Our campers and families wanted you to know about the impact camp had on their families! Please read their stories below.
When tragedy struck our family and we suddenly lost our 17 year old son, Mark, we had no idea how to even make it though the next minute, much less how to help our other children. Camp Braveheart was a lifeline of hope and healing for our other kids. It gave them a safe place to grieve the loss of their brother and they discovered friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Our family plans our summers around camp. I am forever grateful for the gift it has been to my children.
After Alex’s father died, she came to Camp Braveheart. It was Alex’s first time at camp and Camp Braveheart’s first year. When she attended camp she had the opportunity to process the impact of her Dad’s death, remember him and learn new coping skills to manage the new layer of grief. She has now graduated from high school and is experiencing the loss of her Dad in a different way. He will not be at her college graduation, meeting her date to prom, moving her to college or building the bunk beds in her dorm. She has become a leader by empathetically walking alongside others around her. She is an amazing and insightful young lady.
Our children were four, five and eight years old when my husband died by suicide. Being widowed at age 35 was shocking; being a single mother of three young children was overwhelming. Trying to answer my kids’ questions honestly yet age appropriately was challenging, especially since I was searching for my own answers.
The kids were sad and angry in one moment and in the next, playing as if they had no clue our world had been turned upside down. It upset them to see me cry; it worried them if I was late picking them up after school. It was quite the emotional ride and while I was surrounded with family and friends who showed their support in the best ways they knew how, I felt very alone and very scared and I had the weight of my children’s emotional and physical health and growth baring down on my soul.
Camp Braveheart is the best week of my year, every year. Braveheart is the only place in the world where I feel understood, and over the past two years, It has become my home and my favorite place in the world. My first year at Braveheart, I was nervous about the camp, and was met with the most loving community I have ever known. I can’t explain what it is like to finally be understood in my grief and to not be ashamed of my grief. I met my best friends at camp, kids who understand what it is like to lose someone, and have the biggest hearts on the planet. Braveheart changed my life, and gave me power to live after the death of my brother. The best way to explain Camp Braveheart is as a family, and every year I get more siblings. Come to camp!