Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult for a child. Thankfully, there’s a place for them to work through their grief alongside other children who are dealing with the same pain.
Camp Erin-LA, located at the scenic 45-acre Camp Bloomfield campground in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, will offer a free weekend-long camp Aug. 17-19 for children and teens ages 6 to 17 who’ve lost a parent, sibling or guardian in the last three years. In partnership with Our House Grief Support Center, a provider of grief education for children, teens and adults, Camp Erin-LA combines traditional camp activities with grief support and education. “For some children, camp is the only opportunity to work on their grief,” says Michele Prince, executive director of Our House. “By offering Camp Erin-LA, Our House puts a support system into place where kids feel safe to talk and provides them with tools to cope with their loss.”
When campers arrive, they are greeted with open arms by a staff of grief specialists and trained volunteers. Campers swim, navigate a rock wall and ropes course, engage in arts and crafts and enjoy other activities designed to encourage and promote healing. Camp Erin allows children a chance to share with their peers their thoughts, feelings and memories about the person who died.
The Moyer Foundation, founded by former MLB All-Star pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen Phelps Moyer, is a national organization that offers pro.grams throughout the U.S. and Canada for children impacted by family grief or addiction. They created Camp Erin in memory of a family friend, Erin Met.calf, who died of cancer at age 17. The camp was the subject of a 2014 Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary called, “One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp.”
For more information about Camp Erin-LA, visit ourhouse-grief.org/camp-erin-la-oc.