Camp Erin is a bereavement camp designed for children ages 6 to 17 that have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, friend or loved one. In one weekend, children are exposed to all of the traditional, fun camp activities as well as uniquely designed grief therapy and emotional support, which is facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers. Importantly, this experience is offered to children at no cost to the family.
Camp Erin Toronto provides a new additional opportunity for the Dr. Jay Children's Grief Program to reach out to grieving children. Despite the statistic that one in every twenty children will experience the death of a parent before they reach the age of 18, according to Andrea Warnick, Camp Director and Grief Counselor, "children who have a parent or sibling die often feel totally alone - they don't know anyone else who has been through a similar situation, and can feel incredibly isolated as a result."
Camp lasts for two-and-a-half days, and balances traditional summer camp with grief counseling activities throughout the weekend. Interspersed between water sports, arts and crafts, a talent show, and campfires are activities specially designed to help children bond and grieve together, encourage conversations about their loss, and create a comfortable space in which to express emotions.
According to all - counselors, parents, and campers - the camp is a resounding success. The response to Camp Erin Toronto has been simply overwhelming. One parent wrote to the organizers to express the following compliment:
"My son had an outstanding weekend at camp. I believe that we as grown ups, working with grieving children, can never really understand the importance and significance for them to feel a sense of togetherness and the commonality they feel by being with other children who are walking a mile in one another's shoes. My son told me that, 'words don't have to be spoken, mom, we just know how the other feels and that we are no longer alone.'"
Since 2009, Camp Erin has sent, free of charge, over 200 campers and provided them the opportunity to help one another grieve, heal, and hope again for happiness.
The Dr. Jay Children's Grief Program and Camp Erin Toronto need to garner support from the philanthropic community to ensure the Camp remains a fixture for years to come.
You Can help us send a message that these Children are not alone. Click here for more on Camp Erin.
Click here to DONATE and SUPPORT Camp Erin or Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre.
Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre
Children's Grief Support
It is natural for children and youth to struggle to cope when someone close to them is dying or has died. Something previously unreal and remote has become awfully real and terribly final.
Like them, you may be experiencing deep grief and a sense of loss, and you may feel overwhelmed and unsure how to support them during such a difficult time. It's natural to feel this way.
Parents and caregivers often share with us that they are not sure what to say and want only to protect the children and young people in their lives. This protection, however, often leads to children not fully understanding what is happening and not being included in the dying process, death rituals and family grieving. This can complicate the already difficult feelings of grief they are experiencing. Although well-meaning, protecting children in this way doesn't prepare them for the reality of a death of someone important to them. There are healthy ways to grieve. We can help.
Through the Dr. Jay Grief Program of our Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre, our counsellors help you support the children you love. We can provide guidance on the needs of children and young people when someone important in their life is dying or has died. We can help you share information about what is happening in honest and open ways that young people can understand.
Click here for more on Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre. Click here to DONATE and SUPPORT Camp Erin or Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre.