May 12, 2024 - News

A camp for grieving kids

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Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

Comfort Zone Camp, a nonprofit bereavement camp for children that's been around for 25 years, is coming to Charlotte for the first time in September.

Zoom out: CZC offers free camps to children who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, primary caregiver or other loved one. In addition to traditional camp activities like archery and rope courses, CZC provides grief support led by licensed professionals.

Zoom in: In Charlotte, CZC's camp will be held Sept. 6-8 at YMCA Camp Thunderbird. The hope is to continue in Charlotte after this year, organizers say.

  • It's for children ages 7-17, or 18 if they're still in high school. The camp receives its funding through donations and grants.
  • Comfort Zone also hosts camps in Greensboro and Wake Forest.

By the numbers: Approximately 1 in 12 children in the U.S. will lose a parent or sibling by the time they turn 18, according to the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model.

  • In North Carolina, however, 1 in 11 children will experience such a loss.

What they're saying: "It's a place where kids don't have to feel alone in their grief and they know there are other kids like them," CZC assistant regional director Katie Pereira tells Axios.

  • Periera was 7 when she lost her father on Sept. 11. Her mother sent her to CZC soon after, and she's been involved with the organization ever since.

What's next: Every camper has a trained adult "Big Buddy" at camp, so CZC is seeking volunteers ahead of time.

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