SAVE THE DATE: CAMP ERIN BOSTON 2016: AUGUST 19-21, 2016!!
Camp Erin Boston is a FREE weekend overnight camp for children and teens ages 6 through 17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. This three day, two night experience will be filled with traditional and fun camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support and will be facilitated by bereavement professionals and trained volunteers.
The Moyer Foundation has partnered with Parmenter Community Health Care in Wayland, MA as the Boston area Camp Erin provider. Parmenter Community Health Care has been a leader in Children's Bereavement Services since 1992 with its award winning HEART play program.
In the news:MIT Sloan students and staff step outside the classroom to help at kids' grief camp. Camp Erin program pairs children who have experienced loss with adult volunteers. To read more
Parmenter names staff excellence award winner! The Parmenter Board of Trustees' Executive Committee is pleased to announce the winner of the third annual Joan. S. Batchelder Staff Excellence Award - Jennifer Wiles, director of Camp Erin Boston and HEARTplay, an award-winning children and teen bereavement program. To read more
Photos courtesy of Shay Fitzpatrick: http://shayfitzpatrickphotography.zenfolio.com/
Camp Erin Boston 2015 - Another Year of Healing and Hope
Camp Erin Boston, our annual bereavement camp for kids ages 6 to 17 was held for the third year at Camp Bauercrest in Amesbury, MA on August 21 to 23, 2015. It was another amazing weekend for 53 grieving children and teens, 104 extraordinary volunteers from Massachusetts and beyond and a committed group of experienced professionals.
It was an unforgettable weekend for campers and their buddies!
Despite a foreboding weather forecast for the weekend, staff, volunteers and families with grieving children found their way to Camp Erin Boston on Friday afternoon. First to arrive were Parmenter staff involved in the year-long planning process under the direction of Camp Erin Boston Director, Jennifer Wiles. Next to arrive were the volunteers: Camper Buddies and Support Volunteers - about 40% of whom have attended one or two Camp Erins previously. Among other things, they helped prepare the cabins for the campers. Each Camper's bunk had a colorful hand-made blanket (referred to as 'Hugs'), a cuddly teddy bear, backpack, water bottle and assorted other items. Then the Campers arrived with their families. For many of these campers, saying 'goodbye' to their families was particularly difficult, but staff and Buddies were ready to help make that separation a bit easier. In very short order, the large Camp area was filled with laughter, kids playing games and cabins full of Campers and their Buddies making excited, happy noises.
The weekend was a blend of traditional camp activities (boating, sports, swimming, camp fire) and creative bereavement programs that help grieving children and teens find ways of sharing their loss and identifying healthy ways of dealing with their pain. Being with other kids who have suffered similar losses is a very important part of this weekend experience. One of the cornerstone bereavement activities occurs on the first evening of camp: the creation of a Memory Board. A large tri-fold, beautifully decorated cork board was placed on the stage in the Recreation Building. Campers, Buddies and Volunteers filed into the Rec. Building. Everyone settled in by cabin groups, facing the Memory Board. One by one, each Camper (and their Buddy) came forward and placed a photo of the Camper's loved one which they had decorated on the Memory Board. If the Camper wished, (s)he said the deceased person's name and something about them. If a Camper did not want to speak, the Buddy briefly introduced the photo. Throughout the weekend, campers, volunteers and visitors visited this very meaningful spot for a time of quiet reflection.
Camp Erin Boston is the result of a partnership between Parmenter Community Health and The Moyer Foundation. The Moyer Foundation was created by baseball legend Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen, in memory of a teenage friend who died of cancer, Erin Metcalf. There are now Camp Erins in every major league baseball city across the country. Parmenter has been providing innovative and compassionate bereavement support to grieving children year-round for twenty years through its Heartplay℠ Program. Camp Erin tends to reach a population of grieving children and teens who have not received any previous bereavement support. Many Camp Erin children continue receiving support through Heartplay℠.
Camp Erin and Heartplay℠ are provided without charge to families with grieving children. Parmenter depends on the generosity of neighbors and friends who volunteer their time and commit their resources to help assure that these important programs continue to be available to families when the unthinkable happens.
ABOUT CAMP ERINGrieving children/teens learn that they are not alone.
Being a grieving child/teen 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/teen's life when it feels very important to fit in, grief can make him or her feel different and isolated. Camp Erin allows a grieving child/teen to be with others who share these feelings. It is such a relief for them to know that they are not alone.
Grieving children/teens learn that their feelings are 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/teens that what they are experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.
Grieving children/teens have an opportunity to address their feelings and memorialize their loved ones.
Children/teens 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 art, dance, music, creative writing and physical activities, children and teens have the opportunity to express their feelings while memorializing their loved one.
Who facilitates Camp Erin Boston?
The camp is staffed by bereavement counselors from Parmenter Community Health Care and Hospice, and by community volunteers who are professionally trained by the Hospice staff.
Registered Nurses are on staff and available 24 hours a day during the Camp Erin Boston weekend.
For more information about Children's Bereavement Services and our award-winning HEART play program at Parmenter Community Health Care in Wayland, MA, please visit our website.
CAMP ERIN HISTORY
Camp Erin is an initiative created and funded by The Moyer Foundation, a public, non-profit organization, established in 2000 by Major League All-Star pitcher, Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen. In addition to funding many local programs that provide direct services to children in physical, emotional or financial distress, The Moyer Foundation created and funds Camp Erin.
Camp Erin is named in memory of the Moyer's friend, Erin Metcalf of Woodinville, Washington, a remarkable young woman who was diagnosed with liver cancer at the age of 15. Jamie and Karen Moyer met Erin through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Erin had a compassionate heart and often expressed concern for the other children there as well as their siblings, and how they would cope after a death.
In 2000, when Erin died at age 17, Jamie and Karen Moyer honored her memory and caring spirit by establishing a bereavement camp in her name. The first Camp Erin was held in Everett, Washington in 2002.
For more information on The Moyer Foundation, its missions, policies and programs, please visit their website.
Although the Moyer Foundation helps support some of Camp Erin’s costs, Parmenter must raise additional funds. For information about making a donation to support this important service to our communities, please call Cindy Mayher, Executive Director, The Parmenter Foundation at 508-358-3000 x233.