A fun and safe place for grieving children.

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Join us at our Dinner Reception to Celebrate 5 Years in NC!

We’ve added a special feature to this year’s Charity Golf Classic presented by Legacy Private Client Services.  You no longer have to be a golfer to take part in the fun on Monday, Sept. 14! 

 

In honor of our 5th Anniversary holding camp in North Carolina, we are opening up the dinner reception to friends, families and those interested in learning more about Comfort Zone Camp. 

 

Tickets are $25 each and include buffet dinner, evening program featuring James Worthy and access to the live auction.  Come join the fun.  Buy your ticket today!

Taking Comfort Zone Out to the Ballgame

Reggie Jackson Comfort Zone Camp

 

The Hassenfratz family in New Jersey has been involved at Comfort Zone Camp since 2009 when their father died. In addition to being campers, the children have been volunteers and recruited others to join the community. At any opportunity, the family spreads the word about Comfort Zone. 

 

At the New York Yankees game on May 27, the Hassenfratz family received the Avis Spirit Award for their volunteerism. They were recognized at a special presentation at home plate prior to the game. During the game, baseball legend Reggie Jackson stopped by for a visit! Click here to check out more photos on Facebook. 

 

Highlights from May 2015 Camp in Massachusetts

 

The wake-up crew at camp in Massachusetts today! #ComfortZoneCamp #grievehealgrow #ImAComfortZone

A photo posted by Comfort Zone Camp (@comfortzonecamp) on

 

Earlier this month, another great camp weekend was held at Camp Burgess in Sandwich, Massachusetts. 

 

Shout-outs go to Winter Wyman for sponsoring 5 campers with a donation of $6,000 and handing out a meal from Uno's; and to Acelleron Medical Products and Youth Friends Association for bringing donations that totaled more than $8,000!

 

 

Summer events in Massachusetts: 
July 11, volunteer training
July 25, one-day program with Massachusetts General Hospital
Aug. 28, three-day camp
 

Grow the Community in North Carolina

The first North Carolina camp of 2015 had more than 65 volunteers! While October may seem a long time away, we're preparing now for another successful weekend this fall, and we want your help. 

 

Invite your friends, family and colleagues to become a Comfort Zone volunteer for an experience that will impact their lives forever. From Big Buddies, to nurses, to Healing Circle Leaders and Assistants, every role is important in assuring grieving children leave our program more resilient. 

 

The next volunteer training is September 12 in the Raleigh area. You can download this flyer to share with your friends. Email it, share on Facebook, post it in your office break room! 

 

 

Hear from 2 volunteers about why they're a member of the Comfort Zone community! #ImAComfortZone #comfortzonecamp #grievehealgrow

A video posted by Comfort Zone Camp (@comfortzonecamp) on

First Camp of 2015 Held in North Carolina

 

Oh, what a beautiful morning at #ComfortZoneCamp #NorthCarolina! #campbubble

A photo posted by Comfort Zone Camp (@comfortzonecamp) on

 

 

In early May, a camp program returned to North Carolina with 57 children and more than 65 volunteers! In years past, we usually say "see you next year North Carolina," BUT that's simply not true this year -- we will be back the weekend of October 2 for a second camp weekend in 2015. 

 

Please let your friends know about this second program in the region. Click here to register for camp; if you are interested in volunteering and are not yet a trained volunteer, click here to register for a volunteer training session in September. 

Welcome New Volunteers to the Community

Through the middle of May, Comfort Zone has welcomed nearly 450 new volunteers from across the country! If you're one of those volunteers, or if it's been a while since you've been to camp, be sure to update your profile and availability for camp later this year. Click on the "sign in" link at the top of our website to get started!

 

Now is also the perfect opportunity to invite your family, friends and colleagues to the volunteer community. Here's a look at training sessions this summer: 

> July 11: California, Virginia, Massachusetts  
> July 14 & 16: New York City 
> July 18: Illinois (Chicago) 
> Aug. 8: New Jersey

 

Create Your Own Fundraiser This Summer

After camp weekend, families often ask how they can give back to Comfort Zone. One fun, easy way to do this is to set a goal with your children and plan your own summer fundraiser to benefit Comfort Zone Camp.

 

Whether it’s a yard sale, bake sale or a lemonade stand, every penny raised helps bring other children to camp. To join our Summer Project, just set a goal, choose your method, and get planning! We’ll feature our fundraisers’ successes throughout the summer in our newsletters and on our national Facebook page.

 

To get started, click here to head over to FirstGiving.com, a site that makes it simple to create your own event. From there, simply follow the instructions to create your own event. 

 

Be sure to then share your event with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more! 

 

Too Much Fun Run Raises $3,000

Too Much Fun Run

 

In March 2014, Bert Musick of Richmond died after a brief illness, leaving behind his wife, Katie, and two children. In his obituary, the family asked that in lieu of flowers that memorial donations be made to Comfort Zone Camp. 

