Where children learn to grieve and heal.

Insider updates from the Camp Erin Department.

Thanks for stopping by the Camp Erin Blog! You will not only find the most up to date info happening with Camp Erins across the country, but also some great resources and applicable information for grieving families.

Camp Erin is the largest bereavement camp in the country - designed for youth ages 6-17 who are grieving the loss of someone close to them. It is a weekend-long experience filled with traditional, fun, camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support — facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers from local hospice and grief counseling agencies. Camp Erin is the largest network of bereavement camps in the United States with 36 camps in 23 states. More than 2,500 greiving children and teens will receive the healing experience of Camp Erin this year!

July 29, 2011

Looking for a new book?

This is a book written about a little boy named Adam. After his mother dies suddenly we are taken through the changes going on in his world and all of the new fears he is facing. Will the clouds be big enough to hold his wishes now? We are able to see through beautiful illustration a child's perspective into the grief process and to learn from Adam what other's may be feeling.

Appropriate for ages 6-12yrs
Available on Amazon.com

July 13, 2011

We would like you to meet.....Kevin Sullivan!

The Moyer Foundation hired Kevin Sullivan as the National Executive Director in May.....since then he has hit the ground running! We are excited to have Kevin as a part of our team and could not be happier to introduce him to you! Learn more about Kevin and the openning of our Philadelphia Office in the press release below.....


July 7, 2011


Normalizing grief

Grieving a significant loss of a person or part of your
life is natural. When it inhibits your daily
functioning abilities, professional help assists
with accepting the transition.

Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 12:15 am

Normalizing grief By Sandra Jordan St. Louis American

It is one of the most unhappy and painful of human conditions, but it is something everyone experiences in one form or another - grieving the loss of someone you know or love. It can be particularly difficult if the death is sudden or through an act of violence.

Grieving is a healthy response to major loss and should be allowed to take its course.

Grief and mourning are different.

Grief is the inward, general feeling or condition and mourning is the outward, active expression of that grief - such as crying; leaving flowers, stuffed animals or balloons at the scene of a crime or a gravesite; or wearing black to a funeral.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) says children who are frightened to go to a funeral should not be forced to attend. Children, like adults, need to express their grief in their own way - perhaps paying their respects and honoring the person's memory by lighting a candle (depending on the age), saying a prayer, making a scrapbook, reviewing photographs, or talking about the person.

Once children accept the death, AACAP says kids are likely to feel sadness on and off over a long period of time, and often at unexpected moments. The surviving relatives should spend as much time as possible with the child, making it clear that the child has permission to show his or her feelings openly or freely.

The point is - each person expresses his or her grief individually and the process should be respected and without judgment or comparison to someone else's expressions, expectations or perceived duration.

How do you get through it?

Experts say one day at a time, with help and support of others.

"People feel helpless around [a person in grief]. They don't know what to say, they don't know how to fix things - we are a very ‘Fix It' society," explains Peggy Tyson, director of clinical services for the Crime Victim Advocacy Center in St. Louis. "Grief is not a problem to be solved. It's a normal event to be worked through and companioned through and that's what I do for people - I companion them through their grief; and normalize and validate all of those feelings."

The center offers no-cost counseling to clients who are working through a loss due to the commission of a crime. Formerly known as Aid for Victims of Crime, the organization has been in existence since 1972 and is funded through the United Way; Missouri Foundation for Health; private donations; and federal and state programs, including the Crime Victim Compensation Program, which is subsidized by criminal court fees.

"They pay a certain amount of medical bills if you've been assaulted or raped; they pay burial costs up to $5,000; they see if you qualify for lost wages; and they also offer psychological reimbursement for counseling - my counseling is free," says Tyson, who says most of their clients come through word-of-mouth.

Cry when you need to cry - and don't try to hide your sadness for fear of not being seen as the strong one, Tyson recommends.

And don't get overwhelmed by family or cultural traditions that people will impose when someone dies.

"I get people in here all the time who said, ‘Well, I gave his things away. And everybody's like, ‘How could you do that so quickly?' versus the next client, who says ‘I haven't given his things away - I haven't changed his room.' And they say I need to get in there and change that,'" she says. "Both situations are whatever works for you. If you are in that position and you don't feel like you want to give away their things yet - don't give away their things. It's not healthy or unhealthy."

However you grieve is okay, as long as it does not disrupt your ability to function. The National Institutes of Health says grief and loss can affect your overall health and could lead those who are prone, to depression, excessive alcohol or drug use. Grief interfering with your daily life may be a symptom of a more serious behavioral health condition, such as major depression, which needs treatment by a doctor or behavioral health professional.

"When we enter that kind of complicated, stuck place is when you have a shrine built up of pictures and mementos and you're feeling stuck and guilty if you take down pictures, they're not helping you to move through your grief and to mourn," Tyson says.

