With just one more day left in summer for the girls, school here starts Wednesday, they spent last week on the east end of Long Island at their fourth year of Camp Good Grief. If you want me to save you the click (although I would suggest taking the journey), Camp Good Grief is a week-long program for kids who have lost a close relative (think parent, sibling or grandparent). This year at Camp Good Grief 15.0 was a counselor and 12.5 was a fourth year camper (normally it’s only three years).
Over the years I’ve used Camp Good Grief as a check in point to the emotional status of the girls. They spend time in art therapy and group therapy – and on the last day of camp I can get feedback from both. This year I’ll admit my level of concern was a little lower than normal, and with good reason according to the therapists – 12.5 is doing more than OK.
The broader experience this year though was both girls (although 15.0 more) got the feeling of giving back to the micro-community they belong to – children who have lost a loved one. It happens. It happened to me. It’s part of life. But there is a sense of peace that comes with knowing you’re not alone (at least that is what my girls have told me).
15.0 had such a great experience, she’s ready to sign up for another year as a counselor. 12.5 will be eligible to be a counselor next year – and it looks like she’ll apply as well.
Three out of the four years my girls have gone to Camp Good Grief, it’s been at the Peconic Dunes Camp Grounds closer to the end of the North Fork of Long Island than anything else. It’s about an hour from our door to drop off – so it’s a long week of driving and logistics for me as the girls continue with soccer (15.0) and softball (12.5), and getting ready for school and catching up with friends.
For me though, it really has been time well spent. Sure, the year it was only 20 minutes from our house (at a different camp grounds) it was even easier. But to borrow (and butcher) Teddy Roosevelt, no one is saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
Camp Good Grief – another year in the books and it looks like another year ahead. And it’s OK. I’ll put the time in. I’ve tried to teach the girls about giving back to their community and family – so how could I complain when they are giving back to their micro-community?