Taylor was a young man who lived out his faith, dedicated to his family and friends. He, his mom Toni, and his dad Tim, lived in Alpharetta, GA having been active members of North Point Community Church. Throughout Taylor's life he pursued serving others through missions at home and abroad. He was a dedicated leader of a middle school group and mentored young men during their most important formative years. He was an Eagle Scout. He loved the outdoors and high adventure including fishing, snowboarding, scuba diving, boating, and wake boarding. Taylor loved sports and was a skilled wrestler. Taylor's faith led him to be baptized on a mission trip with his family when he was 12. Taylor unfortunately left us much too soon on September 6, 2016, at 23 years old. Taylor was involved in a fatal car accident which claimed his life on his way from his job in Alpharetta to a work project in North Carolina. His beloved dog Axle lives with Taylor's parents and brings great joy to those who know him!
When Taylor passed away, one thing his parents held on to was that nothing was left unsaid between them. Taylor knew he was fully and completely loved by them, and they knew he loved them, by his words and actions in life. From that, the phrase "nothing left unsaid" was coined by the Stricklands to encourage us all to take any opportunity to say what needs to be said to others.
You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Christ in the Smokies
Christ in the Rockies
TO MAKE A DONATION, MAKE PAYABLE TO:
Christ in the Smokies
and mail to:
Taylor Strickland Legacy Foundation
2555 Milford Lane
Alpharetta, GA 30009
or go to Christinthesmokies.org
In order to honor Taylor and to remember his legacy of faith, love of family and others, the Stricklands and close family friends desire to bless a father and son with a trip to Christ in the Smokies from June 13-17, 2021 The purpose for annual scholarships is to remember Taylor-- to continue his legacy of Christian faith and service, to encourage the development of faith in young men, understand manhood from God’s perspective, and to deepen not only their relationship with their Heavenly Father, but with their earthly Father as well. It had always been Taylor’s father’s greatest priority to hold deep and abiding ties with his son, and to grow him into the man God created him to be. Attending Christ in the Rockies in the summer of 2015 was one of the many important times they shared together. This summer Christ in the Rockies was replicated in Highlands, NC and appropriately called Christ in the Smokies. During Taylor’s short time on earth, he made a big impact on other’s lives because of the core values he held dear. Scholarships for 2021 camp are a way of continuing that impact with future generations of young men and their fathers.
Interested in applying for a scholarship
to attend Christ in the Smokies?
Please identify someone who can nominate you for this experience, and ask that person to fill out the nomination form below.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about Christ in the Smokies retreat go to Christinthesmokies.org
In 2017, the first year of awarding scholarships through Taylor's foundation there was such an outpouring of compassion, and belief in how God planned to use Taylor's life that 3 father and son teams were sent to and participated in Christ in the Rockies.
2018 saw great excitement as we readied to fund father son teams to the inaugural year of Christ in the Smokies. Six scholarships were awarded to Christ in the Smokies and 1 scholarship was awarded to Christ in the Rockies. Lives were changed as God peeled back the veil for a glimpse of His very perfect and grace filled plan.
As we approached 2019, the 3rd year of giving scholarships away in Taylor’s name, nominations began coming in from across the country. That in of itself was exciting as we realized word was spreading. The experience of gifting a father and son, a trip to Christ in the Smokies allows us to keep introducing Taylor to new people. Talking about him, sharing who he was and how he impacted the world, helps those of us left behind to find comfort and thrive while remaining eternally connected to him. We all struggle to cope with life after loss; however, these experiences are generating love and hope beyond what we could ever have imagined.
When COVID-19 came to the U.S. and changed life, we wondered what opportunities would be available to continue Taylor's legacy and the ways in which God had been using his life. While so many things were shut down, Christ in the Smokies got the go ahead from the facility where it holds camps for June 2020. What was also exciting about this was that fathers and sons were more eager than ever to "get away", "go away together" and "have an adventure", and so while there is a "new normal", there is no "NEW" to God. He had a plan and it would not be thwarted. TSLF was able to send a great group of fathers and sons away for a week they won't soon forget.....if ever!
