Thursday, February 27, 2020

GREAT NEWS! GTD WELCOMES SARAH HEBERT & FAMILY!!


I'm overjoyed to announce that GTD has hired on Sarah Hebert as our amazing new part-time Volunteer Program Coordinator. Rebuilding a thriving Volunteer Program is GTD's top priority this year, and the addition of Sarah Hebert is an indispensable step in accomplishing that. I've had the great privilege of working from a distance with Sarah over the past 2 years as she volunteered with one of our favorite church's youth ministries. I witnessed her administration skills and heart to serve first hand. Sarah along with her awesome husband Jason and their 3 great kids have all been involved with GTD over the past couple of years and we're thrilled to have them involved at a deeper level. Keep watching in the weeks & months ahead as we rebuild our Volunteer Program! In fact, you can not only watch what happens, you can be a part of it by joining GTD's Volunteer Team.

For more details about volunteering with GTD and/or to complete a Volunteer Application click on this link.


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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

DAY 2 - PADDLING IN PARADISE! GTD's PADDLE PROWL 2020

After a pleasant night's sleep of camping on an island with temps in the mid 50's it was time for breakfast, breaking down camp, and a short group devotion from 1 Timothy 6:17.

We repacked the kayaks with all of our gear and heading back onto the water.

The intercoastal that was choppy yesterday afternoon was now calm and smooth. The conditions were perfect! The sky was deep blue, the water was emerald green, and the beach sand was bright white.

We paddled 2.5 miles to and along the west side (the beach side) of Caladesi Island State Park which included a short portage across the beach from the intercoastal waterways and over to the wide open Gulf of Mexico.

We enjoyed a snack break and later on a lunch break on one of the top rated beaches in the great USA. Caladesi is truly a national treasure.

After lunch and time on the beach it was time to finish our 10 mile loop with our last 2.5 mile paddle along the coast of Caladesi Island then up and back over to the Dunedin Causeway where it all began.

The afternoon waves & chop had picked back up so we pressed on without a break until we reached our ending point. We did it! We completed our adventure! We finished what we started! We went the distance as a team!

One of the great blessings in life is finishing something that you started. And all 8 of us did exactly that. We came. We paddled in paradise. And we finished our 10 mile adventure quest.

Now it becomes a God-awesome memory we will talk about for years to come! Thank You Almighty God for creating an amazing playground for us to enjoy!! Glory to God =)

























Monday, February 24, 2020

DAY 1 - PADDLING IN PARADISE! GTD's PADDLE PROWL 2020

Despite morning temperatures in the low 40's on Saturday all 8 paddlers showed up with ambitious adventurous attitudes! I was totally impressed =).

Our adventure goal was to paddle 10 miles over 2 days (5 miles each day) around one of the top rated beaches in the nation (actually ranked the #1 beach in 2008) - Caladesi Island in Dunedin, Florida. Caladesi is only accessible by boat.

The cold temps tamped down the crowds which gave us a very personalized and extra amazing experience! The temps inched up to the mid 60's as we paddled under a gorgeous deep blue sky.

In the first 5 minutes of paddling we saw 2 dolphins only 50 feet away!

We paddled down the east side of Caladesi stopping for a few hours at Caladesi Island Marina where we enjoyed lunch at the cafe, a wilderness tour, and the remote pristine beach (of course).

Afterwards it was on into the Caladesi Kayak Trail which traverses through a maze of mangrove canopies that was another feast for the eyes =).

The trail spit us out just a half mile from a series of spoil islands that would serve as our camp for the night. This half mile was the hardest part of our adventure as the afternoon winds and waves had picked up. We battled our way across to the island with one kayaker capsizing and plunging into the cool intercoastal waters. Despite the harsh conditions we all reached the island safe & sound with about 2 hours of daylight left.

We set up camp, built a fire, made dinner, shared our highlights of the day as well as our ambitions, and then dove into Matthew 6:25-34. We talked about God's design for us to not walk through life full of worry. It robs us of fully living in the present and enjoying God's provisions. His solution to worry is to replace it with trust in our Heavenly Father, a life of faith in the finish work of Jesus, and a focus that revolves around 1 main priority (broken into 2 parts) - seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness. Very simple, but profound!

After hanging out around the fire for a while it was off to bed. This was the end of Day 1... we still had another full day of adventures ahead of us on Sunday =)