On October 13th, 2016, we embarked on a journey of healing with an amazing group of children and their families.
Our team (including Thing 1 and Thing 2!) double-checks our campers' allergy sheets and medication schedules.
Our staff and camp buddies get all supplies ready to go for the campers who will be arriving soon.
Hoodies, T-shirts, and other goodies are all ready to be given out to the arriving campers and families!
Our campers — alongside their parents — get checked in, meet their camp buddy, and get settled in for the weekend.
Our campers are paired with a camp buddy (like Jordan here!) who is alongside them throughout the entirety of the weekend.
On our first night, everyone gets to know one another. Arts and crafts are a great way to open up communication and make new friends.
Throughout every activity, and every step of the way, our campers are alongside their trained staff buddies.
Laughter, memories, and fun fill the night air on our first night at Crossroads Kids.
Our camp buddies start winding down the fire pit as our first night at Crossroads Kids draws to a close.
Breakfast time is an awesome opportunity for our campers to get to know one another better and connect with other grieving children.
Meal times provide opportunities for our campers and their buddies to talk about grief, loss, and their late loved one.
Breakfast also makes a platform for insightful debate -- who is the strongest Pokemon, anyway?
Each camper, alongside their buddy, makes a memory box that's decorated with items, cutouts, and drawings that remind them of their loved one.
Every camper is encouraged to share with their buddy what special significance their memory box holds for them.
Many of our campers loved to work together on their memory boxes, showing one another different designs and cool patterns!
Each camper puts incredible effort into making their luminary a loving tribute in memory of their loved one.
While creating their luminaries, our campers talk and work with one another, sharing their experiences and forging lasting friendships.
Throughout the camp experience, campers and their buddies form incredible bonds. Campers begin to share their grief journey with their buddy and the pathway for healing communication begins to open.
After working on the luminaries, campers and their buddies take a time out for some fun games and some outdoor physical activity.
Red light! Green light! Outdoor play, like a game of "Red Light, Green Light!" helps open up the pathways for communication, bonding, and healing.
It's Ga-ga-ball! Watch out! Don't let the ball hit you below the knees or you're out!
Cooling down with some quiet board games and arts and crafts opens up the door for communication between the campers. Allowing kids the time to share and bond is key to opening the path to healing.
Every activity gives campers and their buddies a chance to grow closer together and allows our camp buddies the opportunity to better know their campers' struggle with the loss of a loved one.
Dance party! Nothing like movin' and groovin', laughin' and dancin' before lunch!
We are so thankful for the staff who cooked every delicious meal and kept our buddies, volunteers, and campers well fed throughout the weekend!
Our campers don't waste any time when chowin' down — these burgers and fries are way too good to pass up!
Mealtimes are a bonding and sharing experience. Each camper and their buddy is together for every meal, creating moments of sharing, laughing, and healing.
Each challenge is wacky, but is always sure to bring out the smiles and giggles across the faces of campers and staff alike!
Carefully ... carefully... Hold the stick steady in your mouth and stack the dice as high as you can!
Speed is the name of the game! Grab your straw, grab your cup, and suck up as many Skittles as you can!
Campers and their buddies partner up to see who can create the wackiest costume combinations!
Santa with a Viking beard? Check. A Disco bandit? Mhmm. A glittery fairy godmother? Double-check.
Remember: You might have some angry days, but it's always more fun to throw kindness like confetti!
No camper is ever left without a friend and a buddy to talk to. Alongside their camp buddy, each camper sets out to walk the trail and find an object that resonates with their memories of their loved one.
The Memory Trail creates incredible opportunities to stop, reflect, and share what you've discovered along the way.
After everyone's found an object, we all get together, take a seat, and each camper takes time to share what their item means to them and the memories that it invokes.
Our campers are some incredibly creative kids! Alongside their buddies, our campers transformed our campgrounds into a beautiful work of art!
Go! Go! Go! At the tug-of-war arena, campers pull with all of their might to claim prizes and, of course, bragging rights!
A strong arm, careful aim, and an overwhelming desire to dunk Camp Buddy Tyler into the ice-cold water made the dunking booth an absolute hit!
Our campers form a neat and orderly line as they scoot through the dinner line. Everything the hard-working cooks prepared looks so good!
During dinner time, campers and their buddies enjoy spending time in quiet conversation with one another. Having a loving friend who you can always talk to is something everyone needs.
That dinner was absolutely delicious! Now it's time to make sure we've cleaned up after ourselves, got our buddy, and that we're ready to head over to the luminary release!
Chaplain Kevin leads our luminary release ceremony and reminds our campers that all of our loved ones live on in our hearts and in the love we give to others.
Every camper is right alongside their camp buddy who's ready to listen, love, and simply be there for them.
As each camper prepares to launch their luminary, they share the loving memories of their loved one that they will carry with them forever.
Chaplain Kevin speaks with each camper and assists in placing their luminary into the still waters of the lake.
A calm and silence envelops the camp as each luminary floats calmly down the lake. With each camper drawing close to their buddy, memories are shared, and tears freely flow as the night draws to a close.
As our campers and their buddies begin to trickle in, it's time to settle that debate: Who would win if Spiderman fought Godzilla?
Breakfast time is the perfect time to talk about that wacky dream you had or that time you actually ate a grasshopper!
Meals always offer a special time of one-on-one communication for our campers and their buddies.
Our campers transformed before our eyes into fierce tigers, super-cool superheroes, and beautiful fairy princesses!
Be as quick as you can! Stack 'em up, stack 'em down, and back up again in record time -- it's the speed-stacking challenge!
Touchdown! So many of our campers are such incredible athletes and quicker than greased lightning!
Our campers show their parents what they've learned throughout the course of the camp — including some super-silly songs!
Our campers, after a weekend of learning, healing, and growing, share what they've learned with their parents.
Each one of our campers places their thumbprint on our Memory Tree, forever commemorating their time with us at Crossroads Kids.
All of this was made possible by donors like you. Your gifts, of any size, help us give grieving children and their families a place to learn, heal, and grow.