What do you say to someone who has lost a special someone?

There are plenty of things that fall under the category of "What not to say."

Believe it or not, people can say some amazingly insensitive things in their effort to cheer someone up when they are hurting - like, "You have two other children," - "My mom can be your mom now," or "You are young and you can get married again."

Think before you speak.

Whatever you say, it should comfort the person with the loss - not you.

"What's comforting to the person is to say, ‘I am really sorry'; bringing up the loved one; asking about them - regardless to whether it brings tears or anger or whatever it is; you allow that person to get out some of the things they need to get out," Tyson recommends.

And have a supportive, listening ear when they want to talk.

Persons can also grieve from the loss of a significant relationship, a job; a theft; a chronic illness that affects their quality of life or an illness to which there is no cure. The grieving process takes as long as takes to accept and adjust to life without that person.

"Research shows that it's three to five years before you get used to that hole in your life - you've kind of built around it - that hole in your heart that is very painful," Tyson says.

"We talk a lot about managing your pain. Not getting rid of it, not forgetting --
forgiving and forgetting," she says. "We talk a lot about managing that loss so you can figure out how to go on your life without that person."

For more information, visit www.supportvictims.org; Parents of Murdered Children at pomc.org; Bereaved Parents of the USA at bereavedparentsusa.org and the Office for Victims of Crime at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc or crimevictims.gov.

June 27, 2011

CitySolve Urban Race in Seattle

Check it out Seattle Friends!!!
The Moyer Foundation and The GiG Network would like to invite you to come out and join us in the CitySolve Urban Race on July 9th - portion of the proceeds benefit The Moyer Foundation and Camp Erin!

Sign up today and enter the promo code "camperin" for a $15 discount on your sign up fee!

What is CitySolve Urban Race?

"Where brains beat brawn! Teams of 2 or 3 solve clever clues and face fun challenges all while navigating the urban landscape via foot or on public transportation! It's a scavenger hunt, with all the thrills of the amazing race, mixed in with trivial pursuit, throw in a mini road race and add a dash of cat-and-mouse. And voila! You've got CitySolve Urban Race!"

Here is the link: City Solve Urban Race- Seattle

June 24, 2011

2011 Camp Erin Updates

It has been a busy summer already for Camp Erin Staff and Campers! Some great articles and YouTube videos are posted below that we wanted to share with you. We couldn’t be happier to see the wonderful things the different camps are doing to make every campers experience a special one!!!
Check them out:
Pittsburg  Grieving teens cope at camp
Fort Campbell  Healing through mentoring
Tacoma  Camp Erin Provides Support, Fun for Grieving Kids
Anchorage Adults should help youths cope with a family death
Pittsburgh  Camp Erin creates Healing for Grieving Teens

June 20, 2011

ESPN E:60 Camp Erin

We would like to thank ESPN E:60 for doing such an amazing piece on Camp Erin. Watch this video and see the lives that are positively impacted with the help from The Moyer Foundation and Camp Erin supporters!

January 3, 2011

Welcome 2011 and the Camp Erin Season!

2011 is sure to be an exciting year for The Moyer Foundation and Camp Erin! We are looking forward to the new Camp Erin season and teaching grieving kids and teens across the country learn to cope and heal. Camp Erin continues to be the largest network of bereavement camps and is looking to serve over 2000 kids and teens in 2011. Camp sessions begin in April and continue through September. Be sure to visit the “Find Your Camp” section of The Moyer Foundation website to find camp dates and locations near you!

And from everyone here at The Moyer Foundation...Happy New Year!!!

November 15, 2010

Surviving the Holidays & Tips for Moving Forward

The holiday season is a difficult time for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one and are struggling to move forward. For kids and teens, this struggle can be even greater with the busy season approaching. Here are a few tips for making this time of year manageable and helpful for those experiencing grief:

-Prepare: Sit down with your friends and family and develop a holiday plan. This could include anything from books you want to read or fun events you would like to attend. As long as you have goals for the coming weeks, it will be easier to stick to them when you are coping with emotions.

-Socialize: Being isolated can often make grief worse. Go out and find new things to do with friends and family. Try to search for holiday events that are happening in your city. This could be anything from ice skating to a craft fair. Surrounding yourself with loved ones can alleviate holiday anxiety.

-Keep Moving: Take care of your physical well-being. Make sure to combat the holiday diet with healthy foods that will give you energy and strength. Kids and teens should also have regular exercise to reduce stress and stay active.

-Light: Gloomy winter weather can really impact stress levels in kids and teens during the holidays. Get out and get some sunshine. If the weather does not permit this, check out light boxes at local retailers and counseling centers.

