Updated May 2021
Thank you for your interest in the Wendt Center’s Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC, a camp program dedicated to providing fun, supportive opportunities to young people to explore feelings, thoughts and life changes since the death of their loved one. Due to Covid, 2020 was the first time in 21 years that the Wendt Center could not provide an in person grief sleep away camp for children. We are incredibly excited to be able to offer a day camp experience this summer!
Accompanying this letter is a multi-part application form that includes registration information, bereavement history, medical information, and other camp-related questions. The Wendt Center remains fully committed to the health of our volunteers, staff, and community and are mindfully making decisions that follow Covid safe precautions and protocols.
2021 Camp Dates: This year, we will hold (3) one day, day camps for different age groups between July-August 2021 in Washington, DC. Camp programming will take place indoor and outdoors depending on the site. There is no registration fee for camp. Applications will be available on May 1, 2021 to new and returning campers.
- SESSION I: (ages 6-9 years old) – FRIDAY- JULY 16, 2021 9-5 PM
- SESSION II: (ages 10-12 years old) – FRIDAY- JULY 30, 2021 9-5 PM
- SESSION III: (ages 13-17 years old) – FRIDAY- AUGUST 13, 2021 9-5 PM
- SESSION IV: Virtual Grieving Families Healing Together Workshops – OCTOBER – DECEMBER – Applications will be available in September.
Transportation: Parents/guardians will be responsible to make their own arrangements for transportation of their camper to and from the campsite.
Staffing: Wendt Center staff with expertise in the grief process and specially trained volunteers, all of whom have experienced the death of a loved one, will lead the grief activities and supervise recreation and the overall camp experience. We will maintain a medical staff member on site during each of the camps to respond to any medical problems that may arise.
Who should apply: Any child between 6-17 years old living in the metro Washington DC area who has experienced the death of a significant individual in their life. Deaths should have occurred before March 1, 2021.
Interviews/Acceptances: Our goal is to provide a fun, rewarding and healing day camp experience for your child(ren)! Acceptance to the camp will be based on several criteria. Because we want to ensure the best possible experience for every Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC participant, each registration will be reviewed in detail and include an interview before the application process is complete. Campers’ applications will be screened to determine their appropriateness for this specialized camp prior to final acceptance to camp. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; however, space is extremely limited so apply early. Military families are encouraged to apply.
Returning Campers: This year, returning campers will be put on a waiting list. They will be processed on a first come first serve basis along with consideration for the changes that have occurred in their life within the last year, if a sibling is attending for the first time, and other factors decided by the Clinical Team and Camp Director. You will be notified after all new campers have been processed first.
Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC applications must be received by June 11, 2021, but we urge you to submit them as soon as possible.
Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC offers a uniquely fun and healing experience.
- Must be between 6-17 years old
- Must have experienced a death-related human loss
- Must live in the Washington DC/Metropolitan area
- Must be willing to participate in a virtual interview/assessment
- Must be able to attend full day of camp
- Must be willing to follow Covid 19 camp policies and procedures (including screening and healthy practices) to help reduce the risk of Covid 19 transmission between participants
Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC is founded on the belief that every person deserves the opportunity to express his or her feelings of grief in a supportive and understanding environment. Based on this belief, the guiding principles of Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC are:
- Grief is a normal process in response to the loss of a loved one
- Each child has the natural capacity to heal in his or her own timeframe
- The duration and intensity of grief is unique to each individual
- Caring, listening and acceptance assist in the healing process
The Camp Model
For 20 years, Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC offered a 2-night 3-day overnight bereavement camp experience to young people ages 6-17. Campers were matched with adult buddies who mentored them through the grief camp weekend. Due to Covid restrictions and precautions, the camp model will be reformed; however, the Wendt Center’s commitment to providing a safe, fun, supportive environment remains steadfast.
The day camp will offer traditional camp activities, Trained volunteers will support and mentor campers throughout all activities. Volunteers are specially trained to serve as role models in the grief process and help provide companionship. The individual attention that volunteers provide to campers is what makes Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC so special. Professional licensed therapists and counselors will lead several therapeutic group sessions designed to address the age-specific needs of grieving campers.
Each applicant will be virtually interviewed to assess readiness for this year’s camp. This assessment will measure each child’s needs related to grief and loss.
Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC Campers will enjoy a full day of traditional camp activities and grief focused workshops to help them explore a variety of ways to express themselves while developing skills. All the activities are specially designed to help campers express themselves and develop bonds with others. Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC is provided free of charge. Meals and snacks will be provided during the day camp.
- Applications will be available on May 1, 2021.
- We will process applications as they are received, so you are encouraged to return your application as soon as possible. Spaces are very limited.
- As our primary consideration is the camper’s need for support, we cannot promise an assignment until we have reviewed all applications.
For 2021 camps, we are no longer accepting new camp volunteer applications. If you are interested in being placed on the waitlist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camp Volunteer Fundraising Challenge
Fundraising is a part of your commitment to be being a Camp Volunteer!
- We are asking you to fundraise with a goal of $350. As in the past, this enables Camp to happen and be free for all campers (45 expected campers this summer).
- At the height of the pandemic, volunteers still committed to fundraising last Spring enabling the Wendt Center to facilitate 13 family camp workshops!
- In 2021, Wendt Center will host 3 one-day in person Camps and 6 virtual family workshops.
- Money raised enables campers to attend Camp for free, pays for supplies, programming, and gives us the opportunity to provide a meaningful experience for all.
