Big Lake Youth Camp Wins Award

Big Lake Youth Camp recently received the Phyllis M. Ford Award from the American Camp Association, Oregon Trail section. The award praised Big Lake for "creating innovative and effective programs using the camp environment for Abba's Child Grief Camps" in 2009.

The Abba's Child program at Big Lake offers a camp experience with support-based counseling for children ages 7–15 who have experienced the death of an immediate family member. Loss can be overwhelming for anyone, and it is especially important for children to know they are not alone as they deal with new and sometimes frightening feelings.

The American Camp Association is divided into 24 sections across the U.S. The Oregon Trail section is made up of about 40 camps across Oregon and southern Idaho, ranging in size from small, one-week camps to those which house up to more than 300 campers and go all summer long. These camps are made up of religious, privately owned and agency camps such as Scouts, Camp Fire, YMCA and YWCA camps.

The Abba's Child camp program is, in many ways, a typical summer camp offering a wide variety of activities. But beyond the swimming and canoeing, it features two-hour daily support group sessions for children to interact with peers facing similar losses. Art, crafts, music, storytelling, writing and games are designed to assist with the healing process. The Abba's Child program is free to children who attend the camp.

Featured in: January 2010