About Camp Erin
Camp Erin Toronto is a 3 day-long overnight bereavement camp in Muskoka for children and youth aged 6-17. Camp Erin is provided at no cost to families and is open to any child who has experienced the death of an immediate family member or custodial caregiver, regardless of cause or length of time since the death.
There is no catchment area for Camp Erin as long as the camper can get to drop-off or Camp Manitou. Campers come through a variety of avenues, including community, child protection, health and mental health agencies, schools, word of mouth, and existing clients of the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre. All are welcome. Camp Erin Toronto strives to create an environment that honours and reflects the diversity of individuals and families in our communities.
Camp Erin Toronto combines traditional outdoor camp activities, such as swimming, high ropes and canoeing with grief education and emotional support activities, such as memory bears, ‘Ask the Doctor’ sessions and a candlelight memorial ceremony. Activities focus on providing campers with the tools needed to help them in their grief and with difficult experiences throughout their lives, while enhancing overall wellness, play and vitality. Camp Erin gives children and youth the opportunity to meet with other grieving kids in a fun and natural environment; understanding that they are not the only ones to experience the death of someone close to them decreases the sense of isolation that many grieving children experience.
The Camp Erin experience includes a Camper Meet and Greet and Caregiver Orientation event, Camp Erin weekend, and Camp Reunion. The Meet and Greet and Orientation occurs prior to camp and helps increase comfort with the weekend and ease anxieties around separation for both campers and caregivers. Many campers describe their Camp Erin weekend as transformational, changing the course of their grieving and making a significant positive impact on the trajectory of their young lives. All activities are facilitated by our grief counsellors and trained volunteers.