It is difficult to find words to describe what it is that makes A Camp to Remember, our grief camps for children and teens, so special. As part of their Senior Project at Hellgate High School, Melissa Hurt and Madisun Bessette created a video that did just that.
“A Camp To Remember is truly a magical place. Although it’s a ‘bereavement’ camp, I feel that its main accomplishment is the ability to celebrate life.”
– a young camper
Since 1997, our staff has been facilitating grief camps in the mountains and on the lakes of western Montana. Our director has led over 50 grief camps.
Set amidst Montana’s pines and mountain lakes, A Camp to Remember Youth Camp is a fun, supportive, and healing summer camp for kids age 8 to 14 who are grieving the death of a loved one. A Camp to Remember Youth Camp offers kids unique opportunities for grief work and commemorative activities. Under the guidance of professionals with expertise in bereavement and outdoor activities, grieving and remembering are balanced with a healthy dose of traditional camp fun: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, campfires, games, singing, arts and crafts, treasure hunts, nature walks, and “secret pals.”
“For me [camp] was like letting go and holding on at the same time…It also helped me learn to hold on to my sister and my best friend in my heart and memory by carrying on with my life and sharing with others their strengths and my own.”
– first year camper
Many campers return year after year, acting as mentors to those attending camp for the first time. Experienced campers in high school can participate as a Peers-As-Leaders (PAL), helping out with younger campers. To become a PAL a teen must be a responsible, enthusiastic, positive role model with strong leadership skills and past ACTR or Teen Retreat experience.
“I’m very grateful for the many camps I’ve attended. They have allowed me to share the most painful experience of my life—with my peers who have had a similar experience—and to be there for others who are hurting.”
– 17-year-old PAL
A Camp To Remember Youth Camp includes:
- Consultation with parent/guardian to determine child’s likelihood to benefit from grief camp
- Information packets to families (Camp info, grief resources, and tip sheets)
- Training packet to staff (Info on childhood grief, leadership, communication, activities)
- 6-hour Professional Training/Orientation for Staff Team
- 4-day, 3-night Grief Camp at Georgetown Lake or Flathead Lake
- T-shirts and stuffed animals for campers – symbols of care and togetherness
- Parent/Guardian Workshop – “Supporting our Kids; Supporting our Selves”
- Family Day: Bringing campers & families together to share stories, songs, & good food!
- Holiday Cards: Greetings and support for kids and staff during the winter
- Camp Reunions: Gatherings for campers to maintain contact and strengthen support network
Parents of bereaved children face the challenge of supporting their children while journeying through their own grief. Parents are invited to join staff on the last day of camp for a workshop focusing on what happened at camp, ideas for supporting grieving kids, differences between child and adult grief, and what parents can do to take care of themselves while nurturing their kids.
Our retreats at Flathead Lake, Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley focus on the unique needs of grieving teens. Many become “leaders,” supporting younger peers at camps.
To request an application and registration materials, please contact us: