Valor Adventures 08: The Heist
Our first adventure of 2020 was off to a great start. The year was fresh, our ideas aplenty, and everyone’s energy was ripe for adventure.
The first adventure of the year always has a sort of special spark to it. We've all enjoyed the cozy season and the delights it brings with it, but we are ready to be together, ready for adventure, ready to stretch our legs, and ready for a new beginning. This adventure was special in its own right. For the first time, our adventure was held on a military base—one that many of our families lived on, had memories with, and enjoyed life as a family on. We were honored to be sponsored by the 1st Marine Regiment on Camp Pendleton, which we later came to know was the specific regiment one of our fallen fathers served with.
For this adventure, we called on our Gold Star community for a very particular mission: retrieving stolen gems taken during “the heist” and returning them to their rightful owner. We had intercepted communications from a local thief about the whereabouts of these gems and realized that our veteran mentors and Gold Star kids would have to be as cunning and strategic as the thieves were if they ever wanted to see these gems again. Racing against the clock, our dynamic duos had to decipher puzzles, solve clues, unscramble messages, and learn a bit of morse code in order to gain the location of their target. Unfortunately, the thieves had done their best to guard their precious loot, and had set up an elaborate laser system to guard their gems. This was no problem for our teams, as they nimbly made their way across, under, over, and around these deadly lasers, gingerly landing safely on the proper side. Each team was responsible for returning their targeted gemstone. With an array of 10 different treasured gems, this was no small feat, let alone with roving guards waiting for them!
Sponsored by our friends at Viktos, an amazing veteran owned company that designs and develops tactical gear, our veteran mentors were all outfitted with a Kadre backpack. This backpack was created to be the ultimate go-bag, with room to carry days worth of gear, sports modular mounting options, and presents a low-vis appearance for urban carry as well. This backpack not only made the mission easier for our veterans, it allowed them to keep all necessary adventure items on themselves, while keeping their hands free to do the mission at hand. Most importantly, this backpack was designed with comfort in mind, including padded shoulder straps, which is a necessity as most mentors end up carrying their mentee’s gear as well as their own. This was the first introduction to Viktos for many of our veterans and we were delighted to introduce them to such a caring and quality company.
After a full day in the sun, everyone settled down for a joyous meal together provided by the incredible Off the Vine Catering company. Their incredible chefs marinated the chicken in a homemade Syrah BBQ sauce for days, took careful notice in creating the perfect summer menu, and offered a little taste of southern hospitality for all of our participants. You can almost feel the joy radiating through the air in the moments after an adventure. We become a family. We share food together. We share laughter together. We share terrible dad jokes together. And we share a bond that goes far beyond our personal experiences. Although our year has been drastically changed so far, we feel so blessed to have been able to experience this adventure together. We hope this video will bring back the fondest memories and the biggest smiles. We’re already looking forward to next time we can be together!