 

The family also made an immediate connection to Comfort Zone this past summer as Bert and Katie's daughter, A.V., attended camp. 

 

As the first year anniversary of Bert's death approached, the family wanted to do something in his memory and continue to give back to Comfort Zone. With the help of friends in the community, they came up with the idea of a fun run, dubbing it the "Too Much Fun Run."

 

"The name of the event came from a joke that Bert used to tell the children when they were playing," Katie said. "He'd always say 'I want you to have too much fun!'" 

 

With perfect weather in place in March, about 200 children came out to the "Too Much Fun Run" at a local track, raising $3,000 for Comfort Zone. 

 

"Comfort Zone Camp made such an immediate and positive impact on my grieving daughter that we wanted to give back to the organization. The 'Too Much Fun Run' was a perfect way to honor Bert and all of the very special people at CZC," Katie said.

 

Check out highlights from the event below! 

 

 

Too Much Fun Run

 

 

 

I'm a Comfort Zone because ...

Thanks to those who have shared their #ImAComfortZone stories! Here's a sampling of how people are using this tag on social media: 

 

 

 

Shout-out why you love Comfort Zone Camp on social media! Visit www.comfortzonecamp.org/ImAComfortZone for more information.

"Give back to your community for it to get better"

When you go to a Virginia camp, you’re likely to find floater extraordinaire Dave Bruster. Get to know him in our quick Q&A!                                                     

How did you first hear about Comfort Zone Camp?    
When our daughter passed away she had an 8-year-old daughter who was living with us. We heard of Comfort Zone from one of the guidance counselors at her elementary school.  

 

What’s your favorite part about a camp weekend?  
I would have to say the Friday night Ice Breakers.  You watch the youth go from being timid and shy to letting their hair down and being themselves. A close second would have to be Sunday Memorial Service where you see the changes the weekend has made.

 

Why should someone sign up to be a volunteer at Comfort Zone?  
My feeling has always been you have to give back to your community for it to get better. What better could that be than to help a young person who has had such a terrible thing happen in their life learn there are others in the same boat that they are in and that it will get better.

 

They are going to have to work, too, for it to get better, but with the coping skills learned at Comfort Zone it will happen. What better way is there to spend a weekend than helping make this happen?

Camper Continues to Give Back in a Variety of Roles

Rachel Walters first came to Comfort Zone in New Jersey as a camper. As soon as she was old enough, she became a volunteer. Check out our Q&A with Rachel below!

 

How long have you been a volunteer for Comfort Zone, and what roles have you held?

I have been a volunteer for 7 years. I have been a Big Buddy, Healing Circle Assistant, Junior Counselor and a Floater. I was also a part of the Volunteer Council for two years. 

 

 

What first brought you to Comfort Zone Camp?

I originally started going to Comfort Zone Camp about 8 years ago as a camper after I lost my dad. I started volunteering as soon as I was old enough because I wanted to be able to give back and help other campers in the same way that Comfort Zone has helped me.

 

What’s your favorite part about camp weekend?

My favorite part of a camp weekend is the people you meet and being a part of the Comfort Zone Camp family. I truly believe that Comfort Zone is filled with some of the greatest people in the world. I love the connection that everyone makes with each other and being able to see old friends as well as make new ones. I also love the sense of family and community that everyone builds within a weekend. It is really amazing being able to witness the growth of kids within a weekend and throughout the years.

 

Why should others get involved at Comfort Zone?

I think that anyone who has ever thought of getting involved with Comfort Zone should definitely give it a try. I know they will not regret it. They will become part of a community like no other and witness things that are truly magical. They will get a chance to just be silly and have fun. They will be able to be a friend for a kid who really needs it and help in giving them the opportunity to be a kid again. 

 

A History that Continues to Unfold

Meet Chris Greim, a 6-year volunteer for Comfort Zone and one of the founders of the popular Polar Plunge fundraiser in Massachusetts.  The Polar Plunge has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Comfort Zone in the past 6 years, raising both funds to help keep programs free to families and awareness of camp in the region.

 

How long have you been a part of Comfort Zone? And what roles you’ve held?   
I have been part of Comfort Zone since 2009, and have been a Big Buddy, floater, and served in the Nurse/Paramedic Role, as well as helping out with several trainings (which I love doing!)

 

What first brought you to Comfort Zone Camp?
My introduction was through an e-mail someone "tossed out on the table." I contacted (Massachusetts’ Regional Development Officer) Sue Oppici and the rest is a wonderful history that continues to unfold.

 

What keeps you coming back?
The children, their resiliency, their compassion for each other, the selflessness of the other volunteers, the fact that with each camp experience I learn and grow as an adult in my own grief journey, and most importantly the hugs! There's no way to explain Comfort Zone Camp – you have to experience it. When I talk about Comfort Zone to others I try and convey how simply phenomenal these kids are and how much I've learned from them and continue to learn.

