November 29, 2016
Camp Kita is a week long summer bereavement camp open to children ages 8-17 who are survivors of a loved one's suicide. Held in an idyllic traditional camp setting on the shores of Belgrade Lake in Central Maine, the camp provides all the fun and outdoor experience of any summer camp.
Camp Kita staff and volunteers also provide a network of adults and peers that truly understand and support the unique grief that comes with losing a loved one to suicide.
Camp Kita is the only program of a small non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the needs of bereaved youth and founded by sibling survivors of suicide loss. The camp tuition remains free through fundraising efforts and the generous support of people who care.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2011, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans—equating to an American dying by suicide once every 13.3 minutes. In a broader sense, every 13.3 minutes even greater amounts of people are impacted as family and friends are left behind to grieve the lost of a loved one caused by suicide. While these numbers are staggering, the topic of suicide is often avoided or reserved due to the common stigmas that come from one choosing to take their own life—this leaves the survivors, many just children, to suffer in silence.
Our mission at Camp Kita is to provide a safe, constant environment for young survivors of suicide, by giving direction through common interests, activities and grief management.
Our vision is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where child survivors can connect with one another while learning constructive ways to deal with the often unspeakable and fierce emotion of losing a loved one to suicide. By creating a space for child survivors, we effectively ease the stigma around what it means to have lost someone to suicide. The campers’ shared loss and experience affords them the opportunity of forming deep, knowing bonds with others and thereby forging supportive connections that we hope will last a lifetime. As a community of survivors, our week-long focus will be to provide and explore constructive forms of self-expression. We will practice self-awareness as a way of identifying feelings and communicating them in a focused way. Our focus on grief—on shattering apart—will dovetail with an equally important focus on hope—the power and purpose of piecing oneself together. Most importantly, we will empower campers to utilize the tools and resources we provide so that they may draw upon them throughout their lives.