"Eighteen years ago, I had a tiny idea. It was just a little dot in my mind. I called my camp friends and told them about it. Slowly, the dot grew
and grew and grew and the dot became a Circle. Circle of Tapawingo... Circle of EKC... Circle LIT.
Each one of us is a dot. Put us all together and we become a Circle."
- Sandi Lando Welch, Founder
Originally named Circle of Tapawingo, Circle Camps began in 2002 at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine. 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 young girls. The 2019 Circle programs are Circle of Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine, Circle of EKC in Morgantown, West Virginia and Circle Leaders In Training (LIT) in Morgantown, WV.
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 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.
Circle Camps is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in 2002 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania