Monday, December 28, 2015

$2500 End-of-the-Year Matching Gift Challenge!!

GREAT NEWS!!!! We have a few generous donors who have thrown down a Matching Gift Challenge for GTD!! Led by Jesse Altamarino​, they have decided to match dollar-for-dollar every one-time end-of-the-year donation to GTD up to $2500!!
That means that every dollar you donate becomes 2 dollars... $10 becomes $20... $50 becomes $100... $1000 becomes $2000... $2500 becomes $5000!!!
But we need your help in order to meet this challenge. We need you to make a one-time donation to GTD today!! This is a great way to double your impact in a ministry that God is using to impact lives!
To make a one-time donation click on the link below (or mail your check to: GTD | PO Box 7523, Seminole, FL 33775... don't forget to write Dec 31, 2015 on the check's date line... you will still get credit for it from 2015 as long as we receive the check by mid-January... make the check out to "GTD").

Donation Link


$5000 Donation To GTD!!

Last week (for the 2nd year in a row!!) GTD received an unexpected $5000 donation from a loving & generous local foundation!! Talk about a great Christmas gift! WOW!! We want to express our profound gratitude to our donor for such a thoughtful and generous donation. That's a LARGE donation for our ministry! Thank you so much!! God bless you!!


A Belated Merry CHRISTmas from GTD!

Merry CHRISTmas from GTD!! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior - Jesus Christ.

Much Love & Yuletide Greetings from GTD's Real D.E.A.L. Staff
(D.E.A.L. = Doug. Erin. Alex. Laurie.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Swamp Thing Pictures Uploaded

Here's one of my favorite pictures from our Swamp Thing hike last weekend. Great shot Laurie!!

I've uploaded 360 pictures from our trip (more to come). Check out the pics HERE.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Swampy CHRISTmas

We had a fun Christmas celebration on our small island during our swamp hike. It included a fire-side Charlie Brown Christmas Tree decked out with ornaments and stockings that my awesome sister (Traci Vescovi​) set us up with. We read the CHRISTmas story from the Bible. Laurie​ brought Christmas Tree lights, Christmas music, and a portable speaker. Everyone brought gifts already wrapped up and we played "Swampy Santa" (our version of the traditional gift exchange game). AND, my sister surprised all of us by making these delicious smores inside of sugar cones and sending them with us. We cooked them over the fire. It all had to be added to our backpacks, but the extra few pounds were so well worth it. It was a special moment on our Swamp Thing adventure... and it helped make this one of the best swamp hikes we've ever done. Thank you so much Traci for all the added touches that turned something good into something GREAT! And Merry Swampy CHRISTmas to you all from GTD!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Swamp Thing Highlight Video

My incredible 13 year old nephew (Carson, aka Phased To Fishing​") joined us as the youngest participant to ever do our Everglades Swamp Thing hike. He loved it!! He has already edited a great video about the trip. Warning: This video includes an encounter with a decent sized aggressive rattlesnake camped out on the hiking trail poised and ready to strike. For the safety of our hikers as well as other hikers to follow, we shot and killed the rattlesnake. Shortly afterwards we continued our journey into the River of Grass.

Check out the video here (and don't forget to Like the video and subscribe to the Phased 2 Fishing YouTube channel):


