Camp Erin supports grieving children who lost someone important in their lives
When Megan’s mom told her and her brother about a camp that supports children who’ve lost a loved one, they accepted without hesitation.
After losing her father, Megan was looking to connect with others that understood what she’s been through.
Going to Camp Erin made Megan realize that she’s not alone: “I can talk to them without them saying ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ because they haven’t gone through it.”
Camp Erin is cohosted by Carefor and the Eluna Network. While being one of 43 Camp Erins across North America, it is one of only three in Canada. It is the largest national bereavement program for grieving children and youth between the ages of 6 and 17. The weekend camp offers grief education and emotional support in a fun, safe camp setting.
“In that warm environment they’re sharing stories and memories and supporting each other through what can be a very difficult time,” says Clinical Director, Nancy Galway. Children who have lost a loved one often find themselves isolated as no one knows how to speak to them about their experience. Activities like making layered sand jars and the memory board give children the chance to bring out, and thus understand, their feelings using games or crafts.
“My dad was a very smart and handsome man and it always felt like paradise when he was around,” Megan recalls. “The memory board was hard for me. It just made me feel really sad because I miss him and I wish he was here today.”
Children attend Camp Erin at no cost thanks to generous donations.