD office and I'm tackling 6 months of tasks that had to be pushed to the back-burner. They're now on the front-burner and I'm running full steam ahead. Many of our upcoming posts for the next few weeks will be updates related to things from the first half of 2017. There's a lot to share so get ready for an adventurous ride!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

DoLa (Doug & Laurie) - The Proposal at Niagara Falls

This is our original proposal video at Niagara Falls just prior to New Years 2010 =)

THE SET-UP: I told Laurie that we were making a promo video for a future GTD trip to Niagara Falls, but I was actually preparing to take a knee and ask this cherished treasure to be my wife. We crept past a chain that was closing off the upper overlook terrace. We set our jackets aside for the promo video. She was standing in the cold while I was setting up both the camera and video camera on tripods. And then it happened! This is the priceless footage that was captured =)

Although 2010 wasn't the right timing for us, we consider this our official engagement. It was the beginning of a 7 year journey to the right timing. Sometimes it's better to be right on time instead of too early! =)

FUN FACT: Laurie's parents were married at Niagara Falls. As they like to put it, they "took the plunge at Niagara Falls!"


Friday, May 12, 2017



We want thank all of the Pastors, Churches, Group Leaders, Participants, Volunteers, Ministry Partners, Board of Directors, and GTD Supporters for making this one of our best event seasons ever!!

We divide our year into 3 Seasons (Jan-Apr = Season 1 / May-Aug = Season 2 / Sep-Dec = Season 3). We were blessed with an overflow of events during Season 1... it seemed like we were running group events almost every week!

Thank you to everyone who participated! And we've got great news for you... All of the event pictures (nearly 8000 of them) have been uploaded to GTD's online photo album. Download as many of them as you want for FREE! Re-LIVE all the fun and impacting moments!!

God did a lot of great things over the past 4 months!! Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a great success as well as a lot of God-awesome fun for so many! Glory to God!!




Monday, May 8, 2017



It is with great joy and hearts full of love that Laurie and I officially announce our engagement to be married!!

Our journey has been long, but not wasteful. Good investments can yield great returns over time. So it is with long term relationships that deepen, mature, and grow over the course of time. Mushrooms grow up overnight, but strong oak trees take hundreds of years to mature. Often, quality takes time. Laurie and I desire quality and we are striving for excellence. We are opposites in many ways, but we have built a strong Christ-centered foundation over the past decade, and we are blessed to have great communication. We are excited about what lies ahead and the future that God has for us as husband and wife.  We want a marriage that pleases God, serves others, and relishes in mutual respect, love, joy, and happiness. We desire for our light to shine brighter together for God's glory more than it ever did as individuals.

We want to thank our family and friends for your support and encouragement over the past decade! (I know I've worn most of you out through the years with this long process!!)

Our wedding is scheduled for August 26, 2017 (3 1/2 months away) in upstate NY, and a reception is being planned for late October in Seminole, FL. ... Details forthcoming.


To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. - Winston Churchill

Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time. - Voltaire

Slow and steady wins the race. - Robert Lloyd

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. - Moliere

All great things must have time to grow. A mushroom can be grown overnight but an oak tree takes half a thousand years. But the mushroom perishes with the passing hours while the oak fashioned into the skeleton of a great ship will dare the storms of any sea. It takes time to build... and the beginnings must be small. There must be the steady development time to send down roots... the proper launching of a ship intended for a long voyage.  - T. DeWitt Talmage: His Life and Work



Saturday, April 29, 2017


That was the exclamation from one of the young boys to his dad as they were leaving from the Father/Son retreat with Tampa Covenant Church earlier today.

That memory with his dad will be replayed and retold thousands of times for the rest of his life! What a GREAT investment of time!

Dads have a very special and powerful God ordained role they play in their children's lives.

It was such a blessing to watch dads intentionally pour into their sons during the past 24 hour concentrated time of bonding.

Camping, swimming, rock climbing, ziplining, camp games, hanging out on hammocks, cooking out, canoeing, reading the Bible together, praying together, laughing together, working together, overcoming fears together, being taught and guided by dad... it all culminated into a God-awesome Father/Son retreat that will have lasting impacts for many years to come.

Thank you Tampa Covenant Church for the wonderful opportunity to work with your incredible church and amazing dads & sons!

And thank you GTD supporters for making ministry and moments like these possible! You share in the harvest because you planted and watered the seeds that blossom on each event! Thank you so much! God bless you!!