Driving through the Poconos in Pennsylvania, just 120 miles west of New York City, we pull through the gates of Camp Equinunk and the campus unfolds before us. We arrive just as the sun begins to set on a busy and active day of fun, and the energy we feel makes it apparent that this isn’t your average summer camp.
Camp Equinunk is part of Experience Camps, and it’s a place where grieving children come together to have fun, form bonds, learn coping skills, and know they’re not alone. The secret ingredient to this magical place is the depth and inclusiveness of the relationships that are formed.
Experience Camps has four locations around the country with more than 600 campers, 300 volunteers, 25 licensed clinicians, and countless others whose lives have been affected by loss.
On this final night of camp, the campers gather one last time for their closing campfire. We watch as each child is invited up to light a candle for their person or people who died and to share a few words about camp, grief, or friendship. It’s a remarkably moving experience—one that leaves us emotionally drained, but also charged with hope for each of these resilient kids. The road through grief can be a long one for a child. Thanks to Experience Camps, that journey is shared with understanding friends and a newfound community of support.