The Gator Hole Calls To Us

A THIN LINE BETWEEN COURAGEOUS AND CRAZY!! One of our many adventures within an adventure on our Everglades Swamp Thing hike is the optional slosh through what is "affectionately" referred to as a Gator Hole. Gator Holes are deeper sources of water scattered throughout the wilderness that supply year-round water and food (hopefully not us!) for wildlife. This HUGE Gator Hole located 1/4 mile from our camp was hauntingly beautiful with crystal clear fresh water (possibly a spring) and enormous prehistoric-like ferns and vegetation. It feels as if you walked back into the first days of creation. The stunning scenery and elevated danger are palpable. Although we survey the landscape in an attempt to stay far away of even a hint of alligator presence the risk is readily felt by all. It's an optional side adventure. To many people it is absolute lunacy that cannot be adequately explained, but to the adventurous soul it is the essence of life itself that oozes with unexplainable brilliance. It is a line where two opposing viewpoints will never budge and agreeing to disagree is the closest common ground that will ever be achieved. Nine of our ten participants opted "in" and had one of the most thrilling experiences of our lives. We all survived - even thrived - and walked out with so much more than we entered in with. We walked, jumped, swam, and even stared right into the face of danger. It wasn't gratuitous. It was intentional. It was rational. For each person the reasons may have been completely different, but for all of us it was necessary. Today, "the day after", we even benefit in inexpressible ways from our march through one of the rarest adventure destinations in the world. Very few will ever step into a swamp, and far less will immerse themselves in a Gator Hole. We did both. And our hearts are rejoicing in epic ways this morning.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

GTD's Swamp Thing 2015 (Just Got Back!)

Into the swamps we go!! Swamp Thing 2015 began on Saturday!!


Sunday night: Just returned from one of the most amazing swamp hikes we've ever done with some of the best people you would ever want to know!

It was an adventure for the ages!!

Incredible pictures to share throughout the week.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Our CHRISTmas Tree :)

Here are a few pics of our CHRISTmas tree in the GTD office loaded with amazing ornaments that Paul & Susan Salce (Laurie's parents) have given Laurie every year since she was born - including several cool adventure ornaments!! Check out Rappelling Laurie & Rappelling Doug as well as our own personalized tents... too cool!! Her folks find the most creative ornaments. It makes setting up the tree & looking at it each day extra special for Laurie!! Merry CHRISTmas from GTD :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Getting ready for our swamp hike this weekend. Machetes sharp and ready to go! 

Swamp Thing 2015 <><

Friday, December 11, 2015

Getting Things Done over at GTD

Gear organizing, Christmas season, casual Friday, and 3 dorks all converge into one work day.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Guest Speaking At Pathways This Sunday

I'm honored to be guest speaking at Pathways Community Church this Sunday for their 9am & 10:30am services.

The title of my message is, "A Faith That Doesn't Sink". It is based on Matt 14:22-33 when Peter initiates BIG steps of faith and starts to walk on water, but then doubts and begins to sink. God had so much more for him, but he began to drown in fears and lack of faith. Likewise, many Christians quickly jump out of the boat to follow Jesus' call on their life, but are unprepared for the storms and they begin to sink amid fears, doubts, and lacking faith. This Sunday we will rise from the rough seas. We will return to the surface. We will stop treading in the water and start walking on it again. Step by step towards our Savior. 

If you don't already have a home church come visit a thriving church this Sunday that has a huge vision for the Tampa Bay area. The praise and worship alone is worth coming for. Hope to see you there friends!

Pathways website:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CDM Pics Uploaded

171 pictures from our canoeing trip with the Deaf Ministry of Calvary Church​ have been uploaded to GTD's online photo album! Click the link to seize the memories!!

Click here to go to the CDM Photo Album

Monday, December 7, 2015


Laurie & Erin were taking care of business while I was running some team building games during our Day Trip with the Deaf Ministry of Calvary on Saturday. A lot of hard work goes into having fun and these 2 ladies were rockin' it ALL DAY! 

Ministry is a team sport!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Loved It!

Loved our Day Trip with the Deaf Ministry of Calvary!! Pizzadillas, team building, and canoeing... They conquered it all! Another awesome group of really great people :)

Getting Ready!!

Getting ready for our canoe trip with Calvary Deaf Ministry!! Excited :)))

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's In The Mail

And our next round of Donor Thank You Packages have been shipped! Sometimes it's nice to be able to give back a small token of gratitude to an army of sacrificial givers that help enable an entire ministry. Thank you so much awesome supporters! We love you guys!!


