Monday, June 20

Kids Outdoors Zone for the Statesman

My relationship with my dad is one of the most important in my life. He's always seemed to 'get' me, always able to pinpoint the exact thing that bothers me or brings me joy. We share the same sweet tooth, an appreciation for small cute critters, and an irreverent, dry wit. I'm immune to most appeals to Hallmark sentimentality, but when it comes to depictions of Dads and Daughters I cry every time.

The Statesman called me last month to spend a morning with a group of girls who recently lost their dads. A faith-based organization called the Kids Outdoor Zone brings them together for a group discussion about their loss and then leads them into the great outdoors. I fell instantly in love with the cause of KOZ.

It was a gray, drizzly morning but the girls were bright spots of love for each other. You can read Joshunda Sanders' story here.

(Left to right) Nicole Basey, Kendal Rhodes, and Amy McInnes say a prayer during a KOZ group meeting on Saturday May 21, 2011. Kids Outdoor Zone is a youth ministry devoted to helping girls who have lost a father.

Destiny Richter, 12, (left) and Salem Severance, 9, right, look for a passage about faith the size of a mustard seed in the New Testament.

CC Vantrease, right, gives a reassuring hug to Salem Severance, second from right, as they lead KOZ group members to an open field for a lesson in tent construction at Mary Moore Searight Park in South Austin.

Salem Severance, left, and CC Vantrease, right, fold up tent poles while singing a song about team work.