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Camp Erin: Where Children and Teens Learn to Grieve and Heal

Youth aged 6-17 attend a transformational free camp that provides an opportunity to increase hope, self-esteem and learn they are not alone

Photo of C. Elizabeth Dougherty
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Camp Erin is offered in every Major League Baseball city with locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Moyer Foundation partners with hospices and bereavement organizations to bring hope and healing to thousands of grieving children and teens each year. Camp Erin allows youth to: tell their story in a fun and safe environment; process grief in healthy ways; meet peers facing similar circumstances; learn they are not alone; build a tool-box of coping skills; honor and memorialize loved ones.

Camp Erin Hamilton is a 3 day therapeutic camp for children and teens who have experienced the death of someone close to them. In partnership between the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice and The Moyer Foundation, this camp is provided annually. 2015 was a trans-formative experience for campers and volunteers alike!

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I am grateful to volunteer with Camp Erin and encourage others to explore opportunities for everyone - especially children and youth - to connect and access support prior to the death of a loved one and well into bereavement.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

It is so important to normalize and destigmatize dying, death and bereavement while building capacity within our communities to support everyone impacted by the death of a loved one. I hope that we can develop death literacy within schools, in our communities, and healthcare institutions to overcome the fear of dying and death. I ask everyone to explore opportunities to engage as many people as possible in this conversation.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am hospice palliative care psychosocial clinician and educator.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rohena Round

I love this! How many young people have attended Camp Erin so far?

Photo of C. Elizabeth Dougherty

That is a great question Rohena. Am sure The Moyer Foundation can confirm the numbers of campers thus far.

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