 

Everyone has the same reaction when they hear of a death, whether it's someone they know or not. When they hear that children were left behind, the reaction is even worse often times followed by "I wish there was something I could do." Well, now there is and I wish there was a way to reach more people. I know an awful lot of people who have said I wish I knew about Comfort Zone when my loved one died. Sadly death brings us all together and it will never end, but I am honored and proud to be a very tiny part of the bigger picture in someone’s grief journey.

 

 

Why should others get involved with Comfort Zone and hold their own fundraiser?
As far as fundraising with Comfort Zone, it doesn't get much easier. People can simply make a donation, or have a party, or anything else that you think people would enjoy. People don't need to give thousands of dollars – every penny helps.

 

My own kids and their friends have colored and sold rocks on the beach and donated what they take in, unsolicited by me or anyone else. When people hear that the donations will help a child, it tugs at their heart strings, specifically with regards to the polar plunge. When Tania called me after our first camp she said, “Let’s do a fundraiser." Without hesitation, I said, “Sure. What do you have in mind?”

 

She suggested a polar plunge. I had been doing a New Year’s Day swim with the fire department for years and told her that would be a lot of fun. We added the element of the after-swim gathering as a way for people to come together and hang out and quite honestly spend more money in the form of raffles and auctions.

 

I had no idea at the time that 5 years later we would still be doing this, nor did I expect to have the results we did. (This year’s event raised nearly $9,000.) People showed up, jumped in the Cape Cod Bay in February and the rest is history. It's always evolving, and changing, and I hope to continue for many years to come.

 

My dream would be that at one of our plunges (maybe the 10th) that we would have a representative from each Comfort Zone office join us. We just have to get through four more and the 10th anniversary will be epic.

 

Volunteering Beyond Camp

 

While each camp weekend needs at least 80 volunteers, there are many other opportunities to donate your time to Comfort Zone. Opportunities include serving on Volunteer Councils, Regional Advisory Councils and a variety of event committees.

 

Volunteers play important roles in planning events outside of camp such as our Grief Relief 5Ks, the Fall Bash and the Grief Relief Gala. Volunteers can also help at informational booths at community events, as well as serving on panels at volunteer training sessions in each region.

 

Volunteers can also help at each of our regional offices by taking inventory of camp supplies, loading the camp trailer, shredding materials and much more. 

 

Visit of our Volunteer page for more information about getting involved at camp and beyond! 

Volunteers trained for A Little Hope, Inc. partnership program

 

In the final weekend of May, Comfort Zone is launching a camp program in Connecticut in partnership with A Little Hope, Inc. - The National Foundation for Grieving Children, Teens and Families. This program is designed for families with children who have experienced the death by suicide of a parent, sibling or guardian.

 

On March 28, Comfort Zone National Community Facilitator Jessi Schmale lead a volunteer training session at New York Life’s headquarters in New York City, which included A Little Hope, Inc. Board members Rich Schimel, Tanhya Vancho, Keith Brenner and Jennifer Brenner as well as consultant and nationally known child and adolescent bereavement specialist Amy Liebman Rapp.

 

“We loved getting to know more about how Comfort Zone will impact the lives of children at the partnership camp in May,” Tanhya said. “Being a trained volunteer makes me realize even more how important this weekend will be to families.” 

 

We’re also excited to announce that this program will include a day-long parent and guardian workshop led by childhood bereavement consultant Pamela Gabbay, giving them the opportunity to share their experiences among peers who can relate to their loss, receive support, and learn how they can best support their children’s efforts to manage their grief in healthy ways

 

For more information about this program, click here to read our news release announcing the partnership. 

New date set for Grief Relief 5K in California

Save the date! The 5th Annual Grief Relief 5K will take place September 26 in California! Make sure you mark your calendars for this family fun event!

 

The 5K is a great way to get back into the bubble, meet others in the Comfort Zone community, and to help spread the word about Comfort Zone! If you are interested in being a part of the 5K Planning Committee, please email Justin Thongsavanh at [email protected]

 

More details will be coming this spring! 

Corporate Spotlight: Ferguson

This year’s Grief Relief Gala once again welcomed Ferguson as the presenting sponsor. Since 2006, Ferguson has supported Comfort Zone’s events and programs by giving more than $100,000.

 

Ferguson, headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, is the largest wholesale distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings (PVF) in the U.S. It is also the fourth largest distributor of heating and cooling equipment (HVAC/R) and the second largest company within the waterworks industry.

 

Ferguson was founded in 1953 and now has more than 19,000 employees in more than 1,300 locations across the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Mexico. Giving back to Comfort Zone and other organizations each year is a big part of Ferguson’s mission.

