About Comfort Zone Camp
Comfort Zone Camp is a nonprofit 501(c)3 bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The free camps include confidence building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. Comfort Zone Camps are offered to children 7-17, and are held year-round across the Country. We have offices in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Comfort Zone provides grieving children with a voice, a place and a community in which to heal, grow and lead more fulfilling lives.
Comfort Zone envisions a world where grieving children are not forgotten or left to grieve alone, and are supported by a wide community that understands and appreciates them.
What Makes Us Different
Some of what distinguishes Comfort Zone from other bereavement programs and traditional therapeutic offerings include:
Year-round Access: There are very few permanent bereavement camps available in the US. Many bereavement camp programs are one-time offerings provided by non-bereavement organizations, and there is little opportunity to maintain the community formed while at camp. We provide a strong program and a peer community from which campers may draw support (or to which they may lend support) as issues arise throughout their entire grief journey.
Free to All Children: Children are not in control of their family’s finances and grief knows no economic boundaries. Therefore, our program is free to all children, regardless of economic background. For children from low income/disadvantaged families and for whom the costs of travel would prohibit attendance, travel scholarships and parent lodging during camp may be available.
Effective by Design: Our program was specifically designed with the input of several children's grief therapists to empower children in the midst of their grief and to address grief according to how children actually grieve, which is a very different process from how adults grieve. Many other bereavement resources available today are actually geared towards adult patterns of grief.
Our Little Buddy/Big Buddy Matching Process: Each weekend camp has approximately 65 campers, and campers are paired 1:1 with volunteers throughout the entire weekend in a "Little Buddy/Big Buddy" system. Campers often come to camp starved for attention because the family in their life is consumed with handling their own grief, and the 1:1 CZC pairing model provides a dedicated mentor, friend and "anchor" for each camper. Many of our volunteer Big Buddies also suffered the loss of a loved one as a child and are able to add a unique element to the camper's experience through the sharing of their own grief journey. The matching process happens prior to camp, after campers and volunteers are thoroughly screened. Matches are based on compatibility of personality, grief experience, hobbies and cultural backgrounds.
Removal of Barriers: Children often feel like they are totally alone and that no one could possibly understand them after a parent or sibling death. While every bereavement camp offers "loss" as a basis for bonding, Comfort Zone creates multiple opportunities for children to meet others who are healing from the same specific type of loss (i.e. parent to suicide, sibling to illness, etc.), either through their Big Buddy match or through their Healing Circles®. This matching process truly helps children realize that they are not alone - a very important revelation in a child's grief journey.