What a great year it's been for Cross Trail Outfitters of Texas as we've witnessed God work in the lives of many young people and their families as we continue our mission of guiding the next generation to Christ through the outdoors.
During 2016, we provided over 1,100 opportunities for kids to participate in activities such as hunting/fishing outings, camps, sportsmen’s skills nights, community service, leadership development, outreach and bible studies. Currently, there are over 200 members in 5 chapters with new chapters and new relationships being developed. This summer, we hosted 57 kids from across Texas at 5 week-long hunting and fishing summer camps—four camps for boys plus our first CTO girls camp.
The kids involved in CTO come from a variety of backgrounds, and our policy is to never turn a child away due to financial limitations. This year CTO Texas provided over $19,000 in program scholarships that allowed kids to participate in our camps and weekend hunting and fishing outings. We are expecting our scholarships for programs will need to expand as CTO grows.
We could not do this without your generous support. These outings and camps help kids unplug and connect with nature and God! Without a doubt, we’ve found these kids open up while sitting around the campfire, sharing stories of their day then tying it to a devotion to help them apply God’s Word in their daily lives.
This is an exciting time as we develop more chapters in Texas, which will open the doors for more kids to be mentored through this unique ministry. CTO's vision for 2017 is "Stepping it up" and we need your help in order to serve more kids.
If you’re looking for a charity to support financially, consider donating to CTO Texas. You can give online at www.teamcto.org/texas or mail a donation to CTO Texas, PO Box 1165, Helotes, TX 78023. To get a tax-deductible receipt for 2016, donations must be received or postmarked by Dec. 31, 2016.
Thank you for partnering with us to change the lives of kids. You are a blessing to CTO and a blessing to so many kids!
Have a wonderful and blessed New Year!
A Note from our National Director Mike Johnson:
Awesome, blessed beyond measure, and holiday greetings from the desk of the National Director at Cross Trail Outfitters (CTO). The other night my phone rings and the caller ID said that it was Chase. Naturally, I answer it since Chase is a very good friend of mine. “Hey Mr. Mike, are you going hunting tomorrow?” asked Chase. “Yes I am,” I replied. “How about you?” I asked. He replied “yes” he was hunting also. “Where are you going?” I asked. “I’m thinking about going to Juniper Bay,” answered Chase. “What about your blinds at Gull Shoal?” he asked. I replied, “I haven’t been there to look, but you’re welcome to use them.”
This is a regular conversation that good friends might have during any hunting season. I would like to take a moment to tell you how Chase and I became such close friends. In June 2010, I hosted our very first ever CTO summer camp in North Carolina, and Chase was one of the boys at that camp. Like most of the 13 boys there, Chase was junior high school age. Chase loves to fish, and I love to fish too, and God used that common interest between Chase and myself to start a lifelong relationship. That summer, as the week progressed God also used our common interest of fishing and hunting to cause Chase to trust my spoken words. We had Questions of the Day every morning and spiritually deep campfire discussions every night all centered on a common theme of Jesus Christ. Before the week was over, Chase asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of his life. We now had something else more permanent in common. Oh and by the way, throughout the week 10 more of the 13 boys asked Jesus into their lives as well.
Chase is now a freshman at East Carolina University. Chase volunteers as a guide at our North Carolina summer camps. He is an amazing Christian man now and a dear friend of mine. The relationship that we have is even as strong as that relationship between my own son and myself. There are a lot of Chases in my life now thanks to CTO. There are a lot of Chases in the lives of all the outfitters and guides at CTO across the country.
As you read this letter, relationships like this one are being formed all over the country in many CTO chapters nationwide. This year CTO conducted 16 week‐long summer camps, more than 200 youth hunting/fishing outings, more than 130 sportsmen’s nights, 41 family events, and over 100 bible studies that all contributed to leading the next‐generation to Christ through the outdoors. As God worked through those events, we witnessed 108 kids and 24 adults accept Christ, as true discipleship starts with a relationship and ends with victory.
I want to thank every outfitter, guide, prayer warrior, volunteer, root partner, sponsor, donor, landowner and friend of Cross Trail outfitters. All of you are part of building “Chases” all over the country, and we cannot do it without you. Before we move into 2017, please prayerfully seek where you might fit in to our team. If you are already part of our team consider “Stepping It Up,” as this is our 2017 team vision for the Cross Trail Outfitters. We are looking for more chapters, more outings, more donors, more financial support all adding up to more salvations and an army of strong Christian young men. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the leaders at CTO.
Oh and by the way as I was sitting home typing this letter, Chase called to tell me how his hunt went yesterday.
In his service,
National Director Cross Trail Outfitters