Our YAB (Youth Advisory Board) is made up of pre-teens and teens who attended Experience Camps and care deeply about helping the public understand how to better support grieving children. We give our YAB a mission each month, in which they share insights about grief and reflections from their own journey. We will also use their insights and ideas to inform our programming, initiatives, and campaigns. Who better to hear from when it comes to childhood grief than young people themselves?
I’ve been a camper at Experience Camps for five years now, and I love the program because it has given me a way to live my life as if my lost loved one was still with me.
— Alexander, age 14
Our society should get better at talking about grief. We should normalize it so whenever it comes up in conversation people won’t be uncomfortable or say something insensitive.
— Ivy, age 14
When my father died I was completely lost. Experience Camps is a place where I don’t always have to pretend it’s all ok. I don’t have to wipe away my tears.
— Avner, age 14
I think it’s important to talk about grief because at the end of the day it’s a very normal thing, and it’s okay to cry. I believe if you hold everything in, one day you’re just gonna burst.
— Jessica, age 14
Being able to talk to someone about your grief is how you start the process of getting better. Doing so is essential in both the grieving process and also self-care.
— Fox, age 16
Without camp I would still not have talked about the pain I was suffering from. Through the challenges and activities I put myself through, I grew stronger and more aware.
— Ryan, age 17
Grief is a topic that is underplayed or looked at as something small until you go through it. Society tends to look at mental health generally as a burden. Grief shouldn’t be downplayed.
— Aari, age 14
We have to talk about grief so we can truly cope and work through our emotions. Grief is painful and messy but there’s value in being able to talk through that mess.
— Tina, age 14
Grief has an awkward, let’s-not-talk-about-this-at-the-dinner-table stigma around it. But it’s something we will all experience so we need to get more comfortable talking about it.
— Milena, age 16
Talking about grief is crucial because it allows people to deal with the trauma of loss in a healthy way. With places like Experience Camps, people can do this more comfortably.
— Kiki, age 15
Growing up as the only kid in my friend group who had suffered a loss, it felt like bringing up my feelings only brought down the mood. But why should I have to feel guilt over feeling sad or angry?
— Ali, age 16
Grief is not a thing that only lasts months or a year after your person has died. It is a lifelong feeling that does fade overtime but will still lie dormant in you until something triggers it.
— Kennedy, age 13
When my family and I were faced with grief I began to realize that not only was it difficult to deal with it but, with the exception of Experience Camps, there were not a lot of positive resources and places I could turn to help me.
— Jaylen, age 12
Talking about grief not only helps you but it helps others because some people are more shy and don’t want to talk about an uncomfortable topic. The more you talk about it, the less uncomfortable it will be.
— Sophia, age 11
We have to talk about grief because when people hold grief in, it becomes something of a parasite. It eats up everything inside of you. Even the happiness you feel can be overtaken by the sadness you feel from grief.
— Elijah, age 14
If people don’t open up about grief they can explode and make their life miserable. I want people to enjoy life to the fullest, and I think talking about grief will really help.
— George, age 12
All the horrible constructs we have in our head about grief are made in our heads. In reality, grief is a perfectly normal and unavoidable aspect of life that never goes away.
— Yehuda, age 16
Our application period for the 2021 Youth Advisory Board is currently closed. We will open the application process again in fall 2022. So stay tuned!