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Summer camp evokes memories of canoeing and campfires for many of us. But for children who attend a Comfort Zone Camp it also means healing circles and memorial services. Founded by Lynne Hughes (right), 45, the camps are havens for children who've lost a parent, sibling or caregiver.
In between hiking, rock wall climbing and crafts, kids talk about their loss and share memories. Led by licensed grief therapists, they learn coping skills. The camps, at several sites around the country, also give these children a place to go where they don't feel different and they can just be a kid again.
Camp sessions are free to all families, no matter their background, says Hughes. "The kids start talking about having bad dreams and help each other through that," she says. "Death is a great equalizer; they're speaking the same language."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2009.