CAMP for the children of mentally ill parents
Did any of you have a chance to get-away as a child?
I did. It was called camp. And it changed my life.
For three summers - from 11 to 13 - I went to camp in North Carolina for 2 weeks. I swam in a leech-filled lake, learned how to shoot a bow (that's using "learned" loosely) and discovered a love for cooking.
Those experiences are all important pieces of camp, but the aren't the memories I call on regularly.
Sitting out in the sun with 5 other 12 year old girls,
a bucket of soapy water and learning how to shave our
legs without drawing blood; talking about boys, relationships
and school - those are what were of greatest value to me.
At home, we were all too consumed in the chaos of mental
illness for anyone to have time to spend teaching me or
my sister how to be a woman in the world.
Research has shown the children of depressed mothers to
be more vulnerable to lives stressors, in part because we don't
have a model of how to handle seminal life events, social stressors, or job stressors without collapsing.
Combining that information, with my most fond memories of camp, I am convinced that we all need something like camp to help us learn life skills, and give our parents respite from having to be caregiver.
What the CAMP Scholarship fund will do:
Life Skills for Children of Parental Mental Illness
Respite for the ill parent and partner