Circle Camps is a free summer camp and leadership program for girls who have experienced the death of a parent. Our Leaders in Training program offers four years of leadership-building, skill-building, and community engagement for grieving teens.
Originally named Circle of Tapawingo, Circle Camps began in 2002 at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine as a place to support bereaved children. For 10 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 grieving girls. The 2022 Circle programs are Circle at Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine, Circle at EKC in Morgantown, West Virginia, Circle at Will-A-Way in Winder, GA, and Circle Leaders In Training (LIT) in Maine, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
The Circle experience begins with the Camper Program for girls ages 9-12, continues with the Teen Program for ages 13-14, and ends with the four-year Leaders in Training (LIT) program. LIT-1 is an introduction to camp leadership, with an emphasis on team building. LIT-2 focuses on the development of personal leadership style through counselor training and role modeling. LIT-3 promotes project-based skill acquisition and confidence building through service opportunities. LIT-4 inspires the understanding of individual accountability for group success through an immersive outdoor challenge.
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 and in their shared grief.
Click here to learn more about our program, the daily schedule, and camp activities.