Kind words from a proud parent

Today, we’d like to share with you a wonderful email we received from the mother of a recent JLP participant. Words can’t describe how incredibly proud we are of her son, Jack and how grateful we are to be a part of his journey.



Dear Matthew, Troy and Glenn,

My son Jack recently completed the Veteran Mentors camp in QLD and last weekend we attended the Reconnection weekend in Mount Barney. I wanted to take a few minutes to write to you all to express my gratitude. We are nowhere near through the woods with Jack but your camps have been an integral part of a shift in Jack’s attitude and outlook. The hard work is just beginning.

A couple of months ago when I made that initial phone call to the beautiful Lynette, I was in dire straits and didn’t know who to turn to. I was rock bottom. A follow-up call with you Matthew and the process began.

As you know, the strategy I used to get Jack to the camp was not straightforward (a downright stealth mission) and I almost looked at it as an intervention to save his life. Thank God I got him there that morning with the amazing help from Lance, Sammy and also a chat with you Matthew.

So what has changed since that morning almost a month ago? The answer is a lot. Jack has a fire in his belly that I haven’t seen in months. We are communicating more effectively and I can see glimmers of compassion and understanding which is not always common in a 16-year-old boy.

Jack has not touched drugs in over a month and is attending school daily. His passion for boxing has been reignited thanks to the wonderful Dave who has seen his passion and talent and has taken him under his wing. Most importantly is this community of strong and amazing role models who have rallied around Jack and I following the camp.

I am beyond grateful for the support and care that has continued to flow from your team over this past month. I am completely aware that it is done on their own backs, without extra re numeration and simply comes from the love of what they do and their big hearts.

I wanted to give mention to a few of your team that are especially important to Jack and I. I have mentioned Dave who is a complete legend and has carved out time to box with Jack and I have been so impressed with the level of care and responsibility he shows to Jack. He has been meeting Jack twice weekly since camp finishes.

Lance- wow what an amazing man. Jack completely respects Lance and I have been so impressed with the time and effort he has put into Jack’s journey and continues to do so. He has started boxing with Jack twice a week and even kicked his arse for me this week after some difficulties. He talked me down on the mountain at Mount Barney when Jack and I had some shaky moments and helped Jack and I communicate more effectively. He also turned up to support Jack at his court case in Tweed Heads and took the time to write a letter for Jack. I am in awe of the support and understanding Lance continues to show Jack and myself.

Russell- another incredible guy.  He also turned up to support Jack at court and has been on endless phone calls with me since the completion of camp. He is passionate about helping Jack and it shows in every conversation.

Craig also turned up to court and has asked Jack to go surfing with him when we return to Kingscliff. Also a big thank you to Sammy for coordinating the stealth abduction at the airport mission.  Finally to Lynette, Troy and Tex for the awesome parenting workshop.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of getting to know Ian who will be working with Jack privately and also Troy who has a wealth of knowledge and compassion and understanding in bucket loads. Thank you for putting up with a novice camper like me!

I am so touched by all of the beautiful humans in your team. To be honest, I expected Jack to attend the camp and to never hear from you all again. How wrong I was!! What we have come away with is a community and a tribe of people who really care about our family and understand the potential that Jack has and also the trauma that he carries.

Having been a single mother for the past 5 years since Jack’s father passed I have been searching for positive male role models to fill that void for Jack. I am always the loving and nurturing mother and sometimes fall short on the discipline and strength. What VM has taught me is that even though they do need both, sometimes you need to ask for help. I feel completely backed and supported by the team at VM.

It truly does take a village and I hope the VM team is part of our journey for many years to come.  I have already recommended this program to friends and will continue to do so. I cannot recommend this program highly enough. It has changed our lives in ways I cannot even describe. I cannot wait to attend another Reconnection retreat with Jack. (Next time I will inflate my self-inflatable mattress on the first night, not the second.

Thank you again for giving me hope that we can make it through these challenging times and help shape Jack into the amazing young man I know he can be. As I talked about on camp, my wish for him is that his trauma and grief become his superpowers as yours have, and that he grows to be a more compassionate, determined and caring young man because of his own battles and demons. You guys are simply the best.

Warm regards,


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