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.

February 16, 2004

Dear 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. We 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 horseback ride or learn to water-ski, 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.

Though many camps are concentrated in the Northeast, there are still opportunities available around the country from Arizona to Wisconsin. 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 email info@familiesofseptember11.org.  

9/11-Specific Camps
Comfort Zone Camp
Comfort Zone Camp, a fun and safe place for grieving children, is the nation's largest bereavement camp for children who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. Camps are held in Richmond, VA, and are open to all grieving children from across the country. There will be a special Weekend 9/11 Camp held at Camp Mason in Blairstown, NJ, on April 23-25, 2004. Free of charge for all participants, transportation is available if needed and offsite family accommodations are available nearby. Visit the Web site or call (804) 377-3430.

Camp Sunshine
Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, has created a special week of camp exclusively for 9/11 children and their families.   The camp is free for 9/11 families and designed for the entire family!  The 9/11 program, called Ray of Hope, is for all children – from infants to 19 year olds who lost their parent, and their families.  This year, the Ray of Hope Camp will be held from July 25-30, 2004, in Maine.  To learn more about the camp and program, please visit the camp’s website or call 207-655-3800. 

America's Camp
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 attacks of September 11 or in the line of duty as a New York City firefighter or law enforcement officer. A mature, enthusiastic staff is thoroughly trained to ensure a positive, supportive environment. Campers participate in a wide range of sports, crafts, water activities both at the pool and lake, and special events. This year’s session will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 17 and finish on Monday, Aug. 23. For information about the camp and enrollment, families can call (800) 548-6295, send an e-mail to info@americascamp.org, or visit the camp Web site listed above.

Camp Haze
Camp Haze was established to provide grieving children with an emotional resource as well as a fun-filled week with friends. Its purpose has been to offer a one-week, all-expense paid summer experience for children who lost a loved one on September 11. It is located at Camp Kennybrook in Monticello, NY. The next camp will run from Aug. 21-27, 2004. For more information and to request an application, go to their Web site, or for call (866) FOR-HAZE.

General Summer Camps with Scholarships
Project Heal the Children
The American Camping Association provides a listing of residential and day camps specifically working with victims’ families. Residential camps are in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Day Camps are in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington D.C. To be eligible, a child must have lost a parent on September 11. Eligible families should complete an application for Heal the Children. Using the list of available spaces, the Project Administrator will match the family's preference with the participating camps. For more information, visit the Web site or call (800) 777-CAMP.

Outward Bound
Outward Bound 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 the events of September 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 and ask to speak to the Scholarships for Community representative.

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.

Educational Programs
Exploration Summer Programs
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. This year’s programs will begin on June 27 and end on August 7. Students can attend one three-week session, one beginning on June 27th and the other on July 18th. Attendance is fully funded with assistance available for travel costs. Catalogues and DVDs are available upon request for each of the following 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 the Web site for more information.