The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult and traumatic events in a child’s life. It can be difficult to know how to help kids cope with the loss, particularly as people work through their own grief.
On a daily basis, the staff and volunteers at the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice saw the need for enhanced children’s grief support and in 2012, reached out to the Moyer Foundation with the hopes of partnering to bring Camp Erin to Hamilton’s youth.
Camp Erin was created by the Moyer Foundation in 2002 and is the largest nationwide network of free bereavement camps for children and teens. Camp Erin is named in memory of Erin Metcalf of Woodinville, Washington, a remarkable young woman who developed liver cancer at the age of 15. Erin died when she was 17. Karen and Jamie Moyer met Erin through Make-A-Wish.
The Moyer Foundation was founded in 2000 by World Series Champion pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen. Their mission: To provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction. The Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice is the first hospice in Canada to offer Camp Erin and is honoured to have it as one of their many programs.
Camp Erin Hamilton is embarking on its fifth camp year. It is an annual weekend-long experience offered at no charge to campers six to 17 years who have experienced the death of someone close to them. It is facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers of the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice.
This unique camp combines a traditional high energy fun camp using the beautiful facilities of Camp Wenonah in Bracebridge, with grief support and education. This allows the children and youth a safe environment to tell their story, process grief in healthy ways, meet friends facing similar circumstances, learn that they are not alone, build a tool box of coping skills and resources, remember, honour and memorialize those who have died. It also allows children to have fun.
For more information to register a child for camp or to volunteer at Camp Erin, contact the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice at 905-387-2448 ext. 2208 or visit the website at kemphospice.org.
-Susan Repa is director of Camp Erin Hamilton