Get Involved: Helping Kids Cope with Grief

Camp Erin has aided more than 12,000 kids across the country deal with the grief of losing a loved one.

July 14 2014, 1:00 PM

—Camp Erin San Diego. Photo courtesy of the Moyer Foundation.

The loss of a loved one is difficult to handle, no matter the age. But grieving can be especially painful for children and teens. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 1.5 million children lose a parent each year. (It’s unknown how many kids struggle with the death of other family members, relatives, friends, and acquaintances.)

To bring relief and understanding to these children, Shimmering Wings, a Denver-based grief support program, is partnering with a national nonprofit to hold a bereavement camp for children and teens. Camp Erin was created in 2002 by the Moyer Foundation to give kids and teens a fun camp experience, with guided activities like a candle lighting ceremony and memory wall, to encourage campers to work through the emotions associated with losing a loved one. The free, overnight, weekend is led by grief professionals and trained volunteers. Since its inception, Camp Erin has held bereavement camps in 43 locations across the country. It annually serves more than 2,600 kids and teens. "We hear from so many parents, we want our child to feel they're not alone," says Barb Kamlet, co-founder of Shimmering Wings and director of Camp Erin Denver. "They go to camp and they have fun, but they also meet other kids in their same situation."

Denver’s first Camp Erin will be held September 12 to 14 at Shwayder Camp of Temple Emanuel in Idaho Springs. The camp is available to kids ages six to 17, but space is limited and campers are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications to attend are due August 11.

Get Involved: Camp Erin needs camp nurses, cabin buddies, activity coordinators, and photographers. If you are interested, contact contact Shimmering Wings at 720-443-3178 by July 18.