 

“Our company has a unique culture and a tradition of supporting civic, cultural, educational and environmental activities,” Ferguson says on its website. Join us in thanking Ferguson for their support to grieving children.

 

Learn more about the company at www.ferguson.com

A special night at the 2015 Gala

 

This year's Grief Relief Gala presented by Ferguson on March 21 raised $250,000 in support of Comfort Zone programs for grieving children in 2015! A huge thank you goes out to everyone who made this happen.

 

Be sure to check out this year's guest speaker -- Abby Donelson -- above, who shared her Comfort Zone story. Following her speech, this year's Fund-A-Cause donations raised enough to fund an entire camp weekend program!

 

Abby also sent a special note to everyone on Monday:
To everyone who attended the Gala, Thank you so much. Because of your generosity, many, many kids are going to camp this year. I am forever grateful to you for that.

 

XOXO Abby

 

A special thanks also goes to this year's photographers Tina Thomas of TinaTakeMyPhoto.com and Carol Lane Stephenson. Check out these highlights:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother turned volunteer: It will change your life

 

Meet Kelly Ogden, a camper mother and new Comfort Zone volunteer in California!

 

How long have you been a volunteer for Comfort Zone, and what roles have you held?
This January was my first camp as a volunteer. I was a floater.

 

How did you first hear about Comfort Zone? 
When my husband died, a coworker mentioned a small article in Good Housekeeping Magazine. I did a bit of research and thought it sounded amazing. My 3 kids have all gone to camp and I really wanted to help in any way I could because of their amazingly positive experiences. Between my 3 kids, they have gone to 10 to camps.

 

What's your favorite part about camp weekend?
My favorite part of camp was to witness the almost instant bonds these scared kids achieve in such a short amount of time. They arrived unsure and frightened, and by Sunday morning, they don't want to leave the camp bubble. (And Stephan's sizzle, THAT was outstanding!)

 

What was the child's favorite thing about camp weekend? 
My kids say their favorite thing about camp were knowing and meeting other kids that are in similar or the extact same situations. There is something calming about knowing that you are not alone in this new life that was thrusted upon you... and the S'mores. Endless smores! 

 

Why should others get involved at Comfort Zone?
It will change your life! After the loss of their father to suicide, my children all felt a stigma and burdened. They went to camp (two of them very UNwillingly) and when I came to pick them up, they ALL were, for the first time since their fathers death, SMILING, HAPPY, LAUGHING ... acting like kids again. What an astonishing change in just under 48 hours! Don't give it a second thought to sending your kid(s) here.

Volunteer gains a second family

Meet Ashley Hardin, a North Carolina resident who has been involved with Comfort Zone for nearly 3 years as a volunteer and fundraiser! 

 

How long have you been a Comfort Zone volunteer, and how many camps have you done? What roles have you served?
I first got involved with Comfort Zone Camp in November 2012. To date, I have volunteered at 5 camps across North Carolina and Virginia as a Big Buddy and floater. I hope to grow that number soon! When I can't make it to camp, I try my best to stay involved in other ways like running and fundraising with the Grief Relief Team.

 

What’s the best part about being a Comfort Zone volunteer?
Seeing first-hand the impact you are making in someone else’s life. Over the course of a weekend, you witness each camper evolve and blossom in different ways. They begin to realize that they are not alone in their grief. With that they gain a lot of inner strength and self-confidence. To actively be part of that transformation is incredibly moving. There are no words to adequately describe that feeling of fulfillment.

 

How has Comfort Zone impacted your life?
Thanks to Comfort Zone, I learned to channel my grief in positive ways to help others through what I also experienced. In the process, I gained a second family. The people who make up the Comfort Zone community are the best, most selfless people that you will ever meet. No matter how my personal grief journey continues to evolve, I know my Comfort Zone Camp family is standing right next to me.

 

If someone was sitting on the fence on whether or not to become a volunteer, what would be the one thing you would tell them?
There are kids at camp that need you, so get there! I promise that volunteering with Comfort Zone will enrich your life in ways that you could never imagine.

 

If you'd like to nominate a Comfort Zone volunteer to feature on our blog and in our newsletters, email that person's name and why to Director of Communications David Hylton at [email protected]

Volunteers Needed To Plan Grief Relief 5K In Massachusetts

Wouldn’t it be great to help a grieving child attend Comfort Zone Camp?

 

We’re planning our annual Grief Relief 5K in Massachusetts ! Come be part of the planning team to make a difference in children’s lives. No experience with planning a 5K? No worries … we have all the tools you need.

 

This year's event will be Saturday Oct. 17 with many more details to come soon! Help a child learn how to grieve, heal and grow at Comfort Zone Camp. To be part of this amazing team, please contact Regional Development Officer Sue Oppici at (781) 756-4840 ext. 311  or [email protected].

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