Two Maine summer camps help children deal with death of loved ones

Published: May. 9, 2019 at 2:22 PM EDT
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A special camp that helps children grieve returns to Maine this summer.

August 19th - 24th children come together to spend a week at the "Manitou Experience for Boys" in Oakland and the "Somerset Experience for Girls" in Smithfield.

Experience Camps provide free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. Along with swimming, arts and crafts, and team sports, the kids take part in bereavement activities including sharing circles where they are encouraged to talk about their grief.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 1.5 million children are living in a single-family household because of the death of one parent. Grieving children are at higher risk than their non-grieving peers for depression, anxiety, poor school attendance or dropping out, isolation, behavior problems, lowered academic achievement, drug and/or alcohol abuse, incarceration or suicide.

Experience Camps are a place where kids can laugh, cry, play, create, remember the person who died, or forget the grief that weighs them down. It's a place where they can feel "normal", because everyone there has been through something similar and understands what it's like to lose someone important to them.

Camps are currently accepting referrals and applications for boys entering grades 4 – 12 and girls entering grades 4 – 8 in the 2019 / 20 school year. For more information, log on to