Camp Erin® Portland is a free, weekend bereavement camp for youth who are grieving the death of significant person in their lives. Children and teens ages 6 to 17 attend a weekend camp experience that combines grief education and emotional support with fun, traditional camp activities. Led by bereavement professionals and caring volunteers, campers are provided a safe environment to explore their grief, learn essential coping skills, and make friends with peers who are also grieving.
In 2002, the first Camp Erin location was established in Everett, WA, in honor of Erin Metcalf, a family friend of Karen Phelps Moyer and Jamie Moyer who lost her battle with cancer at age 17. Erin’s wish was to help other children coping with a loss. Through a network of partnerships with bereavement programs in local communities across the US and Canada, Camp Erin brings hope and healing to thousands of children and families annually. Read how Erin’s concern for other children coping with death inspired the creation of Camp Erin.
Camp Erin Portland is a partnership between Eluna and Providence Hospice of Oregon. Since 2005, Camp Erin Portland has served grieving children, teens and families in our community.
What is Camp Erin?
Camp Erin Portland is a free, weekend bereavement camp for youth who are grieving the death of significant person in their lives. Children and teens ages 6 to 17 attend a weekend camp experience that combines grief education and emotional support with fun, traditional camp activities. Led by bereavement professionals and caring volunteers, campers are provided a safe environment to explore their grief, learn essential coping skills, and make friends with peers who are also grieving.
How do I sign my child(ren) up for Camp Erin?
We normally begin accepting registration forms in March for the coming summer. Campers are enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis based on age and availability. We accept registrations up until the week of camp. However, our camp fills up quickly so we often operate with a waiting list.
Who staffs Camp Erin Portland?
Camp Erin is facilitated by professional bereavement staff of Providence Hospice and specially-trained volunteers. Staff and volunteers lead grief activities and sharing times, supervise recreation, and provide support to campers throughout the weekend. We have a ratio of 1 adult for every 1 camper. Registered nurses are available on-site at all times to dispense medications and respond to any medical concerns which may arise.
Is there a cost to attend Camp Erin Portland?
No, Camp Erin is offered free of charge to all families. Camp Erin Portland is funded by the generous support of Providence Hospice, the Providence Foundations, The Eluna Network, and many individuals and businesses in the community who donate their time and resources to Camp Erin.
Do all ages participate in the same activities?
No, teenagers participate in specialized camp activities designed to meet their needs and interests.
Where will my child stay at Camp Erin?
While at camp, your child will stay in a cabin with other campers of the age group. Each cabin includes at least two trained volunteers (called Big Buddies) who will support the campers throughout the weekend. Each cabin also has a private restroom and shower. Each age cohort is supported by a mental health professional that is assigned to that cohort.
How will my child get to Camp?
We ask parents/guardians to transport their campers to and from camp. A parent or guardian needs to be at camp on the Friday it starts by 3 p.m. with their camper(s) and should return Sunday by noon. If transportation is a barrier, let us know.
What happens after I submit the application?
Once your registration is received we will contact you by phone to talk more about your child(ren) and answer any questions you may have about camp. During that call we will schedule you and your family to attend a mandatory Camper Orientation.
Can I volunteer at Camp?
We are always looking for volunteers to join us at Camp Erin! Whether it is for the whole weekend or just a few hours, there are a variety of ways to get involved. Please note, family members, guardians, and caregivers cannot volunteer at camp during the same year their child is a camper.
What other bereavement supports are available for my family?
In addition to Camp Erin, Providence Hospice offers a family grief group that meets in eight-week sessions in the fall and winter. Support groups and community educational services are available for individuals of all ages. Please contact Bereavement Services at 503-215-4622 to discuss the types of support that would be most helpful for you and your family.
There are many ways to volunteer at Camp Erin! Volunteers can serve for the full camp weekend or can join us as one-day volunteers at camp. Volunteers in a camper-focused role provide emotional support for campers, act as good listeners and companions, and contribute to the supervision of campers at all times. Full-weekend volunteers are required to attend training prior to camp.
Other volunteer jobs include setting up for camp, working behind the scenes to organize supplies and make sure things run smoothly, or working on projects outside of the camp weekend. Camp Erin volunteers work together in conjunction with other members of the Camp Erin team. Training and orientation are provided in advance.
Camp Erin is offered free of charge to families so we truly rely on your support. Make a secure, online contribution
Or mail a check to:
Providence Hospice/Camp Erin
6410 NE Halsey St., Suite 300
Portland, OR 97213
We also welcome gift card donations to support purchase of the many supplies we need for Camp. If you would like to donate a gift card, here are some suggestions:
- Grocery stores (Costco, Fred Meyer, Safeway, etc...)
- Art and craft supply stores
- Pharmacies (Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc...)
- Please mail gift cards to the above address.
If you are interested in donating supplies, please contact the Camp Erin Coordinator for a current wish list.
Thank you for for supporting grieving children and families at Camp Erin!
Grieving as a child or teen can be a very lonely experience. Often the child or teen is the only one in their class who has experienced the death of someone close to them. At a time in life when “fitting in” can feel very important, grief can make them feel different and isolated. Camp Erin creates space for grieving children and teens to be with peers who have similar experiences and feelings. This can normalize their own situation—knowing they are not alone can be a big relief for grieving youth.
Camp Erin helps grieving youths to understand that what they are experiencing, though painful, is normal. It helps them to see that they are not alone. Through a variety of activities, rituals, and conversations, grieving children and teens find avenues to express their feelings and to honor and remember the person or people who died.
The activities offered at Camp Erin may be slightly different from year to year. You can expect activities like these:
- Arts and crafts
- Memorial rituals
- Teen challenge course
- Small group conversations
A loss affects the whole family and Providence Hospice believes that healing happens in the family. Camp Erin benefits families by involving them in ongoing conversations and events that explore ways to better understand and support one another. Family members, supportive adults, and members of the community can be important allies in a child or teen’s process of healing through grief.
View other services we offer to children, teens, adults, families and the community.
Eluna is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to support children and families impacted by grief or addiction. Founded in 2000 in Seattle by former MLB pitcher Jamie Moyer and child advocate Karen Phelps Moyer, Eluna was originally called The Moyer Foundation and launched a series of programs supporting thousands of children and families annually at no cost to them. Camp Erin® is the largest national network of grief programs for bereaved children and teens, Camp Mariposa® is a national addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth impacted by a family member's substance use disorder, and The Moyer Foundation Resource Center offers online tools, local referrals and personalized phone and email support for families experiencing grief, addiction and other related issues.
The New York Life Foundation is the major vehicle through which New York Life Insurance Company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement support. New York Life has been a supporter of Camp Erin since 2009.
- Art with Heart
- Cascade Canine Crisis Response
- Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)
- Motion Magic
- Portland Rose Festival
- Providence Federal Credit Union
- Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington
Do you have a special talent or ideas to share? Does your organization want to get involved? Please reach out to the Camp Coordinator and let’s chat!