“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 KJV
This scripture is what inspires Captain Mark Joost to give up his time, finances and energy in order to serve children in Madison County. He says the intent of his Youth Adventure Camp program was created with the intent “to give kids a vision and hope for their future while teaching them some basic life skills.”
In the 22 out of 25 years Joost worked as an investigator and Chief at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, he witnessed kids as victims of violent crimes and had come to look at them as “collateral damage,” which he feels is due to the break down of today’s families. When his job led him to two nine-year-old children from Tallahassee who committed suicide, he decided it was time for him to stop witnessing and become involved and began formulating a way he could make a positive impact in children’s lives.
After soliciting the help of Sheriff Ben Stewart, Joost moved forward with his vision, funding his youth camp with sales from the concealed carry classes and personal defense training he teaches on the first of every month. The Youth Adventure Camp is now in its third year. This summer, Joost had the opportunity to work with around 30 boys and girls from the community.
Joost plans structure and discipline in his faith-based teachings and all days include devotionals. Activities may vary depending on what may be offered each summer, but some of the programs this year included defensive tactics, rope climbing, gun safety, library programs and learning how to process fingerprints at the Sheriff’s Office.
Not all children who attend the camp are victims. Some of the kids just needed something positive to do for the summer and Joost’s camp met those requirements. Joost is thankful for those in the community who have helped the camp become a success and intends to continue his vision next year. If you are interested in helping Joost with his ongoing mission in making a difference in the lives of Madison youth, contact Captain Mark Joost at (850) 519-0947.