The first camp of the summer was Camp Erin. Camp Erin is a weekend grief and bereavement camp. Check out their website here. This camp is unique because not only does it provide a fun camp experience for kids who have lost someone important in their lives, but there are multiple therapeutic activities that are aimed to help the children process and cope with their grief.
One of the main goals of the weekend was for the kids to learn that they are not alone. There are other kids who have experienced loss and other kids who are feeling the same emotions that they are. Another goal of the weekend was to normalize feelings. There were many conversations about how it’s okay to feel emotions. It’s normal to feel sad/angry/lonely, and it’s okay to let yourself experience those emotions and process them. In an activity that allowed the kids to take the lead, they were instructed to make a list of good and bad ways to deal with feelings. On the list of bad ideas, they put hitting others and taking it out on your animals. The kids presented alternatives such as punching your pillow, talking to a pet or a family member, listening to music and more. It was great to see these kids share what had worked for them with the hope that it would help another kiddo in the group.
Camp Erin was not only therapy sessions. There are a variety of normal camp activities such as swimming, sports and of course a campfire with s’mores. Including these activities not only made camp fun, but it also provided the opportunity for campers to bond and form relationships that could be a sense of support throughout the weekend. For the older kids, these relationships can be taken with them as they grow out of camp.