Families of September 11 is now operating as the For Action Initiative. The web pages on this site are available for informational purposes only. Please visit us at www.foractioninitiative.org.

March 23, 2005

Dear FOS11 Member,

Summer may feel a long way off, but now is the time to start making plans. There are many free and subsidized opportunities for children affected by the events of September 11. I wanted to let you know about some of the upcoming summer camps and the best resources for finding out more.

Whether your child wants to learn to sail or explore the world of crafts, summer camp is a great chance for kids to make new friends and discover new activities. Many camps are offered only to children who lost a loved one on September 11, and as such provide kids with a comfortable and loving environment in which to reach out to their peers. Scholarships are also available to camps that are open to all children. Many are all-expense paid and include transportation costs. In addition, educational camps give kids a chance to combine academic courses with fun activities.

As the new project manager for Families of September 11's www.childrenofseptember11.org webpage, I am excited to assist caregivers of children in obtaining up-to-date, accurate, and interesting information pertaining to our greatest asset … our kids! The webpage is designed to provide resources not only to parents, but also to teachers, coaches, school nurses, and babysitters -- any adult who cares for children. It is my sincere hope that we can bring relevant and helpful information right to your fingertips. I also look forward to receiving your feedback, your thoughts and concerns and to hear about your own challenges and triumphs. The best lessons can be learned from peers, so I appreciate your input and feedback.

So take a moment, research what's available, and get set for a fun and exciting summer! If you need more information or have any questions about the camps, please call (212) 575-1878 or email us at info@familiesofseptember11.org

Maureen Brogan, MA, LPC
Project Manager, COS11

Upcoming Camps

Comfort Zone Camp -- April 29-May 1, 2005 and October 28-30, 2005
Comfort Zone Camp is still sponsoring its weekend camps in the NJ/NY area. They will be offering two camps there in 2005. The camp weekends are April 29-May 1 and October 28-30. The camps are for children ages 7-17. They are opening these camps this year to all children who have lost a parent, sibling, or primary caretaker. The campers will still be primarily 9/11 children, but they will be integrating all children into these camps. Transportation is available if needed, and offsite accommodations for an accompanying parent/guardian may be available upon request. Please note, Comfort Zone's Virginia-based camps continue to be open to any grieving child from around the country as well. If you visit www.comfortzonecamp.org, you can see the entire schedule for 2005. Call (866) 488-5679 for more information.

Exploration Summer Programs -- June 26-July 16, 2005 and July 17-August 6, 2005
Exploration Summer Programs is a recipient of a generous foundation grant that allows the organization to host young people who lost a parent or guardian in the September 11 attacks. Students choose from a host of engaging academic courses structured as hands-on, problem-solving experiences. They participate in a variety of activities, athletics, and trips throughout the Northeast. Attendance is fully funded with assistance available for travel costs. Dates for the program in Summer 2005 are as follows. First Session: June 26-July 16. Second Session: July 17-August 6. Catalogues and DVDs are available upon request for each of the programs: the Senior Program at Yale University for students entering grades 10-12, the Intermediate Program at Wellesley College for students entering grades 8-9, and the Junior Program at St. Mark’s School entering grades 4-7. Call (781) 762-7400 or visit www.explo.org for more information.

Associated Documents: Letter from Exploration Summer Camp to FOS11 Members

America's Camp -- August 17-24, 2005
America’s Camp is now enrolling boys and girls, ages 7 to 15, for its fourth summer in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. This week-long, sleep-away camp in Lenox, Massachusetts is offered at no cost to eligible families. The campers have diverse backgrounds and interests, but share a common experience -- they have all lost a parent in the 9/11 attacks or in the line of duty at any time as a firefighter or police officer. A mature, enthusiastic staff is thoroughly trained to ensure a positive, fun, supportive environment. Campers participate in a wide range of sports, crafts, water activities both at the pool and lake, and special events. The 2005 session will begin on Wednesday, August 17 and finish on Wednesday, August 24. For information about the camp and enrollment, families can call (800) 548-6295 or send an e-mail to info@americascamp.org or visit the camp website at www.americascamp.org.

Camp Better Days -- August 17-24, 2005
The Better Days Foundation was set up out of a great need for long-term support for those who lost a loved one in the attacks on September 11 and is run by people who lost family members, friends, and loved ones. Its mission is to provide victims’ families with support for many years to come though a variety of fun, healing programs. The Foundation sponsors a free one-week camp. This year, the camp will again be held at the Sports and Arts Center at Island Lake in Starrucca, PA, on August 17-24, 2005, and is for campers ages 6-17. For more detailed information on the camp, check out Camp Better Days Section of the Foundation’s website, http://thebetterdaysfoundation.org.

Camp Haze -- August 20-26, 2005
Camp Kennybrook in Monticello, NY, will again host the fourth Camp Haze starting August 20, 2005, a one-week, all-expense paid summer experience for children who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001. The goal of Camp Haze is to provide these children with refuge from worry and grief, a network of peers, and a staff that understands their unique emotional needs. They expect to have openings for 85-90 children. If you have any questions, call (908) 665-9092 or (866) FOR HAZE (367-4293). Applications are available at www.camphaze.org.

Outward Bound -- Ongoing
Outward Bound, www.outwardbound.com, is the national leader in experiential education in the United States. Students learn personal leadership, character, compassion, and a sense of social responsibility through the challenge and adventure of wilderness learning. Outward Bound provides free course scholarships to young people affected by 9/11. Outward Bound also provides 3-5 day courses in the New York City and Boston areas for youth ages 12-25. These programs are excellent for 12-13 year olds and for those students who would like to remain relatively close to home. Programs run year-round. Outward Bound representatives speak extensively with scholarship recipients to find the right course for each individual student. For registration and additional information, call (845) 424-4000 ext. 237 and ask to speak to the Scholarships for Community representative.

Associated Documents: Outward Bound Informational Flyer

The Fresh Air Fund
The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, provides free summer vacations in the country to New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Call (800) 367-0003 for more information or visit www.freshair.org.

Featured Articles

Summer Camp -- America's Safe Haven
Doctors and mental health professionals have long advocated overnight camp for children who have suffered traumatic loss. Though a parent's first instinct in this type of situation might be to keep a child close to home for the summer, the professionals feel that these children need a break from their home life for a time, in a structured environment where they are free to simply be children and experience fun. Read the full article from the National Camp Association: www.summercamp.org/media/article11.html

Summer Camp Blues
Each summer, many children will have to deal with feeling homesick if part of their summer involves sleep-over camp, but parents can play a big role in helping their children overcome homesickness, say psychologists. Read the full article from the American Psychological Association: www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=20

Families of September 11, Inc. (FOS11) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the interests of victims' families, survivors, and others affected by 9/11 and to supporting public policies that improve the prevention of and response to terrorism.

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