A Personal Post of Gratitude from Joell Dunlap

Autism Family Adventure Camp 2013 is behind us.  There are still dishes to be washed and tents to fold, and the poison oak rashes will continue to rise for a few days.

But our hearts are full of gratitude. I can only speak for myself, to say that there was more magic in this gathering than I can wrap my head around.

A few special call-outs of gratitude:

9315253901_5f6e0836ea_cTo the Kastl Family who worked so hard to build the site.  I thought that I was a hard worker, but you guys put me to shame in your hours, your efforts, your dedication and your results.  The site was beautiful and offered our families the peace of nature and quiet.  We are so grateful.


To all of the folks who donated to the campsite fund – I hope that you take a minute to look at the photos and see what you helped to create.  This campsite you helped create will serve families for years to come.


To our families – who ventured into the unknown with us.  Who braved the discomfort of camping and living as a tribe with people you didn’t know well.  For trusting us with your children on the horses, in the lake, at the beach and by the fire.  Your trust means everything to us and we are honored by it.


To the best staff and volunteers in the world:  Your enthusiasm, your flexibility, the sheer hours you put in to pull this off, your hard work and your laughter are the real magic of camp.  From the bottom  of my heart, Thank You.


To the HMB Surf Club – Wow.  Just Wow.  Rocky, your kids rock.  But you don’t need me to tell you that.  I hope that these photos remind you all how fantastic and special you and the kids are.

photo by Christina Guzman


To our friends at Horse Boy and Indo Jax Surf Charities – your guidance and your love were central to our efforts and even if you weren’t there on site, we knew you were with us there in spirit.


Nick Guzman www.nguzman.com

To Nick Guzman – your music filled the campsite with harmony, rhythm and most importantly; love.  You have a gift and we are so grateful that you shared it with us. Nick’s mom Christina posted her beautiful photos of camp on Facebook.  You can see them here: https://www.facebook.com/Christinna/media_set?set=a.10151638941071588.1073741856.610391587&type=1


To our beloved horses – your generosity to care for us all gets me through the hard times.  I spend a moment every single day thinking about how lucky I am that each and every one of the 18 of you is such a gift to this world.

Square Peg’s Mach is a Rockstar! Photo by Christina Guzman


To Lydia Puhak who braved the wet and the cold to bring yoga to our site.  Thank you for your patience and your smile.  We hope you enjoyed your little taste of Square Peg medicine ;-)


And finally, to my darling husband Darius Dunlap.  Not just for the amazing food and cooking and clean up and BBQ fixing and and and – but mostly for being with me through these crazy adventures I keep dragging you into.  You always amaze me with your smile and your capability.  And when it’s all over, you are there for me with a cold beer and a foot rub.  I love you dearly.


I bow my head in humble gratitude to you all.


photo link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dariusdunlap/sets/72157634994064222/



2 Replies to “A Personal Post of Gratitude from Joell Dunlap”

  1. Dear Joell,Darius,& Volunteers,
    I had a great time camping,surfing,and horse back riding.Thank you for all the great food & everything. This was a great camping trip.
    Renzo & Family

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