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Camp for children of fallen soldiers receives check

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The Ellis County Press

FERRIS – Camp Agape is a 700-acre ranch filled with activities for the children of fallen soldiers, and its partnership with The Ellis County Press garnered a couple of checks for the facility based south of Austin.

Camp Agape started in 2001 and has grown from six young people ages 7 to 12 to over 100 now, according to founder and director Kim Turk, who was on hand last week to accept checks from publisher Charles Hatfield Jr. in the amount of $567 for the Press and $303 for the Red Oak Record, a sister publication.

The paper’s new sub scri ptions award a portion of the proceeds to Camp Agape (more information: campagapetexas.org.)

Involved with grief therapy performed by licensed counselors and social workers, the camp staff are all volunteers. Turk said some Press subscribers sent in more money after signing up for sub scri ptions.

"One [reader] in Italy sent in $100," said Turk, who also handles stay-at-home mom duties.

From Thursday through Monday, campers participate in numerous activities designed to "make them laugh again," Turk said, describing how some young people would be afraid to laugh for fear it would disrespect their loved ones.

"We want to show them that it’s okay for them to laugh, to play again," she said. "This camp truly has an effect on [the volunteers and the kids]."

Young people can be sponsored for $200 through the camp’s Web site; Turk estimates that it costs about $500 per camper for the food, activities and the facility usage.

"Everything we do is centered around fun," Turk said, who also added that it was a spiritual calling to start the camp. "These kids have an effect on us, and it is truly the most God-directed [movement] I’ve seen.

"It truly changes you."

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