Experience Camps provide boys and girls whose parent, sibling or primary caregiver has died, with a program that helps build confidence, encourages laughter and allows them to navigate their grief through friendship, teamwork, athletics, and the common bond of loss.
It is a safe environment where kids can explore their grief, break the isolation they may feel with their non-camp peers, and have a whole lot of fun. They have the opportunity to meet and connect with kids who are coping with similar challenges, while getting all of the benefits of the traditional summer camp experience. Through team sports, favorite camp traditions and community living they learn about leadership, confidence and cooperation. Under the guidance of professional bereavement staff, campers have the opportunity to share stories and remember the one who died, while exploring skills that will help them after camp.
The program is designed to maximize each camper’s time with his or her bunkmates to give him or her time to bond and build the trust that leads to open communication. Campers can play their favorite sports, engage in creative activities, and explore new skills, like rock climbing, waterskiing, and archery. A full day of fun and rewarding activity takes place in the beautiful outdoors, surrounded by accepting friends, supportive counselors and fresh air.
A typical camp day begins with reveille followed by breakfast in the dining hall. After breakfast, the campers attend two activity periods, such as volleyball, tennis or arts & crafts. The third morning period is focused on different techniques in the bereavement toolkit, built to help the campers identify, express and understand their feelings. After lunch there is a rest period, when our clinical team quickly checks in with each bunk, and then a campwide activity, such as relay races or a hike up a nearby mountain. The camp comes together again during free swim, dinner, and an evening activity before retiring to their bunks.
SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE
7:30 AM – Reveille
8:00 AM – Breakfast
8:30 AM – Clean-Up & Inspection
9:15 AM – 1st Elective Period (Ex: Tennis, Arts & Crafts, Fishing)
10:15 AM – 2nd Elective Period
11:15 AM – Bunk Sharing Circle
12:30 PM – Lunch
1:15 PM – Rest Period
2:15 PM – Afternoon Activity (Ex: College League Games, Hike)
4:00 PM – Free Swim
6:00 PM – Dinner
6:45 PM – Evening Activities (Ex: Talent Show, Steve Hirsch Night, Campfire)
9:00 PM – Taps, followed by lights out by age group
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Foster Respect for one another and oneself
Inspire Hope and the confidence to overcome
Build Community through a shared grief journey
Embrace Diversity and the uniqueness in all of us
Celebrate Happiness and the joy of camp & friendship