Did you know there is a grief camp for children here in Orange County?
When you hear the words “grief camp,” you might not associate that with fun, laughter, and friendship. But those are the exact words many of our campers use to describe their experience at Camp Erin Orange County.
Children’s grief is not something that often gets talked about and as a result can leave kids feeling isolated.
They may not know there are other kids their age and in their community that are grieving too. In fact, by the time they graduate from high school, 1 in 5 kids will experience the death of someone close (Kenneth Doka, Editor of OMEGA, Journal of Death and Dying).
Providing children with the opportunity to talk, share, and ask questions about the death and how they are feeling is incredibly important. Without these opportunities they may feel like they are the only one grieving. Sometimes children get the message that talking about the person is somehow bad or hurtful to others around them.
Did you or another adult you know experience a significant loss when you were a child?
Kids don’t really have a place where they can discuss or share about their mourning process. If you know an adult that experienced a significant loss as a child I guarantee they would say,
“Wow, I wish there was a program like grief camp around when I was a kid.”
The best thing you can do for a grieving child is to give them a safe environment to talk about their grief with professionals and sympathetic peers.
So do you know a grieving child or teen?
Camp Erin is not necessarily the camp that many of us think of when we think of summer. But for grieving kids, it’s a one-of-a-kind camp that allows them to be kids AND to explore their grief.
This is a free, weekend bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6‐17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them.
Camp Erin Orange County has all the aspects of a fun, traditional camp combined with grief education, peer bonding, and emotional support led by grief support professionals and trained volunteers. CEOC is part of The Moyer Foundation’s national Camp Erin program.
Camp Erin Orange County is exactly the place we hope kids have those opportunities to talk and share about their loss.
We hope to decrease the isolation these children feel and help them feel “normal” by connecting them with kids their age who have also experienced the death of someone in their life.
Camp is a place they get to share about the person that died. Children don’t always have the necessary skills to cope with loss effectively.
The campers bond with other kids their age, create new and useful ways to cope with the loss, and increase their resilience. For many kids, it might be the first chance to express how they are feeling or to let down their guard and show emotion. Others open themselves to learning new skills – whether it be coping with the challenging times of their grief, talking in front of others, learning how music can be an outlet, or challenging themselves to a new experience like swimming or hiking.
Camp Erin is where you can have fun and be playful, meet new people, learn new things about yourself, and try new activities. But also where you can share your grief with others who are able to understand you and your experience. There is a bond that connects all of our campers. Camp Erin gives grieving children the opportunity to not feel alone.
If you know a child that could benefit from a free weekend stay at CEOC, please complete an application as soon as possible. Space is available but limited. Applications can be found on the Camp Erin website.