It has been a great 2 weeks of reconnecting with some friends & family. Strong & healthy relationships have always been one of the most important priorities in my life so the challenging part of running an outdoor adventure ministry and being on the road and living in tents several months out of the year and coming back to mounds & mounds of administration work is how easily distance and duties can cause friendships to drift. We regularly have to miss weddings, funerals, and significant moments in loved ones' lives. Year after year the distance can become greater and greater to the point that we feel like we have unintentionally missed out on the closeness that keeps relationships alive. People are important to us so I would say this challenge is the hardest part of having a lifestyle that's based around constant travel. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. But there is no perfect job and no perfect calling. Every job & calling has challenging aspects and downsides. For me, it's the distance away from friends & family. That's why it has been such a blessing to have a time of reconnecting and restoring of close ties. I'm looking forward to having more of those moments in the weeks ahead. I'm so thankful for loving & understanding loved ones in my life. And I'm so appreciative for modern gadgets that can help minimize the distance that inherently happens within the framework of constant travels. In the coming weeks I can't wait to see so many people that God has blessed my life with through the years :).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Table Sponsors 13 and 14!

With GTD's table sponsorships and attendance unexpectedly doubling for our annual fund raiser banquet this year, I quickly fell behind on posting these thank you posts to our generous and kind table sponsors, so this week I plan to finally get caught up!  Please forgive me for taking so long.

Thank you so much to the G.A.P. (Graduates and Professionals) small group of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks for your table sponsorship and for your presence at the banquet.  We loved seeing you and appreciate your support. Mark Routman, Melissa Routman, Tara Yopp, Todd Baker-Rooney, Tom Livingstone Jr., Jenna Maura, Luigi Santoro and Rachael Cannaday

A special thanks to Bob and Kathy Powell for your sponsorship at GTD's Annual Banquet and for your love and support of this ministry.  You and your family have been a special blessing to us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Just before the Thanksgiving holiday begins we were able to mail out 20 gift packages and about 50 thank you notes this morning to some of our awesome supporters. It's so appropriate that we celebrate Thanksgiving this week as we have so much to be thankful for :). Now on to a 5 day family vacation in Orlando. We will pick back up on our mailout on Monday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE TO THANK!! This is a portion of the thank you notes & donation gift packages that we've been working on for the past 5 days. It takes a village to raise up a ministry, and we want to thank each and everyone of "our villagers" so much. God bless you all!

(PS: I've got to say that I'm so proud of how hard Laurie has worked on the actual banquet and now the thank you mailout. Absolutely impressive!)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Table Sponosor #12

GTD wants to thank Eric Branson and family for their table sponsorship at our annual fundraising event this past week! Your contribution helped make a big impact. Thank you!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thank You Notes...

WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!! No better way to spend an evening (or two!) than expressing our thankfulness to our supporters. We love you guys!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


It is with a humble heart overflowing with thanksgiving that I have the honor to announce that God rocked our world with a record setting amount of funds raised from our Annual Banquet to the tune of $50,000!!!!! ($22k thru one-time donations and $28k pledged over the next year). We are blown away! Touched! But Mostly Speechless! Words seem so inadequate to accurately express the joy, love, and appreciation that we feel right now. All I can truly say is Praise Jesus!! This will go a long way to impacting lives and improving our programs as we enter our 20th year of ministry. Five years ago The Great Recession crippled our ministry. We've always made huge sacrifices in order to operate GTD, but the last 5 years have been grueling. But just like our name implies, we've NEVER GIVEN UP fighting, scratching, and clawing our way through our bleakest years to get back to a place of stability. This won't quite get us to that place of stability, but it will bring it within reach. We believe that God is opening a new season of opportunity for GTD. A season in which struggle is no longer the main theme of our existence. A season in which we can spend less time treading water and more time ministering to the needs of the next generation. We're not quite there yet, but by all indications we are one God-sized step closer. And the great news is that we still have 6 more weeks remaining in our fundraising season to add to the total so that we can hit the ground running in our 20th year. We want to profoundly thank everyone who believed in us, supported us, and saw the value in this ministry and the impact that God has been making through GTD over the past 19 years. We thank God for each and everyone of you. You share in this harvest time because you sacrificed during the planting & tilling time. From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! We are already back to work preparing for a God-awesome 2016. And we couldn't be happier! Again, thank you to everyone who made our Annual Banquet such a great success - the speakers, the attendees, the table sponsors, the venue, the caterers, the donors, the volunteers, the GTD staff - thank you, thank you, thank you!


