Focus Session: Working with Gold Star Teens

Working with Gold Star Teens:  Honoring Heroes and Healing Hearts

Men and women who have given their lives in service to our country leave behind sons and/or daughters who deserve our deepest compassion and highest respect.  As a nation, we struggle with how to help these children, Gold Star Teens,  reassemble their lives in the wake of their ultimate loss.  This session will discuss how sail training in tall ships helps to inspire Gold Star Teens to face the future with dignity and hope, while healing, developing valuable skills and enduring friendships with other Gold Star Teens. You will also discover how and why these types of programs can become valuable cornerstones of your organization.

Presented by
Captain Dave Pickering, Gold Star Teen Sailing Adventure / Co-Director
Colonel Patrick Powers, Gold Star Teen Sailing Adventure / Co-Director


Captain Dave Pickering
Captain Dave Pickering

Pickering, founder and CEO of S.A.L.T.Y. (Seamanship And Leadership Training for Youths) a non-profit org., helped grow the Gold Star Teen land based adventure to include living aboard ships and sailing on the sea.  Gold Start Teen Sailing Adventures provide an amazing healing and fun environment for GST’s as they learn to sail, discover the sea and themselves. Pickering brings 40 plus years of business development experience as he built Preventure, Inc. one of the leading wellness companies in the U.S.  He’s held leadership positions with many youth organizations including the YMCA, Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts, all which inspired him to form SALTY. He’s an Eagle Scout, Committee Chairman of Sea Scout Ship 1909 and a board member of the Steam Ship Historical Society of America.  As licensed USCG Captain he organizes sailing charters throughout the Caribbean and the French Polynesia Society Islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora and others.

COL Patrick Powers
COL Patrick Powers

Colonel Patrick Powers is a career US Army Special Forces officer “Green Beret.” He founded the Gold Star Sail Camp in 2012 and partnered with S.A.L.T.Y. in 2014 expanding it to a week-long “Sailing Adventure” focusing on healing, leadership, teamwork and sail training. With over 25 years of proven leadership experience, he successfully builds winning teams from Special Operations in combat to coaching youth sports.  COL Powers builds strong value based teams who solve complex problems and win.  He is currently assigned to USSOCOM with duty in Washington, DC. He served tours in Korea, Bosnia, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In 2012 he built the Gold Star Sail Camp to focus on leadership, teamwork, and promote healing through a sailing adventure. COL Powers is also a Master SCUBA Diver, Paratrooper, Ranger, Master Jump Master, Close Quarters Combat expert and the recipient of four Bronze Star Medals.




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