When a child has felt the devastating loss of a parent or loved one, spending time with others who understand their pain is a good way for everyone to heal together. That’s why Camp Good Grief is the perfect fit for young people who have experienced such a heartbreaking loss.
Camp Good Grief is an organization which aims to assist bereaved children, teens and their families in coping with their special needs. It serves to help young people grieve, even when it might appear to others they are not affected. The camp hosts two sessions annually that are open to anyone from or connected to Staten Island, who is between the ages of 7 and 17 and has experienced the significant loss of a loved one. It does not have to be a parent or relative.
Camp Good Grief founder Linda Steinman is no stranger to loss. Widowed at a young age, she then married a man who had also lost a spouse, and together they raised five children who had all lost a parent. Sadly, one of those children was lost during 9/11. It was those experiences that led Mrs. Steinman and her husband, Irwin, to initiate Camp Good Grief in 2010.
Camp is held in both the spring and fall at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island (1466 Manor Rd.). Everything is provided as needed for those attending. According to Mrs. Steinman, the activities are “not therapy but therapeutic.” The indoor, weekend-long event includes drumming, memory boxes, mask-making, arts and crafts, dance, magic shows, a visit from a naturalist with live animals, and a special performance by Illuminart Productions called “Sometimes I Just Want Ice Cream,” an original play by and for students about experiencing loss.
On Saturday night, camp hosts a special memorial service, featuring a balloon launch, for all campers. “Some children are precluded from other services,” Mrs. Steinman remarked. “So it’s a very important part of the camp, and a very therapeutic part as well.”
Each camp session hosts between 30 and 35 kids. Their next camp will be held during the last weekend of May and registration is ongoing. To learn more about Camp Good Grief or to register, volunteer, or donate, go to campgoodgriefsi.org. You can also call Linda Steinman at 917-273-6845.