How do you cope with the pain of divorce when the person you turned to for comfort is now your adversary? Divorce Camp – where being single is no bar to bliss.
At Divorce Camp, there are no cabins with cute names, no counselors in matching t-shirts and definitely no “Kumbaya” around the campfire. The idea for this camp, conceived on a ranch in Arizona, has changed the lives and given new found hope to three divorcees who found platonic love on its wide-open plains with beautiful mountain views.
The story of how three friends came together begins in Swoope, Virginia. Victoria Godfrey and Tim Smith were both, as they put it themselves, “hurting badly” from their respective divorces. As good friends, they banded together to provide each other with a shoulder to cry on and mutual support as they made the difficult transition from being a spouse to being single.
While Victoria and Tim were attempting to build their own pillars of support, another friend was facing his own personal divorce tribulations almost two thousand miles away in Southeast Arizona.
Mark Richter, a successful Internet marketer, was suffering in silence on his secluded ranch. With the property containing Mark’s main house, a guesthouse and an apartment, his paradise-like freedom was trapping Mark in his own small world of divorce-life solitude.
Mark and Victoria had enjoyed a friendship for over two decades. She introduced Mark to Tim a few months previously. It didn’t take long for the two “boys,” both in the pain of their own divorces, to become adopted brothers.
With his property feeling too big for him and his animals, Mark invited Tim and Victoria to move in and form a new kind of family. “I figured we could all hunker down and deflect divorce bullets, while treating the wounds of whoever took a direct hit,” says Mark, whose “move in together” idea was initially met with much resistance from Tim and Victoria.
Nevertheless, Victoria jumped into Tim’s Chevy truck and together, they pointed the hood due west and buckled up for the three-day drive to Arizona. Just prior to their arrival, Mark experienced another sudden and significant loss. “I had taken my beloved golden retriever to be put down that morning. The day was a scorcher and I was busy digging Jasmine’s grave but I couldn’t find the energy to complete the task,” he says. “With the grave half dug and tears streaming down my face, I simply gave up and collapsed into bed. I had reached a point of pain saturation and couldn’t take any more.”
With Mark’s emotions at an all-time low, Victoria and Tim arrived at the ranch just in time. Tim picked up Mark’s shovel and helped him say a touching goodbye to his dog, while Victoria took over the kitchen to produce a gourmet feast that would signify the official birth of Divorce Camp and the start of their new family.
“The nearest populated town was two hours away,” Victoria says, describing the 10-minute, 4-wheel drive adventure that was their driveway. With food and “medicinal” beverages proving vital to their coping strategies, the long trek to town was always met with humorous conclusions.
“We would re-stock at the not-so-local grocery store, with the obvious giveaway to our Achilles’ heel being a bag of 15 or-so limes. The clerks would always ask us if we were planning some kind of party and we’d respond with ‘Na, we’re in divorce camp’, while glancing down at yet another bottle of tonic,” Victoria adds.
For the next few months, the inseparable team of three built a close-knit support network that would change their lives forever.
“Each day would bring new challenges for everyone, as each of us tried to cope with our own divorces,” says Tim, who was luxuriating in his new cowboy lifestyle in the Arizona plains. “Each of us would have our days; times when we couldn’t face the future or when we couldn’t get our minds off the past,” he says. “The other two would rally to comfort, encourage and get that person back on their feet — as it could easily be their turn tomorrow.”
Victoria believes that, had the three not come together, the process of making the transition into single life would have been heart wrenching. “What we came to realize throughout the months was that in spite of the difficulties, hurt, and uncertainties we were facing as individuals, we had so much strength as a supportive group. The otherwise negative situation became positive and positive energy is attractive. We were effortlessly drawing good will from each other,” she says. “Supporting one another in the requirements of our daily routine, we found divorce wasn’t the issue — instead, living and loving life was the objective.”
It was at this time that the three seized an opportunity to expand their Divorce Camp strategy to help others.
“We remembered an experience the three of us had while eating lunch in New Mexico a few months earlier,” Victoria says. “The waitress asked us where we were from. We answered, ‘Divorce Camp, faraway in the mountains.’ She unraveled her own story of a messy divorce and the stress of facing the process as a single mother,” she continued. “After listening to what she had to say, we knew instantly that people out there, who were faced with the hell of divorce, needed support and guidance in an un-clinical and affordable way.”
With that waitress as their inspiration, Victoria, Tim and Mark pooled their resources and launched DivorceCamp.com — a website designed to help people through every stage of divorce and the transition into their single life. With eight divorces between them and virtually every problem, roadblock and hardship experienced, the Divorce Camp team are now helping others who are faced with the challenge of divorce.
Tim explains what the website’s users can expect find within the virtual camp walls:
“We want people to understand that they are not alone in the divorce process. Going out to see an attorney, psychologist or other professional is intimidating, not to mention expensive with an hour of legal advice often costing around $250. What we do is host professionals on our members behalf, interviewing them and making the information available to our members for them to consume from the privacy of their own homes.”
Tim believes that this unlimited access to authoritative information will better prepare people for what lies ahead.
“By listening to, for example, our attorney interviews — people can approach their own legal process from a better position, with more money in their pocket and much of the groundwork already covered by the information found on our site. We also connect with our members on a personal level by making each member an integral part of a unique online camp where everyone can draw from their own experiences and assist others with one of life’s biggest transitions.”
The threesome spent over a year and a half together equally dividing their time between Arizona and Virginia. Now Mark is back at DivorceCamp.com West, while Tim and Victoria hold down the eastern office in Virginia.
“Divorce Camp members get unlimited access to information and resources being developed in both camps, through one intuitive website,” Victoria says. “We have learned that being single is definitely no bar to being happy — and we want to help others settle into their new life with the joy and excitement they deserve.”
Mark’s statement sums it up: “Now that my divorce is final and I am truly single, I have never been happier. I don’t understand why people say they hate the idea of dating and starting over. I don’t think I will ever not want to be single again!”
There are tons of resources on the site that are free, and access to content-laden memberships start at just $15.99 per month for a three-month membership (the equivalent to about 4 minutes of attorney time). The team is also currently giving away a free audio and transcript download on the topic of avoiding the most common divorce mistakes.
To access the free download, as well as find out more about Divorce Camp, please visit: http://www.divorcecamp.com and sign in. Maybe you can be a happy camper too!
Copyright © James Collins/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.