As many of you know I am involved with an organization that is very dear to me, Comfort Zone Camp (CZC). I have been helping at the camps for 4 years now and have spent the last 2.5 years also sitting on their Volunteer Council.
For those unfamilair, CZC is the nation's largest bereavement camp for children who have lost a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. It's a fun and safe place for grieving children. Free of charge to campers and volunteers, CZC is based out of Richmond, VA with a satellite camp in New Jersey. Serving kids allover the country, including Canada and England, CZC is now offering camps at new locations in California and Boston. At camp these kids get to meet other kids that are also hurting - they see that they are not alone. They learn that all their feelings are normal. It's okay to cry. It's okay to remember. It's okay to smile and have fun.
I just returned from camp and every time I go it's an amazing experience. The children have such stories. Some similar to mine - I lost my dad to cancer when I was 13, grandparents, uncles, and friends over the years - and some quite different from mine. Some experience multiple losses. No matter the loss, these kids show such strength and courage. They are stronger than they realize. They are truly inspriational. They have no idea the effect that their smile leaves on your soul.
Camp is a "reality check" in a way. sometimes we think our lives are so hard. We get mad at the computer for being slow. We get frustrated becuase our run times are slower than we would like. It's so easy to get caught up in the little things in life. so what the computer is being slow - at least we have one. So we aren't running our ideal pace - but at least we can run.
We have to keep in mind that everything we do we do it with our friends and fmaily at our sides. And that is what is important in life.
We need to remember to tell our friends that are our family.
We need to remember to tell our family that they are loved.
We are all so truly blessed in so many ways, even if we have experienced a loss. There is always a silver lining.
What made this camp have an extra special sparkle to it was the loss that the camp itself overcame. As we were all packing for camp Thursday night, someone broke into the camp offices and stole computers, money, etc. Fortunately, no personal information was taken. Although the camp staff walked in Friday morning to find police fingerprinting everything, they ran with what they had and made sure that camp this weekend went off just as normal regardless of the loss they were dealing with. Campers never knew this happened. And most of the volunteers had no idea either.
Like I said, there is always a silver lining.
Although the camp headquarters may have lost some computers and money. They were given attention by local news and radio spreading the word on this great organization which will hopefully get to another grieveing child in need.
Times like this , when someone acts so poorly, it brings out the good in others. As the camp staff got to the offices on Monday they were met by a local alarm system donating a FREE system and a YEAR'S worth of monthly monitoring fees. They have been blessed with donations. and in jsut a few weeks in their annual black tie fundraiser gala. The mission of Comfort Zone Camp continues to grow.