Our thanks to Sarah Ash for sharing her Comfort Zone Camp story with us. Following a recent camp, Sarah received an assignment in school to write a speed about something that was important to her. She chose to write about Comfort Zone.
“You are not alone” were the words whispered to me on a windy August weekend. Nearly five months after the death of my father, my mom made the decision to send me to a bereavement camp. Bereavement is the grief of the loss of a loved one. The camp was named Comfort Zone Camp. Comfort Zone is a bereavement camp for children ages 7 to 17 who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. Ironically, this camp is what would widen my horizon and take me out of my own comfort zone.
“You are not alone” were the words whispered to me by my big buddy, the person who gave up her weekend to spend it supporting me on my rollercoaster of grief. Have you ever felt like you were alone in an entire room full of people? Well like any awkward 13 year old, walking into a group of 60 strangers forced me to put my guards up. As the weekend progressed, my feelings towards camp changed like the weather. Through the games, the songs, and the incredible support I was given, Comfort Zone Camp became a second home to me. Comfort Zone Camp offered me a safe environment to express my true emotions after the death of my father. Comfort Zone Camp introduced me to the most incredible people who have not only become friends, but family.
“You are not alone” are the words I whisper into the ears of all the cowering kids when I give back and volunteer. Have you ever been so nervous you just wish you had someone to turn to? I am that person the children at camp turn to when they are feeling sad, angry, or nervous. I am that support for the children. As the weekend progresses, the kids learn to overcome their fears as they overcome the physical obstacles we give them within challenge courses. As they learn to trust each other and support each other in physical games and activities they learn to support each other and trust each other with their emotional burdens. Tears roll down my face like a waterfall as I watch the children open up and share their stories. I am so proud of them. I go into the weekend thinking that I will use my own experiences to help the kids with the difficulties and challenges they are faced, but the truth is they are the ones who help me. The children help open my eyes to so much and I wind up learning from them.
“You are not alone” are the words I say to all of you. You may not have experienced the loss of a parent or close loved one but everyone has hardships that they face in their lives. Comfort Zone Camp has opened my eyes to see all of the difficulties people face and see when someone needs my help. Comfort Zone Camp has taught me that no matter what you are facing in life, you are never going through it alone. You will always have people there for you, supporting you, and willing to help you through anything that life may throw at you.
“You are not alone” are the words that I will carry with me through the rest of my life. Comfort Zone gave me the support I needed as a camper, the opportunity to give back.
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