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. Karen and Jamie Moyer met Erin through Make-A-Wish. Erin had a compassionate heart and when she was hospitalized she often expressed concern for the other children there as well as their siblings, who sometimes received little attention.
In 2000, when Erin died at the age of 17, Jamie and Karen Moyer wished to honor Erin’s memory and her caring spirit. Acknowledging her love of children and her desire to help others, the Moyers felt that a grief camp for children would be an appropriate tribute. The first Camp Erin was established in Everett, Washington in 2002.
How does a grieving child benefit from an experience like Camp Erin?
- Grieving children learn that they are not alone.
Being a grieving child is a lonely experience. Often he or she is the only one in class who has lost a mom or dad, a brother or sister. At a time in a child’s life when it feels very important to fit in, grief can make him or her feel different, isolated. Camp Erin allows a grieving child to be with other children who share these feelings. It is such a relief for them to know that they are not alone.
- Grieving children learn that their feelings are perfectly normal.
The feelings that accompany grief can be intense and overwhelming. Sometimes people even worry that they are “going crazy” with grief. Camp Erin shows children that what they are experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.
- Grieving children have an opportunity to address their feelings and memorialize their loved ones.
Children often do not have an avenue to express their grief or to honor and remember the person they held dear. Through a variety of activities including drama, arts and crafts, creative writing and physical activities, children have the opportunity to “get their feelings out” while memorializing their loved one.
Who runs Camp Erin – Albany?
- The camp is staffed by bereavement counselors from The Community Hospice, and community volunteers who are professionally trained by Hospice staff.
- Registered Nurses are on staff and available 24 hours a day during Camp Erin – Albany weekend.
What activities are provided at Camp Erin – Albany?
They require physical activity as well as emotional outlets, coping skills and community-building to cope with loss.
- memorializing their loved ones by making a collage with their photographs,
- opportunities to talk about their loved ones,
- sharing memories, nature walks,
- writing in journals (provided),
- singing songs, drumming,
- making smores over a bonfire, canoeing,
- arts and crafts.
Is Camp Erin – Albany a religious camp?
- Camp Erin is not affiliated with any religious organization, and therefore, religious instruction will not be provided at camp.
- Children will be allowed, however, to grieve their loss in the way that is most appropriate and comfortable for them.
- No child will be prevented from accessing his/her faith during the weekend if that is what the camper wishes to do.
When and where is Camp Erin – Albany?
This year’s Camp Erin – Albany 2015 will be held Friday, September 25th – Sunday September 27th, 2015. It will be held at the Fowler Camp and Retreat Center on Sacandaga Lake in Speculator, NY. Activities begin on Friday evening and end on Sunday afternoon. Bus transportation will be available to all campers, and will depart from and return to a predetermined location in Albany.
We combine traditional, fun, high-energy camp activities with grief education and support. Camp Erin is staffed by licensed social workers, nurses and trained volunteers from The Community Hospice.
Who can apply to Camp Erin – Albany?
- Any child of age 6 to 17 who has lost a loved one may attend Camp Erin.
- Potential campers will be required to fill out an application form containing personal, bereavement and medical information.
- Because we want to ensure the best possible experience for every Camp Erin participant, each application will be reviewed in detail and may include an interview before the application process is complete.
- Applications are due by July 1st, 2018.
“This camp addresses the needs of grieving children by decreasing their sense of isolation and normalizing their experience and feelings. This camp is especially unique because of the therapeutic value of combining the healing elements of nature and the wonderful activities that provide safe outlets for the expression of their grief. It was an honor to be a witness to the magic and healing that occurred at Camp Erin. I am extremely grateful for the generosity of The Moyer Foundation and their mission to assist in the healing process of grieving children.
About The Moyer Foundation and Camp Erin
The Moyer Foundation partners with healthcare and bereavement organizations in
local communities to help fund, develop and grow Camp Erin nationwide.”and teens ages 6-17.
Camp Erin is a traditional, fun weekend camp combined with grief education and emotional support. With 36 camps in 23 states and one in Canada, Camp Erin is the largest bereavement camp in the country, serving more than 2,500 children annually. With the community’s support of the Campaign for Kids, The Moyer Foundation plans to establish as many as 60 camps nationwide- including at least one camp in every Major League Baseball city.
Camp Erin Parents Blog – camperinparents.com
An online interactive community dedicated for parents who, along with their child, have experienced the loss of someone close to them. Our goal is to provide a safe and warm environment, and support network allowing parents to share their story, ask questions and gain information necessary in moving forward
A National Bereavement Resource Guide – moyerfoundation.org/nbrg
The Moyer Foundation is proud to partner with New York Life to provide a compilation of state and local resources—camps and grief organizations organized by state, plus books and websites for children and their families experiencing loss. This resource is now available online with a new navigation tool for ease of use.