We appreciate your continued commitment and support of the DC area’s grieving children and families.
Profiles of Children who have attended camp
To help you better tell the story of campers and volunteers at past 3-day Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC, we have gathered a few mini-profiles of children and buddies who have attended:
“I was paired with a very energetic and vibrant 11-year-old girl. Her mom got sick and died when she was very young. Although the little girl was playful and fully embraced all the fun activities at camp, she struggled to deal with the grief she had for her mom. She was also learning how to build a relationship with her new stepmom. I could fully relate to her because I also lost my mom from an illness and had to become acquainted with a new woman in my dad’s life.”
“My little buddy last summer was a very quiet and private 13-year-old girl mourning the loss of her father, who died suddenly of a heart attack. Her parents got divorced a few years ago, but she still saw him in the afternoons as he cared for her and her siblings when they got home from school. Not only was she adjusting to not having him there every day, but she was also going to be transferring to a more challenging private school in the fall. She was still adjusting to the changes going on all around her when we met.”
“A” is 7-year-old and lost her father to a homicide last year. She lives with her mother in DC. “A” is quiet, smart, and quick to laugh or lend a hand. Her buddy was Dianne who does social work in a hospice for her full time job. This was Dianne’s first year at Camp but had done a similar Camp previously. Dianne lost her sister to a car accident when she was 11 and her sister was 10.
“Our group’s youngest girl was Maggie, who is 6. Maggie’s caretaker (her grandmother) died and she now lives with her mother and two siblings (who were also at Camp) in DC. Maggie bonded quickly with her group, both buddies and campers, and took the end of camp the hardest. Maggie’s buddy was Marissa. Marissa was the youngest buddy in our group at 25 and this was her first year. Marissa is working towards her MSW so she was well prepared. Marissa lost her best friend in a car accident.”
7-year old Kevin misses his older sister who died of cancer. He has also lost a grandmother, a live-in grandfather and an uncle. Kevin is a born comedian and entertained both his fellow campers and buddies with original songs, dancing, and other antics. His buddy was Sean – a first-time buddy at Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC. Sean lost his father to cancer.
Watch Camp Videos
Testimonials from past volunteers during 3-day camps
“I had a great time and enjoyed an impactful and emotional experience. I loved meeting my buddy and helping her open up about the loss of her mother. My small group was outstanding as was my group leader. The food was great, as was the diversity of activities offered. The art projects were wonderful, as were the confidence course, the therapy dogs, the boat memorial, and the field games. It was a great experience overall, and I plan to return again. Thank you for a wonderful experience.”
“Losing my mother was a horrible thing, but as a result of your camp, I am able to build again. What I learned, who I met, children I reached, feelings I felt, the grieving I did, the lives I touched, the tears I cried, the songs I sang and the loss I overcame will always remain. That’s what I will remember forever. It was truly a great experience. Thanks again!”
“Listening to these devastated children and witnessing their strength was the most meaningful part of camp for me.”
“I find being at camp to be such a meaningful experience overall. I am so glad that something like camp exists for these kids. It was hard enough going through the death of a loved one as a (semi-adults when I had the words to describe my feelings and I can’t imagine what it would be like as a kid. Being part of helping show the campers that grief is OK and that they will be OK is very powerful.”
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin®DC Volunteer. The Wendt Center relies heavily on volunteers to make our children’s grief camp a success!
For questions about Camp Volunteer requirements, the application process, or general volunteer questions, please contact email@example.com. Feel free to ask about other ways you can help out if camp is not a good match.
Eluna is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to support children and families impacted by grief or addiction. Founded in 2000 in Seattle by former MLB pitcher Jamie Moyer and child advocate Karen Phelps Moyer, Eluna was originally called The Moyer Foundation and launched a series of programs supporting thousands of children and families annually at no cost to them. Camp Erin® is the largest national network of grief programs for bereaved children and teens, Camp Mariposa® is a national addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth impacted by a family member’s substance use disorder, and the Eluna Resource Center offers online tools, local referrals and personalized phone and email support for families experiencing grief, addiction and other related issues. For more information, please visit elunanetwork.org.
Looking for important grief resources to help a child, friend or family member in your community or nationwide? We are proud to share the Eluna Resource Center.
Its straightforward design makes it easy to search for articles, videos, activities, and referrals to local programs. In addition, Eluna offers free personalized recommendations with a 24-hour turn-around. Email Eluna with any questions. For Eluna’s COVID-19 resources, please click here.
We truly appreciate the support of local, national and international businesses that have become an ally in making a difference in the lives of children in the Washington, DC area including:
Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC campers will experience a gift that will last a lifetime. If your organization is interested in becoming a Corporate Sponsor or making in-kind donations, please contact Carolyn Stanek Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-204-5010.
Camp Erin film, “One Last Hug” Wins Emmy
The Moyer Foundation produced an Emmy-Award winning documentary about children’s grief camps: “One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp.” Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC is a part of the Moyer-funded network of camps. The film is available via HBO GO. Click here to see the trailer.
Newspaper Articles and Live Broadcast
- Download Radio Interview about “Bereavement Camps” with Stephanie Handel, Linda Perlis and Sandra Burt of Parents’ Perspective (February 2011) below.
Listen to Part 1
Listen to Part II
- Download the Washington Times article about 2009 Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin D.C.
- Read the Washington Post article about 2004 Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin D.C.