- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

GRANBURY, Texas (AP) - As an adolescent, Vicente Ocura didn’t really know how to process losing several family members within four years: grandparents to illnesses, his teenage cousin to murder and his newborn brother to a birth complication.

“When you’re dealing with death, it’s one thing when there’s only one,” said his father, Juan Ocura. “But when you come to the second one, the third, the fourth, the fifth, it becomes a burden on you because you don’t know how to react.”

The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1pIEGIZ ) reports Vicente Ocura suppressed the sadness, the confusion.

But the 16-year-old’s emotions caught up with him when he, his sister and his uncle started attending Camp El Tesoro de la Vida, a weeklong summer camp for youngsters between ages 6 and 17 who have dealt with a death in the family.

El Tesoro de la Vida, which means “the treasure of life,” is on 232 acres in Granbury. It is run by Camp Fire First Texas, a youth developmental agency in North Texas.

Participants go through the traditional camp activities, including hiking, swimming and canoeing, and an hour of group therapy every day. The therapy addresses causes of death from prolonged illnesses to crimes.

“Our ultimate goal is for a child to know that he or she is a kid first and a griever second,” camp director Denis Cranford said. “They don’t have to be anyone’s big sister. They don’t have to be the man of the house - all of the . roles they take when someone dies.”

About 130 youngsters are participating in this year’s camp, which costs $645. Sixty-seven percent of the campers received scholarships to cover all or part of the fee.

This is Vicente’s third year - and possibly his last - at Camp El Tesoro.

On Monday, the second day of camp, Vicente and some of his fellow campers clustered around a small remote-control airplane.

Counselor Shane Mudge sat on the grass, holding a laptop as he charted a flight plan. While they waited, campers peppered him with questions. What time was it? How long would the planning take? Was the plane going to work?

Mudge put them at ease with his calm voice and collected demeanor. He pressed a button on the black remote control and the plane whirred off into the distance.

Later in the day, though, Vicente and his camp cluster, made up of about 11 teenage boys, participated in a more serious exercise: the trust fall.

When it was Vicente’s turn, he took off his black-rimmed glasses, pulled himself up on a ledge and covered his eyes with a black-and-white bandanna.

“Spotters ready?” counselor and therapist Brian Miller shouted.

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