This is my 5th year at camp because of YOUR help!
"It's been a long day without you, my friend. I'll tell you all about it when I see you again. We've come a long way from where we began. Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again." - Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth
How is a child supposed to understand death when they don't even understand life?
Once again, I am hoping to call on you to help me support 'my' kids. They are me & I am them.
I experienced an incredible loss as a child and when looking back on that, wish a camp like this existed then. Perhaps things wouldn't have been so difficult for my brother and I, as well as for the adults in our lives. It was hard for them to understand our responses to this grief while tackling their own. Nobody knew the signs of distress.
This camp brings awareness and healing to these kids and their caregivers. And, because of you, it doesn't cost them anything.
Some of these kids have lost their parents to suicide, drug overdoses, and murder. Some of them go to live with their grandparents or another relative who then die from cancer and heart disease. Now what? We hope they find a good foster home. Nevermind amusement parks and beach vacations, this new family needs to afford clothes and shoes. And counseling.
There are kids that have lost a sibling. Both parents are grieving as well as the rest of the family but they still have to go to work to provide for the household. They also have the potential to be 'a little short', especially if they just paid for their child's funeral and are (hopefully) starting therapy.
This is why camp is free: A few dollars shouldn't create a barrier for kids to feel safe, supported and understood, while learning healthy coping skills and the art of balance.
However, there are operating costs. There is transportation. There are three meals a day, snacks and beverages. There are craft materials and art supplies. There is bug spray and sunscreen. There is a carnival. Yes, after we've built trust and dried our tears, we try to have a little fun! (Think elementary school cafeteria with games, face painting and prizes. No pony rides or elephants!)
Most important, there is a safe environment: All volunteers have reoccurring background checks.
This camp relies entirely on donations.
I don't like asking people for money and I'm not a good salesperson but this year I'd like to show some tangible appreciation for your help in getting me back to camp.
Donations of any amount will receive a copy of an original thank you card that I will create after I return home from camp.
If you donate $35, I will send you a sympathy greeting card (created by me) with envelope seals for you to send to someone at a time of loss or grief.
If you donate $50, I will send you two greeting cards: a sympathy card and a pursuant 'care' card for you to send them later so they know you're still thinking about them and their loss (with seals).
If you donate $100, I will send you two cards with envelope seals, a soft cover copy of my book and a bookmark gift tag.
If you donate $250, I will send you two cards (seals included) and a hard cover copy of my book with bookmark gift tag.
If you donate $500, I will send you a complete set of items from the 'empathy & encouragement' collection I created (assorted cards with seals, both books with gift tags and an unframed poster depicting resiliency).
IF YOU RECENTLY DONATED VIA PROMPTS FROM A WENDT CENTER MAILING, PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO IT CAN BE ALLOCATED TOWARD MY FUNDRAISING GOAL & I WILL SEND YOU MY PROPER THANKS!
A sample of some of these items can be seen here https://caroledarbypresents.wixsite.com/grief/gifts
To see the Camp Forget-Me-Not slideshow from my first year in 2015, please click here https://youtu.be/SG0y7VZQCdc
Notes: One of the few songs we hear at camp while we share our last meal together, is the song in the video at the top of this page. "See You Again" was commissioned and performed by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth and was released in 2015 as a tribute to actor Paul Walker, who died in a single-car accident in 2013.
I didn't choose the large 'banner' photo at the top of this page but I believe it was taken during the Arena Stage Voices of Now programme. It is an interesting activity! It teaches us how to demonstrate our thoughts and feelings, be it good or bad, through expression and movement. Please learn more about the ensemble here https://www.arenastage.org/education/voices-of-now/