Back To Work!

Cleaning up from the banquet!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What A Night!!

We had an OUTSTANDING night last night with over 200 of the most thoughtful, loving, and generous people on the planet as we celebrated 19 years of ministry. The representation for Jesus and the level of encouragement was second to none. We are touched and blown away if anyone would ever spend one minute or invest one dollar in our lives or the life of this ministry. We are humbled, thankful, and unworthy of the gracious words that were spoken on behalf of us & GTD. We are full of gratitude for the amazing volunteers, the wonderful attendees, the phenomenal speakers, and the magnanimous donors that made last night a God-awesome cherished event that will never be forgotten. There are some nights that you just don't want to end. Last night was one of those nights. Thank you to everyone who helped make it so special! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much! We will announce the final results of the total amount raised later today. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


HUGE NEWS!!!! We have 2 generous donors who have thrown down a Matching Gift Challenge for TODAY!!

One of them will match dollar-for-dollar every one-time donation to GTD up to $6000!!

The second will match dollar-for-dollar every dollar pledged per month to GTD up to $500 for the next 12 months ($500 x 12 mths = $6000)!!

That means that every dollar you donate becomes 2 dollars... $10 becomes $20... $50 becomes $100... $1000 becomes $2000... $6000 becomes $12,000!!!

If you pledge $25/mth to GTD for the next 12 months they will also pledge $25/mth for the next 12 months. Your $25 monthly pledge becomes $50 monthly pledges. If you pledge $100 they will match it and pledge $100... all the way up to $500 cumulatively.


This offer is for TODAY and will end tonight shortly after our Annual Banquet concludes. We need your help in order to meet this challenge. Will you consider making a one-time donation or monthly pledge to GTD (or both!) today??? This is a great way to double your impact in a ministry that God is using to impact lives!

To make a one-time donation and/or a monthly pledge to GTD click on the links below (or email us or message me the amount you are mailing in or pledging).


One-Time Donations click here  |  Monthly Pledges click here  |  Email OR Contact Us here



Monday, November 16, 2015

One Brick At A Time!!

Rebuilding The Walls of GTD continues on!! Our work continues on as we prepare for the next 20 years of ministry. We are looking forward to sharing all the updates, developments, and future vision with our awesome attendees at GTD's Annual Banquet tomorrow night!!


With 1 day remaining until our biggest event of the year (our Annual Banquet) we have over 215 RSVPs (and counting). That's a new record!!! We are elated, thrilled, humbled, floored, blown away... In fact, we keep running out of adjectives to describe our profound affection for anyone & everyone who would take time out of their busy schedule on a weeknight and get all dressed up to come be a part of our special night. We thank God for each of you and we give God all the glory as we know He is the source. God is up to somethings BIG! It's an exciting time yo be a part of GTD! #THRiVE

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Table Sponsor #11

Thank you so much to our friends Lindsay McCormick and Dennis Mccormick for their partnership in ministry over the years.  The two of you have been such a great blessing and we appreciate your involvement with GTD. We love you guys!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Banquet Speakers Unveiled

BANQUET GUEST SPEAKERS! We are so honored to have the following phenomenal people speaking on behalf of GTD this Tuesday night:

Pathways' Pastor - Dustin LaChance​
Landry Academy Administrator - Jen Brown Henriksen​
Pathways' Pastor & Dynamic Duo - Jeff​ & Charlene Iskra​
and 12-Year-Old GTD Jr Adventure Volunteer - Garrett Kline

Our profound thanks to these wonderful people for sharing how God used GTD to impact their lives and the lives of their groups. We can't wait!


