California Experience

When: August 15 - 20, 2017

Where: Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, California

Who: Boys and Girls, entering grades 4-12 in summer of 2017, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. Boys' and Girls' activities are separate. They only share buses and meals together.

A TYPICAL DAY

Each day starts off with reveille (a wake-up call), before the campers roll out of bed and head to the dining hall for the first of 3 delicious meals. After breakfast and a quick cabin clean-up, they head into a full day of activities, including activities such as basketball, ropes, archery, soccer, and more. The afternoon starts with lunch and a rest period, and then quickly transforms into a week-long series of competitive games called College League. In College League, the camp is divided into two teams named after colleges, and the campers compete in activities ranging from relay races to a scavenger hunt.

One period a day is dedicated to a bereavement activity. Discussion is peer-based and facilitated by a team of licensed social workers. The first full day of camp, the campers have the opportunity to share their stories in a Sharing Circle with their bunk. It is the first opportunity they have to open up and truly understand that they are amongst others who “get it”. The remaining days of the week involve various memory projects and bereavement activities designed to provide the boys with tools to communicate and understand their feelings.

Each night ends with an evening activity, and many nights with a campfire and s’mores. Everyone sleeps well after a long and hard day at play.

COMMUNITY

Campers live in cabins of 8-10 kids of the same age. Each cabin has 2-3 counselor that sleep in the cabin and supervise them during rest periods and in between activities. Campers travel together to activities in the morning and get to know each other through activities and informal conversation. 

The whole camp comes together for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining hall, and tables are mixed to allow campers to get to know other campers outside their bunks. In the afternoons, campers meet with their College League teams, which are also mixed ages. At the end of the day, everyone comes together again for evening activity.

OTHER DETAILS

  • The camp is 100% free, including transportation from one of our designated pick-up locations.

  • All campers are required to take a bus to camp. Buses will be available from Riverside, Inglewood, San Diego, and LAX. Families are invited to join us for closing ceremonies the last day of camp, or the campers can take the bus back.

  • We have nurses on staff and medical centers within 15 minutes drive from camp. Medication is dispensed from the infirmary after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • There are toilets, sinks, showers, and electricity in the cabins. 

  • Forms, packing lists, and other details will be sent after a camper has been enrolled.

  • There is a tunnel under the Pacific Coast Highway to the ocean. It’s really cool.

  • After a short hike up a hill, there is an amazingly beautiful view of the California coastline.

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