In June 2022, over forty campers between the ages of 4 – 17 gathered in majestic Colorado Springs for an incredible three-day adventure—forging new friendships, boosting confidence, and learning valuable coping skills to help deal with their losses. For eleven years, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has partnered with Comfort Zone Camp to provide children of fallen firefighters with a safe, therapeutic environment in which to heal. Dedicated to the memory of Hal Bruno, the camp is free-of-charge for children, and also includes panel and roundtable discussions to help support parents and caregivers.
Through sharing stories and having open discussions about their losses, campers find comfort in community. At Kids Camp, the building blocks of connection and understanding lay the groundwork for new insights and lasting relationships.
Volunteers Trained in Grief Counseling Matched with Campers
Grief is a multi-layered and complex emotional struggle—and Kids Camp provides invaluable tools designed to help each individual camper. Their losses could be as recent as three months or as long ago as five years or more; their loved ones include parents, stepparents, and siblings. All of these relationships cast a different shadow of grief.
- To ensure that every camper has the best possible experience, a specially trained Big Buddy volunteer was carefully matched with each child to provide individualized care.
- Campers also participated in grief support groups called Healing Circles. Led by professional grief therapists, these are designed to meet campers’ specific needs, facilitating bonding and greater understanding.
Volunteers from all over the country – a total of 46 – donated their time before and during camp to help ensure a successful outcome for each and every child.
Two Age-Specific Tracks for Kids
Camp HAL (Healing After Loss) focuses on young children from ages 4-6. It offers programs led by a licensed therapist that utilizes play therapy and expressive therapy for children who are grieving.
Comfort Zone Camp is designed for children ages 7-17 (18 if still in HS). It features programming that empowers older children to grieve, heal, and grow.
One – among many – impressive statistics from Kids Camp attendees stands out: 96% of campers responded they were interested in helping others cope with grief. In fact, Kids Camp is so much more than a once-a-year opportunity for personal growth and education – it is a building block for a community that infuses young people with a renewed sense of purpose.
What better way to honor the memory of a loved one dedicated to service than by continuing the powerful and life-changing legacy of helping others in need?