Gator Wilderness Camp is one of the best things to happen for our son and our family. Before camp our son was struggling with major behavioral problems, as well as confidence and social skills. He had been in psychiatric units three times, was suicidal, and extremely defiant. This had taken a major toll on our family. We had prayed for years for help and God answered that prayer with Gator Camp. At camp our son made a HUGE transformation! He learned to be respectful, self-reliant, a problem solver, and how to handle his wild emotions. Being a team player is part of every moment at Gator Camp as well as having a positive attitude. We can't thank Gator Camp enough for all of their hard work and dedication! The staff at camp are truly amazing, kind, honest people. They became like our family and got us through every step.
With enormous gratitude,
Jeff & Stephanie
I am writing this letter to say Thank You! I have no words to even begin to tell you what a huge difference I see in Mason already and he just started this adventure with you all there at camp.
He is changing and it shows through and through more and more every time I see him and I couldn't be more proud of him. This is exactly what Mason needed and we are so glad he made
the decision to go to camp and we are glad we didn't try to hold him back from this experience.
I am looking forward to the future, having my son back, and having our family back together and stronger than ever before. This letter will never be enough to tell you how grateful I am that you
are all a part of his life and ours too and to tell you how lucky he is to have you all there for him, standing behind him to keep giving him the guidance he needs to become the wonderful young man I know he can be. There are miracles happening for Mason and for our family and I cannot ever thank you enough for the help you are giving to us to make those miracles happen.
Thank you very much for everything you have done for me in the 20 months I was there. Before
I went to camp I was not listening to my parents, I would refuse to do what they said, as well as
I would threaten to run away. I was really being disrespectful and saying things that at the time
I thought I meant. Now that I look back on things like that I realize, where does all that anger come from? All of you have given ideas and suggestions, but do you know what I have never heard anyone at camp say to me? None of you said "nowhere" or that there was no reason for getting mad, or that I am the type of person that just switches from one to the other with no reason
what-so-ever. No, everyone said that it was because I had feelings that needed to be talked out.
I have not always been easy to talk to as some of you know, but I really appreciate everything you did for my life and what you continue to do for those around you. I wrote this letter to let you know how grateful I am for everything this camp has done for me. Thank you and God bless.
Tyler, graduated from the Miccosukee group in November 2014
A LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER
One of the more difficult situations to arise for a psychotherapist is when the safety and well being of family members is compromised and the family setting is no longer the best placement for a child. The circumstances surrounding such an event are many and varied, but the need is the same, a safe, secure, nurturing environment that will hold the child accountable for his actions while ministering to his spirit and soul.
Gator Wilderness Camp School for adolescent boys surpasses the above criteria and is an answer to prayer. As a licensed Clinical Social Worker in the specialized fields of trauma, child abuse, adoption, foster care and family therapy, a residential program as a means of saturated treatment and respite for the family is a valuable resource. Gator Wilderness Camp is unique in the state of Florida as a residential program that shares the love of Christ while helping the boys make meaning of their every day struggles and fight to rise above their circumstances that often include extreme loss and trauma.
The boys and families I have referred to Gator Wilderness Camp are most often at the pinnacle of stress and drastic interventions are necessary. Common diagnosis such as ADHD, ADD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and Conduct Disorder wrap the boys like a shroud. The level of dedication and sacrifice that is made on a personal level by the chiefs continues to amaze and bless me. Being punched, kicked, spit on and cursed at is an ordinary occurrence in this unordinary life as a chief. The boys learn to embrace their lives and work through their trauma histories as the dedicated staff of Gator Wilderness Camp walk beside them every step of the way. It is a delicate balance of accepting the boys where they are while modeling and teaching the skills needed for them to rejoin their families and communities. Listening to the boy’s life stories is not for the faint of heart. Loving them through their behaviors is difficult at best. Thank you to the entire staff at Gator Wilderness Camp School for having a vision and a mission that heals the broken hearted and charts a course of success for these young men when they graduate from your program.
Sheila D. Stiles, LCSW