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Hospice creates summer camp for grieving kids

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Grieving children will have a place to get away every summer, thanks to Dr. Bob and some friends.
The Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice has joined Bereaved Families of Ontario to bring a second Camp Erin location to Canada.
About 50 Hamilton and area children will attend the three-day camp each year. Jan Nichols, director of development for the hospice, said they hope to eventually increase that number to 100.
Previously, the hospice held camps sporadically.
“Our limited funds prevented us from expanding,” said Nichols.
The $100,000 cost to send to kids to camp will be funded through a lottery for a vehicle supplied by Budd’s BMW on Upper James. Tickets will be on sale later this year.
Camp Erin will be held out of Camp Wenonah in Bracebridge.
“We’ve been looking at the camp model for a long time and were so happy when Jan approached us,” said Lisa Lesnicki-Young of Beareaved Families. “We were both on the same page.”
The deal was announced Nov. 15 at the hospice’s 20th anniversary reception at Michelangelo’s.
Camp Erin is the largest North American network of free bereavement camps for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. It includes traditional, fun, camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers.
It was created and is funded by The Moyer Foundation, which was founded in 2000 by World Series-winning and all-star pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen. The first Camp Erin was in Seattle; there are now over 40 camps in the U.S. and the new one will be the second Canada.
Nichols said the deal to create Camp Erin Hamilton took a year to reach.

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