Play: A Cornerstone of Our Model
The first thing you will notice when you step foot into any Experience Camp is that it looks just like any other camp. There are cabins with bunk beds and swinging screen doors. There are basketball hoops and campfire pits. And there are children running, playing, screaming, laughing, singing, and jumping.
What you might not notice right away is that each element of camp has a purpose. Those cabins create a communal living environment that requires cooperation, problem-solving, and respect for each other. The athletic facilities provide a backdrop for play: the common language of childhood. They allow kids to connect without words and build trust and familiarity before opening up. The campfire pits become a place of nature, reflection, and quietude at the end of a full day. Through these essential elements of childhood, campers are learning coping and communication skills in developmentally appropriate ways. We are allowing them to be kids after a loss has altered that critical time in their lives.
Clinically Informed Fun
Each of our camps are overseen by a Clinical Director, a licensed, masters-level clinician that directs a team of clinical staff assigned to campers by cabin. The clinical team supports the emotional well-being of campers and volunteers, facilitates peer-support opportunities and oversees clinical activities designed to offer coping skills, sharing opportunities, and expression of grief.
Play is one of the most critical elements of positive childhood development. It’s how children learn to communicate, navigate, organize themselves, and embrace creativity. When the core elements of childhood are stripped away due to a loss, play often takes a back seat to more adult responsibilities and feelings. leaving those children lacking in fundamental building blocks of growth. Giving them permission to be kids again – to sing at the top of their lungs, to focus their entire beings on the score of a game, and to explore the boundless freedom of unstructured time – is to reignite their childhoods.