Camp Agapé has been a quiet but steady presence in the woods outside of Fuquay-Varina for over 40 years, impacting the lives of the young and young at heart through its summer camp, environmental education, and retreat programs.
Located at 1369 Tyler Dewar Lane, Camp Agapé is a beautiful place with twelve miles of marked hiking trails on 624 acres of diverse rolling wooded hills that border the Cape Fear River.
Recently, Agapé has committed to extending its reach and becoming a more visible and positive force within the community. Reaching out not only to folks who can make the choice to gather, worship and renew, but purposely looking for ways to extend this opportunity to those whose circumstances do not afford them this luxury.
In response to an overwhelming need for programs that positively impact underprivileged youth in the area, Agapé started its REACH 100! program last year. The goal of
REACH 100! is to provide a fully funded Christian summer camp experience to 100 local children who have absolutely no means to do so on their own. Last spring, Agapé † Kure Beach Ministries’ donors raised over $20,000 within a few short months to enable Agapé to provide residential summer camp programs for 25 children, some of which came from Lincoln Heights, a local elementary school.
Statistics show that resident summer camp experiences improve self-confidence, communication skills, problem solving, and help children learn how to play creatively with others. All of these things impact values and build better leaders in our community. It is Agapé’s desire to be leaders in building a new hope for children in our community.
Camp Agapé believes in the excellence of
a camp experience from food to com-fortable beds and great staff. Their facilities provide a quality camp experience with many of the comforts of home, including some great home cooking.
There is also a strong focus on a small-group style. Each week no more than 50 campers attend on-site programs and cabin groups are designed to be between 5 and 7 campers with a counselor. This small-group style helps counselors identify individual gifts and build a positive and healthy relationship with campers.
Agapé counselors are hand selected, interviewed, background checked and trained for 13 days before campers arrive. Their goal is to get to know their campers, keep them safe, and send them home having learned something about their own gifts as a Child of God. Counselors are with their campers 24 hours a day from Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon.
A vital part of Agapé’s summer camp program are the “Seven Major Goals” the counselors work to fulfill with each campers during their stay.
Agapé believes that every camper deserves:
A camp experience where their self-value is built up
The opportunity to be around well trained, positive role models (counselors)
A safe place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually
The joy of learning an appreciation for and understanding of the gifts of God’s Creation
An opportunity to discover their own leadership gifts
A place that values the power of music as a way to learn and grow
To have FUN!
Agapé’s goal is to work in partnership with the community, businesses and families to bring a dynamic relationship focused camp experience to all children. This year Agapé is excited to welcome three other partners into the REACH 100! community circle. The Ministry Team at Bob Barker Company, FACES (Family and Community Empowerment Services) and Lincoln Heights Elementary.
The Ministry Team at Bob Barker Company has committed to sponsor a camper and to challenge other businesses in the Fuquay area to do so as well. The BBC Ministry Team recently spent an entire business workday at Camp Agape and said, “We found ourselves totally engaged in the beauty and serenity of this place. We saw first-hand how young boys and girls attending the camp would be blessed with life skills and emotional needs. Bob Barker Company is proud to align itself with other businesses in our community to finance under-privileged youth to attend Camp Agape this summer.”
FACES (Family and Community Empowerment Services) a local 501C3 corporation that has been serving the men, women and children of Fuquay-Varina since 1964, helping to empower local families to live successful, stable lives by assisting them through financial difficulties, has also pledged to support the REACH 100! program. The board, volunteers and employees say they are thrilled to be a part of the circle of community organizations and businesses helping to send these kids to camp.
Lincoln Heights’, Jacqueline Fuentes, is Agape’s third REACH 100! partner. As one of the school’s social workers, Mrs. Fuentes’ input and guidance have been critical to the program. Mrs. Fuentes recommends and then assists students “in transition” through the camp registration process. Mrs. Fuentes shares that:
Mrs. Fuentes shared some of the Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children National Child Traumatic Stress Network www.NCTSNet.org
Homeless children are sick at twice the rate of other children. They suffer twice as many ear infections, have four times the rate of asthma, and have five times more diarrhea and stomach problems.
Homeless children go hungry twice as often as nonhomeless children.
More than one-fifth of homeless preschoolers have emotional problems serious enough to require professional care, but less than one-third receive
Homeless children are twice as likely to repeat a
grade compared to nonhomeless children.
Homeless children have twice the rate of learning disabilities and three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems of nonhomeless children.
Half of school-age homeless children experience anxiety, depression, or withdrawal compared to 18 percent of nonhomeless children.
By the time homeless children are eight years old, one in three has a major mental disorder.
These are not only challenges in themselves but may act as “secondary adversities,” putting a child at greater risk for trauma reactions and making recovery difficult.
Mrs. Fuentes states, “I think this information is important in recognizing why having such an amazing camp experience that allows children to detach from this trauma is so important. I have the pleasure of working closely with many students in transition and I get to see how resilient they are. I am always amazed at their ability to compartmentalize their stress and still enjoy their lives. There were several students last year that attended Camp Agape that were truly so grateful for going. Students described how great the meals were, activities, staff and overall experience. Many students asked if they could go back again. These students spoke about their experience with their friends, their teachers and their parents were so appreciative as well. The chance to have such a positive camp experience and to have a break from the ongoing stress that these children endure allows them to see a different perspective of the world… which I believe is how change occurs. Imagine if 100 lives could have this experience.”
Agapé † Kure Beach Ministries’ dream for “Reach 100” is to share the great gifts we have to offer side by side with hundreds of other campers. We pray for campers of all backgrounds to play, laugh, sing, swim, worship and learn in the same space.