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Description of Service
When a young girl’s parent dies, her childhood is forever altered. Huge challenges lie ahead of her as she confronts a life that is suddenly very different from what it used to be.
Circle Camps is a unique program that offers a week of traditional overnight camp to girls who have experienced the death of a parent. By spending time with other girls who understand, Circle campers feel less alone in their loss.
The program’s youngest campers are entering third grade, and the oldest are entering eighth. Campers live in bunks with three counselors, and participate in a full program of waterfront, arts and crafts, and land sports. A carefully planned schedule keeps the girls busy from breakfast until bedtime.
During the course of the week, there are several structured opportunities for campers to share and rework their stories of loss. Under the guidance of a professional, each bunk comes together in a “Circle Time”. This offers every girl a chance to share memories of her deceased parent with her bunkmates. Crafts projects allow girls to memorialize their parents. Later in the week, there is an evening campfire that focuses on the theme of loss. A service held on the final morning of camp is especially meaningful as all campers and counselors place a personally inscribed rock in a memory garden. And, throughout the week, there are spontaneous conversations – in the bunks, on walks down to the lake, during rest hour – that help campers feel supported and connected to each other.
Despite the sadness that is present in these girls’ lives, the days at Circle Camps are typically filled with smiling, laughing and singing. Circle offers its campers a time to play.