David and his son Preston attended Christ in the Rockies, in Colorado in July 2017. Preston shared that it was a "wonderful trip this summer that was truly something my father and I will never forget. We learned a lot together and he and I will hold that trip and those memories very close in our hearts."
Wade and his son Bennett participated in Christ in the Rockies, in Colorado in June 2017. Bennett was nominated for this trip by his church small group leader because of his pursuit of relationship with God, leadership qualities, service to community, love of the outdoors and strong values.
Blaise attended Christ in the Rockies in Colorado in June 2017, with his father Scott. Blaise and Scott said their experience was life changing, fulfilling their expectations for a Father-Son adventure.
My son Tyler heard Tim speak about Christ in the Smokies at Northpoint Church, brought the brochure home, and said to his mom, ”I want to do this with Dad”. His mom and I divorced when he was very young and I was not as involved with him as he needed me to be early in his life. In the past several years, we have spent more time together and I have become more involved, but there was always a desire on both our parts to build a deeper relationship. So now at 18, he invited me to attend this retreat and I am so glad he did and so very grateful that Taylor’s foundation provided a way for us to go. This was a real bonding time for Tyler and me. We learned more about each other in one short week than we have in years. All the vital elements were there: discovery, learning, adventure, challenge and fellowship with other fathers and sons. We learned solid principles that serve to equip and grow us in the journey of manhood, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Smoky Mountains. I would tell every father and son to come to Christ in the Smokies and experience a new level of closeness in your relationship.
Christ In The Smokies provided my son and me an opportunity to be together, experience great adventures together and share words of love and life and blessing that we would not say in normal day life and living. Thank you Stricklands and Team for creating the perfect environment for fathers and sons to connect at the deepest of levels. It will NEVER be forgotten.
Prior to attending, besides my desire for Grayson to reconnect w Christ and a strong desire to present him with his Blessing at 25, we both went into this trip with y’alls motto of leaving Nothing unsaid… and for 4 1/2 days and nights we did just that. This resonated with Grayson and I… words can truly never adequately describe the feeling or moments in time last week, especially during the blessing, hiking/river trip talks, and passage to manhood ceremony, it’s a special GIFT that Grayson and I are tremendously grateful for and truly wish every dad and son could experience.
Bailey shared that "CITS has changed our relationship. It has brought us closer through the deep, meaningful father-son discussions" while Mitchell shared that it was "Incredibly impactful to my relationships with both my earthly Father and heavenly Father. Gave me an entire new perspective on where to go in life, from this point on."
This is a MUST do for fathers and their sons who are entering adulthood. Christ in the Smokies offered a unique and compelling combination of adventure, father/son growth time, and fellowship with men. This was one of the defining moments for my relationship with Drew and one we will never forget. The agenda was just right - not too packed, but with great content and activities. Thank you to Tim and Toni and the entire CITS team for an incredible experience!
Soul feeding. Jack and I were already really close but this really enhanced and accelerated our love for each other.
Attending Christ in the Rockies, Ethan said "the week was a time of re-evaluating and re-centering my life and focus". Scott felt blessed by the camp and having an amazing time with his son.
Sebastian describes Christ in the Smokies teaching as “Breaking the chains of apprehension that societal masculinity teaches, to make a man through vulnerability & authenticity".
Evan said , “I came up (to Christ in the Smokies) not knowing what to expect. I came up with open hands. The first night we had immediate authenticity. That was the hook for me. It was worth it because it was real. A lot of truth was communicated. We had a fun time. We grew. It reinforced so many truths we may gloss over.”
After attending Christ in the Smokies, Andrew shared "It was a great unexpected bonding with my father on what it means to be a man."
Daniel noted the challenges that men face. "Men do not want to be vulnerable. Not good at sharing their feelings. They don’t know how to do it, showing weakness and failure. Dad’s struggle to do that with their sons." For he and Andrew it was "an absolutely fantastic week with my son. It gave Andrew and I time to think deeper about some issues."
