xt/javascript" src="static/js/analytics.js"> Ready to raise the roof



Ready to raise the roof

Editor, Naples Daily News:

This summer my husband had expected to donate Crane Rental time to the Gulf Coast Skimmers, on the building to house the equipment, but most important, locker rooms for the youth.

To our dismay, instead of building, John Gursoy is having to use funds to defend his religious beliefs, rules and regulations that govern the water-ski program.

May I point out that it was through John's hard work, determination and pursuing sponsors that a program designed for youth even exists. Not only is it a program, it is a youth ministry.

Through this program youth learn valuable life skills, such as teamwork, hard work, following rules and regulations, accountability and respect. But the most important lesson is the value each of us has in God's eyes. What is wrong with that?

We live in violent times, parents. The sanctity of human life is becoming non-existent.

John, his wife and staff have successfully demonstrated their passion for youth by giving of themselves. It is no secret they live out their faith in God. Yes, there is Bible and prayer. What is wrong with that?

And yes, there are rules and regulations to be followed, and consequences if they are ignored.

This is life; it doesn't hurt to learn it early.

Let's open our eyes and see what the Gulf Coast Skimmers group has meant to some youth - a chance to belong and channel their energies to something positive and productive.

-- Wendy Abbott/Naples

A vote for Gursoy

Editor, Naples Daily News:

Five years ago vacationing on Marco Island, I was told of a water ski show in Naples.

What I saw was a group of well-trained and organized kids having fun. After the show John Gursoy shared with me his vision of a park and how he planned to help the children in the neighborhood. He spoke of the challenges and how he is trying to give them a sense of purpose, direction and build their self-esteem.

During my yearly visits I have been very impressed with how John guided them with a clear sense of direction and values. Their response was evident in their dedication and eagerness.

Every year I look forward to seeing the progress made at the lake. It has been encouraging to watch some of the kids mature and fill leadership roles. It's amazing what one man with a vision can accomplish.

I am surprised to read about the attacks by "Little League parents," park rangers and efforts to remove the Christian values. I hope the people of Collier County can see through this and support John Gursoy.

I have read that John Gursoy is considering a run for county commissioner. With his dedication to youth he'd make a wonderful choice. I wish I could vote for John Gursoy if he runs for county commissioner. I might have to consider moving here.

-- Tom Hyde/Marco Island and Pennsylvania

Niche found for daughter

Editor, Naples Daily News:

I have a 14-year-old daughter who has been in special education all her life. She participated in Special Olympics for a few years, but I wanted to find a program that would put her in the mainstream of life.

I finally found her niche in the Gulf Coast Skimmers. Putting her in their youth outreach program has boosted her self esteem to a new level. She is now in the show and is even reaching out to some of the other kids who are new. I get tears in my eyes often when I see my daughter skiing around the lake - the daughter who has had heart surgery and who has a learning disability ... the daughter who we didn't think would even live to see the age of 5.

My daughter has matured and grown so much through her involvement in the Skimmers.

This split against John Gursoy reminds me of a church split when members find fault with some of the guidelines of the leadership, so they set out to have him removed. I am saddened to see these leaders and teachers stooping to the levels that I have been witness to. If they don't like the way this program is run then they need to get out and find some other avenue to ski.

We need to teach our children the importance of respecting those in authority over us because no matter who we are, there is someone we are accountable to. I would say to these other people: Please stop this craziness and let these youngsters ski in peace.

-- Debbie Schneider/Naples

Standards and rules

Editor, Naples Daily News:

As a member of this community I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Gursoy, president of the Gulf Coast Skimmers, for his dedication to our community and our youth.

Our youth are our future community members and leaders. We need our future community members and leaders to have good morals and integrity. These are learned behaviors. They are learned through example and genuine love.

I also appreciate that John has set standards and rules for the participants of the Skimmers. Contrary to some viewpoints, rules and boundaries make life safer and more secure for everyone. Learning to obey rules and standards teach our youth respect and personal integrity.

In this generation of searching youth, we need organizations like the one John Gursoy organized. Instead of drugs, crime and gangs, our youth now have leaders who love them and want to guide them in a positive direction through life-changing truth they will be able to apply to the rest of their lives.

These learned morals and standards will build stronger families, and that's how we build stronger communities for our future.

Thank you, John, for all of your hard work and sacrifices. God bless you.