-Reach Out: Volunteering is a great way for grieving kids and teens to see how they can give back. Seeing the impact that volunteering has on others can reduce stress and holiday anxiety.

For more information on holiday grief and resources for coping, visit GriefShare.

October 11, 2010

2010 Camp Erin Season Comes to a Close!

The 2010 Camp Erin season has concluded and The Moyer Foundation is proud to congratulate all the Camp Erin partner agencies, staff and volunteers that made this year such a great success! With 35 camps in 23 states, Camp Erin welcomes nearly 2,500 grieving children and teens from across the country as Camp Erin alumni!

The Moyer Foundations thanks the many volunteers, staff, and bereavement experts who made the 2010 camp season truly remarkable. We are proud to have so many individuals dedicated to making Camp Erin a safe place for grieving children and teens to bond with their peers going through a similar life circumstance, learn skills and tools for coping with death in their life and most importantly, learn that it’s ok to have fun again.

Plans for the 2011 season are well underway! With new camps being created across the country, The Moyer Foundations is excited to see the success that this new camp season will bring. Stay tuned for more information on camp dates and new locations!

September 27, 2010

Back to School - Helpful Tips for the Grieving Student

Teachers and students of all ages are back in school and catching up from the fun summer months. With new schedules in full swing, it can be even more difficult for a grieving student to cope with his or her feelings while managing their studies. Anyone close to a grieving student can use these eight tips to make the transition back to school easier:

1.) Allow a grieving student to express how they feel in his or her own words.

2.) Be patient and give them time to adjust to their new schedule and schoolwork.

3.) Be honest with the grieving student. Knowing the truth helps them to understand and heal.

4.) Encourage the student to ask questions about the loss. Helping them to understand death will allow them to make correct interpretations.

5.) Grieving is hard work and every person expresses grief differently. Support your student regardless of how they may express their grief.

6.) Encourage your student to be open about what he or she needs from you. Let them know that they can always reach out to you for support.

7.) Connect them to resources outside the classroom. This could be a school psychologist or librarian. Allowing a student to leave the classroom when necessary will help when he or she needs personal space.

8.) Make sure to take time for you to grieve. The loss of someone close to your student may be affecting you as well. The more you let yourself heal, the better you will be at understanding your student’s grief.

Knowing how to help a grieving student can make the transition back to school easier and more comfortable for everyone. For more on these tips, visit  Help Your Student Deal with Grief and Loss.

September 10, 2010

Healing through Creativity

Guest blog by Kerri Schlottman, Director of External Relations, Alliance for Young Artists & Writer

Every year the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is fortunate to witness the incredible talent of creative teens from across the country who submit their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The words we read and the artwork we view tell a multitude of stories about the experiences of teenagers from all walks of life. On September 15 we will once again open registration for students in grades 7 through 12 to submit their work in 30 categories of art and writing. We know that we’ll see a breadth of imagination and a depth of emotion. And now, thanks to a sponsorship by the New York Life Foundation, we will also be able to encourage students who are dealing with issues of loss and bereavement by offering six very special scholarships to select award winners.

The issue of loss is a common theme in the Scholastic Awards as teens use their creativity to deal with the bereavement process. 2009 Scholastic Award winner Chelsey Shannon used her creative writing skills to help deal with the untimely death of her father, comedian Blair Shannon. Chelsey, who also lost her mother at age 6, says of her father’s death, “Right after I learned he died, all I could do was write letters to him, just so I’d have some sort of connection.” Chelsey was one of more than a thousand teens honored at Carnegie Hall by the Alliance. She has since published a book and continues to receive accolades for her writing.

There are many others like Chelsey out there, and we are grateful to the New York Life Foundation for providing us the opportunity to encourage them to use their artistic and literary talents to help them heal. Please spread the word by encouraging every teen you know in grades 7 through 12 to submit works of art and writing that deal with loss and bereavement to the 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Six students will be selected to earn $1,000 scholarships. For more information, visit http://www.artandwriting.org/.

For specific information on the New York Life Award:

August 18, 2010

Camp Erin feature from ESPN E60!

Check out this incredible feature on Camp Erin from ESPN E60! Thank you ESPN for sharing this amazing story!

August 16, 2010

New Video from Camp Erin Palm Springs!

Check out this new video highlighting a few of the powerful moments at Camp Erin Palm Springs! Thank you to everyone who made the camp such a success!

July 6, 2010

Good Luck Camp Erin Chicago/Northern Illinois, Hawaii and Milwaukee!

Best of luck to the Camp Erin Chicago/Northern Illinois, Hawaii and Milwaukee teams as they all get ready for camp this upcoming weekend! With over 250 campers and volunteers all of us at The Moyer Foundation are excited for the smiles, friendships and support that will come from this weekend. We are thinking of you and all the grieving children whose lives you are about to touch!