Experience Camps Offer Support To Grieving Children [VIDEO]
A national summer camp program that started in Maine offers a full camp experience but also support for children who have lost a loved one.
They're called 'Experience Camps,' and there are now two in Maine. Camp Manitou in Oakland is for boys, while the new Camp Somerset in Smithfield is for girls.Campers board a bus and travel together to their camp, where they'll get to scale climbing walls, go on hikes, and do all the fun things kids usually do at camp. But they also have the chance to bond with other young people who know the pain of grief.
A child who's lost a parent or sibling can often feel different from their friends and classmates, and are even treated that way by adults and kids who just don't know how to help. And they get bad advice from these people, like suggestions to 'forget about it' or 'get over it.' But grief is not something you can just forget about. It stays with you forever. It happens so often that founder Sara Deren told me they actually have a session at camp about 'Dumb things people say'
In the video, kids talk about how important the camp is to them and call it the 'best week of the year.' If you know a child who's grieving the loss of someone close to them, consider getting more information about Camp Experience, which is free to attend. Log onto the organization's website and listen to my interview with Sara this Sunday morning on this station's public service program, 'Maine Concerns.'