During their time together at Christ in the Smokies, Mike said "To share our feelings with one another and to know – that life is hard – entering manhood we are walking side by side now as we serve our Father and to not be afraid to ask any questions….there’s something about a community of men, and the two of us are a community of men."
Chris called his time at Christ in the Smokies "An incredible meaningful time to focus on being a better father and husband. It has changed me to live a meaningful life with others and Christ." As significantly Brock shared that it was "A life changing experience that taught me how to be a leader and growing my relationship with my father and God. It gives me incentive to not fall back in to sin."
As a young man Aiden embraced the time at Christ in the Smokies, declaring, "The blessing from my dad really impacted me. I wanted to know 'what does he think of me'. I wanted to hear my dad say that 'you’ve got what it takes'. Ari enjoyed that "Everything was intentional, relational and Christ centered with the backdrop of outdoor adventure."
Trip brought his younger son to Christ in the Smokies. He said that he experienced a "transition to be more intentional about everything I do. As a husband, as a father and as a leader in the environments where I have an opportunity to be a leader". During the week Cameron had his "eyes open to a lot of what my purpose should be and really what I should be doing."
During their week together at CITS, Todd commented that it can be "hard as men to find a place where you feel safe. Where you don't have to strive or perform or hide. To be able to experience that with men is a win, but to be able to experience it with your son is life changing and unforgettable. Carter candidly shared that he originally wasn't all in for a father son retreat, but day 2 he had a "wow" moment, "it changed" and he realized that he "needed it".
One of the big take aways, from the week at CITS, for Bill was "in the spirit of Taylor, and Toni, and Tim nothing is left unsaid. If I were to leave this earth today and slip off that mountain, you know where you and I are right?" He asked his son, Will. Will affirmed that was true and that "having the opportunity to leave nothing unsaid, especially with your dad" was key because "guys aren't going to be very emotional and very open with their dad" but this time away provided that circumstance.
About his experience at CITS, son, Cole, said "expect the unexpected. I thought it was going to be mushy. We're going to be real close to our dads. Then we get here and it's a just a bunch of people being straight up from the jump. They don't start off walking you into it. They make you sprint, and it's just something you can't prepare for. I guess it's in a way like manhood. You're not ready for it, it just happens, and you have to learn how to adjust. You can't do it alone. That's why it felt real nice being able to come here and speak with other people and listen to them."
Last year when John brought his oldest son to CITS, he was convicted to bringing his youngest this year, and he did. Losing his father at age 10 has spurred John on to be the best father he can be to his sons. Esteban, felt out of his comfort zone attending camp, but recognized he has a father who is eager to spend time with him, and leaves CITS happy they have shared this experience.
Preston and some of the other sons at CITS this summer, admitted that when their fathers had first brought up the idea of attending, they were less than committed. "A father-son retreat with a few random strangers", but they ultimately concluded it was a "pretty beautiful thing. We've got some good friends and everyone clicked well" Preston advised "come in with an open heart and attitude", while David acknowledged that the focus on Jesus washed all the anxiety away
Vulnerability is a common thing heard over and over by fathers and sons who attend CITS. Matt and Grayson have always had a strong bond, but mentioned that the opportunity to have this one on one time was overdue and impactful. They refined and opened lines of communication, letting their guard down without the distraction of everyday life. Grayson said he and his dad had some good times set aside to talk, and "I'm very grateful for that".
Isidro and Chris attended CITS as mentor/friends. Isidro had already been in Chris' life when he lost his dad at 14, and so this was a special time for them in their relationship. Isidro said "I was making sure that he had the same experience the other young men had and wasn't robbed of having a true breakout as a man and that experience that he's entitled to. Chris appreciated the intentionality of time to be open with no barriers and share in hard conversations that continue growing who he is becoming as a man.
2555 Milford Lane, Alpharetta, GA 30009