Don't miss out on all the fun & inspiration! Only 13 seats remain!! We have 8 free tickets available through a very generous table sponsor.

RSVP here  |  Banquet Details here

Table Sponsor #10

Thank you to our long time friends and Ministry Supporters JC and Janessa Jannarone​ for their Table Sponsorship.  To know you both were part of the early years of GTD and still have such a love and belief towards this ministry touches our hearts!  Thank you for your friendship and support.  We love you guys!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Casual Friday?

Office shenanigans with our cheap T-shirt torso displays!

We Feel Your Love

To our dear friends and ministry supporters, we can't even put into words how blessed we are feeling these last few days.  We've run out of adjectives to describe our gratefulness for your generosity and support leading into the banquet.  We are jaw dropped with each table sponsorship, every person who R.S.V.P.s and signs up as a Monthly Ministry Partner or makes a one time donation!  We feel your love and are so thankful for your belief in this ministry.  Thank you...and we still have 4 more days to go! 

Chasing 200!

200! 200! 200! We've come close, but we have never broken into the 200 level of attendees at our Annual Banquet. With only 4 days remaining we are within 30 RSVPs of breaking our attendance record and crossing over into the land of 200's. The momentum is there. Everyday another cluster of people sign up to come. It has been all God! Our "Save The Dates" were emailed out only 18 days ago. We didn't mail out invitations and opted just to email and Facebook our invites. But the response has been overwhelming in every positive sense of the word. There are times in life when you can clearly see the hand of God strongly supporting you. This is one of those times. So we want to let you know that we have a few seats left at our Annual Banquet and we would love for you to be there. It's always a fun, delicious, and inspiring night! Click on the link below for details and to RSVP. We have another 16 free tickets provided for by our wonderful table sponsors! Come be a part of something God sized!

"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." - 2 Chronicles 16:9

Banquet Link:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Table Sponsor #7

The Kiwanis Club of Pinellas Park has sponsored a table for GTD's Annual Banquet!  We are so honored to have an organization like them to help make our banquet a great success!  Thank you for your commitment to making this world and community a better child at a time!

A Team Effort

This made my day today when I stopped by the Wilt's home to drop off my dress for the banquet to have it taken in.  Bill and Sharon are two of GTD's Ministry Partners who have been part of the ministry longer than I have!  Bill really loved seeing the GTD truck we drive and so I suggested he jump on in and get a feel for it!  They both just loved it!  He sat in the seat, kicked the tires, looked under the hood and checked out all it's bells and whistles.  To me, it was so cool to share it with them and the story on how the truck was donated to our ministry after both of our vehicles had broken down about 5 years ago.  Can you imagine, a truck....picked out and donated to your ministry???  Seriously, how blessed were we to have received such a priceless gift considering we are a mobile ministry and without a vehicle there would be no GTD!  This truck is one of our most important pieces of equipment needed to run the ministry and we are so grateful to the incredible couple who saw a need and had it met.  We are beyond humbled to receive such a gift.  Thank you to the Wilts for allowing me to share the story of this blessing with you today and for your great enthusiasm.  Also, thank you to our amazing friends who have helped make the last 5 years of ministry possible by donating the truck!  This ministry truly is a team effort with those who have partnered with us through the years!

Check Out Our New Stuff!

GTD Infusion Bottles, Water Bottles, Coffee Mugs, Wristbands, Reusable Bags... Our participants, supporters, and ministry partners have been asking for these things for a long time. Now we've got them!

Come to the GTD Annual Banquet and see how you can get your hands on some of these!

Seats are quickly filling up! Reserve your spot today!

Banquet link:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Table Sponsor #3 & 4

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you PHP (People Helping of Pinellas Park) for your double table sponsorship for GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet. We appreciate all that you do to serve the community and your continued support of GTD.

Father & Son Retreat Pictures Uploaded

With a Pastor this fun, you know the church has to be awesome!! Check out all the pictures from our Father & Son Retreat last weekend with Tampa Covenant Church​. Click here to see all the pictures.