Camp hosts kids with parents in prison: 'I'm not the only one'
EUGENE, Ore. - It's the ultimate summer camp, but all the kids share something in common: They each have a parent or guardian in prison.
This is Camp Agape's second year at Camp Harlow in Eugene. Over 180 kids ages 7 to 17 year olds are attending the camp.
It's a free, non-profit Christian camp, but not affiliated with one church. The name means "Camp Love" ("agape" is love in greek).
The camp lasts 4 days, but counselors said it doesn't end there. They keep in contact with the kids and the families.
The Camp Agape movement started with a father who was incarcerated in Hawaii who noticed all the other dads behind bars and felt he had to do something. He started the camp in Hawaii.
David Williams, one of the camp directors, said Oregon and Hawaii are the only two states with the camp. He hopes to have 2-3 more Camp Agapes in Oregon next year.
For a lot of the kids who attend the camp, home life and school are very difficult. They can feel like outcasts, but at the camp they're in a community of kids just like them - who understand them.
"It feels better knowing that I'm not the only one," said Keisha Franklin, 12, whose grandpa is in prison. "It makes me not as much shy as I usually am, like I'm more open to people and tell them more things than I usually did.
"It makes me feel like I have somebody to talk to."