Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC is a free weekend, sleep-away grief camp that gives children an opportunity to enter a safe space — away from their everyday lives — to gently explore the normal process of grief. Love, laughter, learning and leisure are the needs of all children, especially those who have recently experienced the death of a loved one. The camp is not designed as a replacement for therapy but as an enjoyable opportunity to explore grief where a child’s self-expression is heard, valued and honored.
Camp-Forget-Me-Not offers a uniquely fun and healing experience.
- Has never attended a Wendt Center Grief Camp
- Must be between 7-17 years old
- Must have experienced a death-related loss
- Must live in the Washington DC/Metropolitan area
- Must be willing to come in for an interview/assessment
- Must be able to attend camp: Friday-Sunday
- 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
As part of the Wendt Center’s commitment to individual well-being, a $10 assessment fee is required. This assessment will measure each child’s needs related to grief and loss. Applicants are interviewed to assess for appropriateness and readiness for camp as well as other services if applicable.
If this fee prevents your child(ren) from participating in camp, please contact us (202) 624-0010 x 150. No child will be denied access to camp based on an inability to pay the $10.
All prospective campers are interviewed and assessed for readiness and appropriateness prior to acceptance.
- Please click here for camper application.
- We will process applications as they are received, so you are encouraged to return your application as soon as possible.
- As our primary consideration is the camper’s need for support, we cannot promise an assignment until we have reviewed all applications.
Join our team of over 80 dedicated volunteers to change a child’s life.
Camp Volunteer Requirements Checklist
For new volunteers:
- I will have two Volunteer References submitted on my behalf by non-family individuals. More information is provided in the application.
For all volunteers:
- I have experienced the death of a person.
- I am at least 21 years old.
- I am not a current client of the Wendt Center and/or have not been a client since January 1, 2019.
- I do not have a family member who is attending camp as a camper this summer.
- I will commit to fundraise $350. These funds are essential to provide this important camp at no cost to campers. If I raise $1,000 or more, I will receive a golden ticket to the Wendt Center Annual Fall Gala.
- I will consent to a background check if required. More information is provided in the application. If ordered through the Wendt Center, a $45 fee will apply.
- I will be available to actively participate in the entire camp weekend.
- I will attend my required training
2019 Camp Volunteer Fund Raising Challenge
As a 2019 Camp volunteer, you have committed to trying to raise $350 in sponsorships by July 15, 2019. Volunteers who raise $1,000 or more will receive a “Golden Ticket” to the Annual Benefit (which will be held this year on Thursday, November 13, 2019) OR a voucher for a free training through our recently launched Training Institute (this is a great way to learn some skills for navigating grief and trauma for yourself and those most important to you). Volunteers who raise $3,000 or more will receive both. Last year, Camp volunteers raised over $50,000! We were extremely proud that 14 camp volunteers qualified to be invited as special guests to the Benefit.
Thank you for your commitment to this critical fundraising effort. We are depending on your success to reach your individual goal. We will be there to help you in any way we can!
Once accepted as a Camp volunteer, you will receive a link in your email to set-up your QGiv account. QGiv is a fun and intuitive way to collect donations, check your progress, and compete with your fellow volunteers to raise the most money.
We thank you for your commitment to our Camp Volunteer Fundraiser. Remember – your efforts make a positive difference in our program.
List of Fundraising Ideas to get you started
Here are some ideas to get you started on your fundraising campaign:
- An e-mail campaign: Petition everyone you know via e-mail to solicit donations. You can customize our template, or be creative with your own version.
- Throw a fundraising party! Always nice to have a reason to celebrate and create awareness for a good cause. Invite your family, friends and neighbors to bring donations–cash or check.
- Facebook- Campaign for camp donations via Facebook or other social media. If you are a returning volunteer, post a “Flashback Friday” or a “Throwback Thursday” picture of yourself at camp last year on social media and ask friends for donations. (Please do not post pictures of our campers, but do post the link to your personalized QGiv page.) If you are a new volunteer, post pictures of yourself getting ready for camp (e.g., buying bug spray at the volunteer training!)
- Have a birthday coming up? Ask your kind and generous family and friends to “send you to camp” in lieu of the usual gifts. As an extra bonus, their donation will be “green”—no excessive packaging, gift wrap or trips to the mall.
- Ask your local place of worship if they might feature you in a newsletter or bulletin and ask your church family to support your efforts with a donation.
- Yard or Craigslist Sale: Is it time to downsize your wardrobe or spring clean your home? Consider selling unwanted items in a yard sale or on Craigslist and donate the proceeds towards your camp sponsorship.
- Many workplaces now offer matching gifts when their employees volunteer or donate to a cherished cause. DON’T FORGET TO CHECK WITH YOUR EMPLOYER to see if they might contribute to your sponsorships.
*To assist other volunteers, please share your additional fundraising ideas with us.
Online donations can be made at: the Wendt Center’s donation page
To ensure you receive credit toward your camp sponsorship, please inform your sponsors to select “Change Recipient” and search for your name.
Profiles of Children who have attended camp
To help you better tell the story of campers and volunteers at Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC, we have gathered a few mini-profiles of children and buddies who have attended:
“I was matched with eight-year-old H, who lost her dad to a brain tumor about 4 years ago. Since the buddy matching process takes into account age, how the buddy and camper lost their loved ones, gender, and other compatibility factors, H was matched with a volunteer who had also lost her father to a brain tumor. H’s 10-year-old sister also attended Camp. Their mother worried the two girls would want to spend a lot of time together but they actually seemed to enjoy the break from each other. H was very quiet and shy about participating in Camp activities at first but she soon warmed up and made friends with the other campers in our group. She enjoyed arts and crafts and liked helping out with the meals.”
“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.
“D” is 7 years old and his mother died from a asthma attack last year. D’s mother was 36 when she passed and Danni lives with her father in DC. “D” is sweet and very affectionate. Her buddy was Brenda and this was Brenda’s 8th year at Camp, so she was a pro. Brenda lost her father when she was 5 years old.
“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
Feel fee to use these videos to show your friends and family why they should support Camp-Forget-Me-Not!
Testimonials from past volunteers
“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.”
“It was an amazing and wonderful weekend! You all do such a great job organizing everything! You also make us feel so valuable and appreciated!”
“It is one of the most rewarding volunteering experiences I’m aware of. Your time is being used very, very well.”
“I love camp!”
“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.”
- Please click here for the 2019 Camp Forget-Me-Not/Camp Erin DC volunteer application.
- We will process applications as they are received, so you are encouraged to return your application as soon as possible.
- You will receive a confirmation of your 2018 volunteer status by email. No volunteer spot is guaranteed.
- We do maintain a waiting list for all volunteers that are initially declined.
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 Kim Green, Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com. Feel free to ask about other ways you can help out if camp is not a good match.
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. In 2017, our Corporate Sponsors include:
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 Andrew Eron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-204-5022.
Camp Erin film, “One Last Hug” Wins Emmy
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.