Originally named Circle of Tapawingo, Circle Camps began in 2002 at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine. For 12 years, the program enjoyed consistent growth in camper numbers and recognition throughout the New England region. In 2012, inspired by the proven success of the Circle of Tapawingo program, the Board of Directors voted to change the organization's name to Circle Camps for Grieving Children with the goal of serving more young girls. The 2018 Circle programs are Circle of Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine and Circle of EKC in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The Circle experience begins with the Camper Program for girls ages 9-12, continues with the Teen Program for ages 13-14 ends with the five-year Leaders in Training (LIT) program. LIT-1 focuses on team building and exploring what it means to be a leader. LIT-2 emphasizes discovering and modeling ones best self through camp leadership. LIT Summit-1 concentrates on gaining self-awareness through empowerment. LIT Summit-2 centers on stretching emotional, mental and physical limits. The fifth and final year of the LIT program, First Year Counselor, calls on campers to demonstrate the skills they have developed in the first four years of the program.
Campers live in bunks with trained, volunteer counselors and participate in a unique schedule combining traditional camp activities and age-appropriate grief activities. Under the guidance of licensed professionals, the Circle week offers several structured opportunities for campers to share and rework their stories of loss. Equally important to the Circle program are the spontaneous conversations – in the bunks, on walks down to the lake, during rest hour – that help campers feel supported and connected to each other.
Circle Camps for Grieving Children is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in 2002 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania