Stories

pine-trees

Don’t just take our word for it. Hear what LongWalk program participants and associates say about our programs. Hear their take on the positive impact we’ve had on lives in Oklahoma.

“Thank you, LongWalk, for challenging my teens to grow and expand their leadership skills on your awesome back-packing trips! The recent trip to the Colorado mountains certainly tested their mettle. In fact, I also grew as a youth leader, as a result of that experience.”

Rodney Gray
Director of Program Management, Youth At Heart


“Just wanted to say thanks again, the kids had a great time. Thanks to you and your organization, our kids got to experience several new things. They got to experience camping and hiking, something most of them had never done. In fact, many had never even been in the wilderness.

“But I think the most important new experience they had was the chance to be leaders. Because of the socio-economic situation of our kids, they don’t have many good role models to emulate, and therefore don’t know how to be good leaders.

“You gave them a chance to be leaders and they responded! In fact, since returning they have taken ownership of our off-season program and have really stepped up the intensity – all on their own.”

Ward White
Football Coach, Tulsa Public Schools


“My daughter was first approached about LongWalk Oklahoma through one of her youth pastors at church. A sign-up sheet was left and she joined about 20 others who gleefully subscribed for a wilderness walk in Colorado. As usual, I knew nothing about the sign-up, LongWalk, Mike, or who the leaders were that brought this new stress into my life.

“With my faith almost as sturdy as hers, we proceeded with the introductions and meetings only to discover some of the most level-headed leaders I’d wished I’d been when I was their age. I was told my 15-year-old would have the opportunity to lead the troop (some in their 20s) to gain leadership experience. I rolled the dice and off she went for six days.

“Not only did she survive, but I got back a girl with strengthened confidence coupled with a valuable life lesson on how to accept help from others in a severe personal time of need. She had injured her ankle and was unable to carry her full load. Her newfound friends graciously brought her out of the woods a changed person. She’ll be back.”

Randy Buchman
Parent of a LongWalk Oklahoma participant


“This trip was like a final examination of my summer, and of the last five years that I’ve spent at Shepherd’s Fold being mentored and trained in various skill sets.

“Midway through the trip, Mike gave control of the group to me, and it was fun to walk in that. I was able to successfully lead and evaluate the group, along with Mike’s wonderful input. A continuing lesson the Lord has been teaching me this last year has been about the importance of others and sharing the life that has been sown into me.

“This trip was a testing ground of that, and I really enjoyed walking that out. The Lord never intended for us to go through life alone. He is with us, and ‘we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.'”

Cody A. Chaney
LongWalk Participant, OSU graduate & paramedic


“Overall, my experience had me thinking about how I was going to carry myself after what I’ve learned. Before we arrived there, my whole thought process was to hurry up and get it over with.

“As soon as we got there, that all had changed, moreover it changed while we were riding on the way there. After I got to know all the others who were going, I had a feeling in my heart that the week was going to be great.

“It actually turned out to be more than great! What I learned was what God has been telling me before we went! As if he pretty much showed me how he would handle things (all my problems), on the contrary to enjoying his creations!”

Marcus James
LongWalk Participant, Camp Loughridge Counselor


“LongWalk is an excellent opportunity to spend time with and mentoring young men and women concerning their priorities and their focus on life.

“Camping provides an excellent opportunity for discussion because it takes students out of their normal secure environment and places them in an environment that is new and different. It gives them the ability to slow down and think without the distractions of computers and cell phones. They work together to hike in with the gear, set up the tents, and cook the meals.

“Leadership responsibilities are passed around and challenges of the outdoors have to be dealt with. I was very impressed with the Memorial men and really enjoyed my time with them. I hope that in my small way, I was able to serve as a good example as all of us dads hope to do. I fully expect and hope to continue my relationship LongWalk.”

Paul Welch, DVM
Parent Chaperone/Sponsor, Veterinarian, Memorial High School Football Team


“What I experienced from the trip was like a game of real life. There will be days in your life you will get frustrated, but if you continue fighting and trying, then things will turn out to be a blessing.

“I’ll use that experience on my upcoming basketball season this year. It might be tough teams we play, but if we play hard and finish strong, we will come out with a win. This trip also motivates me into talking to my teammates about how good we are this year and how we can be the national champion.”     

Jerell
LongWalk Student Participant


“I would first like to thank you for a great summer. Thank you so much for the scholarship for the My Long Walk trip. I am greatly appreciative of your donation. Thanks to you, I was able to go on the amazing trip.

“I learned so much in Colorado about leadership through our Lord Jesus Christ. I learned to work together with people that I barely even knew. I learned to let others love me and help when I was too stubborn to ask for it.

“Thank you so much for your help this summer.”

Drake Dugan
LongWalk Participant, Camp Loughridge Counselor