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COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Free bereavement camp open to 60 Hamilton youth

by Sandra Straus, special to the News

This goes out to all the youth in the community: you are not alone in your grief!
Camp Erin Hamilton hopes to support you with your loss by offering you a free weekend bereavement camp. This worthwhile camp takes place May 30-June 1. The host camp is Camp Wenonah in the beautiful Muskoka area near Bracebridge.
Through The Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss, we are able to offer this opportunity to any person between the ages of 6 and 17 years who have ever suffered the death of a loved one. We only ask that there be at least six months since the death of the loved one and the start of camp.
Our goal is to take 60 youth to Camp Erin Hamilton 2014. Transportation is supplied to and from camp.
Campers participate in traditional, fun and high energy activities combined with grief education and emotional support – led by grief professionals and trained volunteers. This year we are hoping to attract more teenage campers by offering activities of interest to support this age group. Camp Erin Hamilton provides a unique opportunity for peer bonding between children and teens facing a similar life circumstance.
In addition to the camp weekend, our partner Bereaved Families of Ontario Hamilton/Burlington provides a continuum of care opportunity offering ongoing support and bereavement resources for families, children and teens.
Camp Erin’s program model and best practices was developed by The Moyer Foundation’s national advisory committee, which include members who are nationally recognized experts in the field of children’s grief. There are over 40 camp locations in the United States and there are two in Canada — Camp Erin Toronto and Camp Erin Hamilton.
Comments from participants from CEH 2013 shared these thoughts on their experience:
• “I can have fun even when I am sad.”
• “I had a chance to talk about my feelings. It was really fun!”
• “It made me feel better & it helped me through my problems.”
• “It helped me by showing me fun times, new ways to cope, new friends and a good reminder about how they never leave you.”
• “It helped me by knowing that other people feel the same way I do.”
To attend Camp Erin Hamilton 2014, simply go to kemphospice.org and click the Camp Erin tab. Complete a registration form and send it to sstrauss@kemphospice.org or call me at 905-387-2448 ext. 2210 to register. Please check out the 2013 Camp Erin Hamilton video while you are on the website.
Sandra Strauss is director of Camp Erin Hamilton for the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice. For more information on The Moyer Foundation and its programs, see www.moyerfoundation.org.
If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800 ext. 335 or email editor@hamiltonmountainnews.com to discuss.

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