DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
SPICEWOOD — One of the biggest struggles a child who has lost somebody close to him or her faces probably is the feeling of loneliness. After all, who can know what he or she is going through? Who can relate?
One possible group is other children also struggling with similar losses.“Part of the healing process, especially for children, is to know you’re not alone. And one big part is knowing that other children are going through what you are,” said Kim Turk, Camp Agape founder. “One of the things we’ve found is when kids find other kids going through the same thing, it helps them deal with it and process it.”
Camp Agape offers a free summer camp to youth ages 7-12 who have lost a loved one to help them through the bereavement process. Turk said a part of it is the kids knowing there are other youth who can relate to them and understand what they’re experiencing.
The Camp Agape for Children is July 12-15 at the Highland Lakes Camp in Spicewood. It’s free, and there are still openings.
“We’d love to have kids who could use some grief support,” Turk said. “But they have a lot of fun as well.”
Camp Agape is celebrating its 13th year this summer. Turk founded the program in 2000, but the idea first started percolating in her head in 1996. She was watching a primetime news program that featured a youth bereavement program in Delaware. As she watched, Turk felt there needed to be more programs such as the one in Delaware.
Instead of just wishing and waiting for somebody else to do it, Turk took the steps to create one. The first thing she did was call the director of the Delaware bereavement program.
“I just visited with the director and asked about it,” Turk said. When Turk watched the TV news show, she saw that nobody associated with the bereavement program or reporter noted any spiritual or faith connection.
“It turns out they received state and federal funding, so they stayed away from any faith aspect,” Turk said. “But I thought that’s a big piece to be missing because faith and God, that’s something kids can really hold onto when going through such a tough time in their lives.”
Camp Agape is a non-denominational, Christian-based program. The faith element serves as a foundation.
“Christ gives us hope,” Turk said. “And that’s what these kids need, hope.”
Life kept Turk from going much further with a youth bereavement program until 1999, when she simply walked into a lawyer’s office and laid out her idea. In May 2000, Camp Agape landed its nonprofit status.
Turk still had to make it work.
“I thought if it was God’s will, he would pave the way,” she said. “If it was my will, it would simply go away.”
Thirteen years and several hundred children later, Camp Agape is still serving youth. And the need is still there.
“We serve all children who have suffered some kind of loss to death,” Turk said.
Go to www.campagapetexas.org for more information.