I can still remember arriving at camp for the first time 5 years ago and how terrified I was; how was I going to spend a week with grieving children? How was I going to sleep in a bunk with nine 14 year olds? Could I blow dry my hair? My fears quickly subsided as I met my fellow counselors and campers (and yes, I could blow dry my hair). That first year completely changed my life and has forever helped me on my own grief journey with the death of my father.
I’ve now been going to camp for 5 summers and even had the privilege of being part of the inaugural summer for MidwEx. I live for the moment the kids get off the bus and yell “Pool Party Marty” their affectionate nickname for me after running the pool one summer. Their resilience is nothing short of MAGICAL and I always come home from camp feeling like my heart got a hug!
Yes we cry and have some really hard conversations but we also see a kid get up on water skis for the first time, conquer the climbing wall, learn how to shoot a bow & arrow, get crazy excited about the talent show, and sometimes a little over competitive during College League; we teach these kids that grief and sadness can exist with joy and fun. This is the MAGIC OF CAMP!
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Experience Camps are nationally recognized summer camps for grieving children, ages 9-17, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or caregiver. We give grieving children experiences that will change their lives forever. With nearly 5 million children in the US currently grieving the loss of a close family member, the need is enormous.
Experience Camps operates summer camp programs in 10 locations nationwide, and provides ongoing opportunities throughout the year for support, connection and community. We reframe the experience of grief and empower our campers to develop invaluable coping skills that enable them to move forward with their lives.
Since 2009, Experience Camps has transformed the lives of thousands of children by bringing light to the profound darkness of grief. We offer a community where kids can laugh, cry, play, create, honor the memory of the person who died or forget the grief that weighs them down. It's a home away from home. And just about everyone will tell you... "It's the best week of the year."