Camp Erin is a program to address the special needs of grieving children who have lost family or friends. It is the largest such program in the country.
Children and teens ages 6-17 can attend a weekend camp that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support. The camps are provided free of charge for all families. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for youth to increase levels of hope, enhance self-esteem, and especially to learn that they are not alone.
There are more than forty such camps around the country. You can learn more about them, or locate one near you by clicking here.
The Moyer Foundation website is a real asset for those wanting to help grieving children. For instance, here is a condensation of a page on the site by Lauren Schneider, LCSW Clinical Director of Child and Adolescent Programs. It is titled Ten Things Grieving Children Want to Know:
1. Children want to be told the truth about the death
2. Children look to you as a role model for how people grieve
3. Children want to talk about their person who died
4. Children express their emotions through play and behaviors which may be problematic for you
5. Children need to know who would take care of them if you could not
6. Children benefit from being included in mourning rituals
7. They need you to help them feel safe
8. They need to be taught coping strategies
9. Children need to be included when making decisions
10. Children need you to take care of yourself: they will only adapt as well as you do.
You can read the full article on the Moyer Foundation website by clicking here.
If you would like to talk about your experience with a grieving child, or anyone else, you can join the discussion right here on this website.