Phils' Moyer opening camps for kids in grief

The pitcher and his wife announced plans for a Camp Erin in every city in the major leagues.

Posted: March 20, 2007

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The topic makes Phillies lefthander Jamie Moyer a little choked up, and understandably so.

That's why he and his wife Karen have such a passion for it.

The Moyers, cofounders of the Moyer Foundation, announced yesterday that they would establish Camp Erin - a camp for children ages 6 to 17 grieving the loss of a loved one - in every major-league baseball city.

"We all have to deal with it, and I think everybody deals with it in their own ways, but . . .," Moyer said, his voice trailing off, "seeing children grieve, a lot of times they don't know where to go. They don't know how to deal with it. It's unfortunate. That's sometimes where children get lost in life and take the wrong turn.

"Hopefully, in establishing these camps, from what we have seen, these kids come to these camps and realize that this kid is just like me. So is that kid. And that kid. There's a similarity with all of them."

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that one in 20 children will suffer the death of a parent before they graduate from high school. Camp Erins, which are weekend camps, serve about 450 children every summer, and it's a number the Moyers hope skyrockets.

"Depending on the funds that are raised for the camps, we've been able to take on 45 kids in a camp," Moyer said. "We've actually, unfortunately, had to turn kids away. But the more money we can raise, maybe we can make the camps bigger."

"They always seem to find the bright side," Moyer said of the children in the camps. "They're able to teach adults a lot of things. We try to help children and help families in distress, but sometimes I feel like I take more away from the situation than we're able to give because of what children are able to teach us about life."

In the Philadelphia area, a Camp Erin will be held locally at Diamond Ridge Camps in Jamison, Bucks County, from Aug. 17 to 19. All campers are required to register, and volunteers must undergo training. For more information, contact Andrea McLean of the Wissahickon Hospice program at 610-617-2400, or visit www.moyerfoundation.org.

- Todd Zolecki

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