Tracie L. Sitkins/Bonita Springs


Beverly Street/Bonita Springs

Editors, Naples Daily News:

The Article in the NDN July 16th 1999, The battle and the Skimmers, by Jason Trochessett, was a very positive and enlightening testament to the very positive program dedicated to the ideals which led to the creation of the Gulf Coast Skimmers and the contribution to helping at-risk youth in your community. This program is for youth that do not fit into the traditional sports programs and many times it addresses the needs of those who just have the feeling of not fitting in at all. Let’s not forget Columbine and similar events that are happening to the youth in this country because they don’t fit in. This dear Editors is the reason this group was formed. This group welcomes everyone and anyone. It is not the vehicle for the glorification of a few self-chosen people who want to become the "star" of the show. In this organization all the participants earn the privilege to perform in the show. Self-serving groups can destroy the concept and purpose of this group. Let’s keep the positive influence on our youth. This is not a soccer-mom or little league organization where the parents scream at the coach and want their kid in the spotlight while all the others sit on the bench because these kids just aren’t good enough to score the winning points.



Beverly Street/Bonita Springs

Leave it to Beaver

Editor, Naples Daily News:

In his letter to the editor, Tony Beaver accuses John Gursoy unfairly of abuse of his leadership as president of the Gulf Coast Skimmers. Last week Beaver, on the Rich King radio show, said he was willing to get together and negotiate for a possible solution of this long, dragged out dispute. What happened? Why do these people still like to pollute the issues?

This matter is going to be solved by the judicial system in the very near future. If the opposing Gulf Coast Skimmers think with their aggressiveness they will influence the outcome of the court's decision, either they must know nothing about the judicial system of this nation or they are getting very bad advice.

The Gulf Coast Skimmers organization was John's brainchild. He brought it to fruition to benefit the deserving kids and families, but the joy has been taken out of it by the ongoing interference. I believe the program should be conducted by an experienced leader - namely John Gursoy who has proven his accomplishments with honesty and dignity.

Henrietta DeYoung/Naples

John's club

Editor, Naples Daily News:

I was surprised to read about the Gulf Coast Skimmers being in turmoil.

I was involved with them before moving to Bradenton. John Gursoy ran a tight ship, but considering the mission, it was understandable. There are a lot of people who should be thankful to John for turning their lives around with his ski show.

Don't get me wrong. John is not perfect and sometimes he put "the show" ahead of the kids he was trying to help.

But, consider this: At one time, the Skimmers had no boats. John used his personal boat. They had no skis, but John convinced the audience to donate for equipment.

Gas? Ski boats use a lot!

The Skimmers don't have a lake because someone asked John to take it, but because John convinced philanthropists to purchase it. Who convinced the county to build that beautiful amphitheater? Who convinced local businessmen to donate boats and Jet Skis?

Few are aware of the personal and professional sacrifices that John went through to transform the neighborhood kids into an almost professional ski club.

Those of you who tried to "vote" John out of the group, shame on you.

Legal action - a disgrace.

The Skimmers is a great group of adults and kids, but without John, they would be nothing.

If you don't like the Skimmers' rules, leave. If you don't have a boat or lake, do what John did - work for it!

The Skimmers is John's club. If you can do better, go start your own!

Richard Kreisel/Bradenton

Follow him, rules or get out

Editor, Naples Daily News:

John Gursoy's views of the Bible are anything but narrow!

As the child prodigy of world-class professional figure skaters, I am all too familiar with the politics of "athletic clubs and organizations."

Behind it there is always one person who had a dream, a goal that became a reality. In John's case it became a reality born out of a desperate need for our youth in Collier County to have some direction.

The solution here is astonishingly simple.

For anyone who won't follow the rules, start your own club, make your own rules, purchase your own equipment, produce your own marketing ideas, raise your own "club" funds and I guarantee you that you will in turn have sleepless nights trying to figure out where, what, how and when. Plus, more nights working late to make this project come to fruition for our children.

Rules: nobody likes them. Our prisons are crowded because people lack the skills needed to follow rules.

For God's sake our children are shooting each other. Why? No rules, no structure in their lives.

A sheriff's captain says Gursoy "is trying to drag us into this," referring to 10 filed complaints. That is called "following the rules."

Anytime there is a disturbance or potential for danger one should call the Sheriff's Office. Repeatedly, if necessary. God does not discriminate against certain religions any more than John Gursoy does. Find a valid complaint.

Louise J. Hansel/Naples

All about God

Editor, Naples Daily News:

After being involved in the Gulfcoast Skimmers for nearly a year and watching the group wade through recent court hearings and other struggles, I have come to realize an important factor in the organization's strength and stamina. This factor has compelled me to write this letter. This factor is God. God has sustained the group and has kept it alive during its troubled times. God has placed his will for the Skimmers on the heart of its leaders.

The Skimmers' focus is on teaching the children and teens in the group traditional Christian family values. The Skimmers is a ministry tool that God has and will continue to use for His glory. Not only has the community been blessed by the Skimmers' presence, the members of the group have also been ministered to and blessed.

John Gorse, the president of the group, has an especially keen heart for ministering to the members of the group. Every chance he gets, he counsels the young skiers in life's issues and shows them the love of Jesus.

I believe that no matter what trouble man will bring against the group, God is in control and He will uphold the group according to His will.

Klint Van Tassel/Naples