History & FAQs
How it all started…
Camp Keaton Hamilton is named after a local young boy who inspired others, Keaton Millar. Keaton was a vivacious and spunky 4-year-old when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2007. He went through 3 years of radiation and chemotherapy in Hamilton, Ontario. Seven-year-old Keaton lost his courageous battle on December 4, 2010, leaving behind his family, many young friends, and his 3-year-old sister Ella.
He loved to laugh and live life to the fullest taking every opportunity to stop and smell the flowers. He touched many lives during his short time here in this realm.
Keaton’s nickname was “Key” and thus we have incorporated the symbol of the key into the camp logo. For Camp Keaton the symbolism of an old key represents the safe passage from one realm to the next.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:
Q: What is Camp Keaton?
A: Camp Keaton is a bereavement camp designed for children and youth ages 7 – 17 that have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, friend, or loved one. At camp, the campers are separated into groups by age allowing them to be with campers in their own age range. It is a weekend-long experience filled with traditional, fun, camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers.
Q: When will Camp Keaton take place?
A: Camp Keaton will take place Friday, June 9th through Sunday, June 11th, 2023. Camp Keaton will be held at Camp Wenonah in Bracebridge, Ontario.
Q: Who can attend Camp Keaton?
A: Any person aged 7 through 17 who has experienced the death of a loved one may attend Camp Keaton. Potential campers will be required to fill out an application form containing personal, bereavement, and medical information. We want to ensure the best possible experience for every Camp Keaton participant, each application will be reviewed in detail and an interview will be required before the application process is complete. Due to the large number of applicants expected, campers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each child and youth will be able to attend Camp Keaton once. This will ensure that each year we give as many children and youth as possible the opportunity to attend Camp Keaton. In the event we have more applications than camper spots, we will add your child to a waiting list in the order that the application was received. Campers submitting an application must live in the catchment boundaries – Hamilton and surrounding area, Oakville/Mississauga, Fort Erie/Niagara Falls, Guelph, Brantford.
Q: How much does Camp Keaton cost?
A: Through grants, sponsors, fundraising efforts and the generous support of organizations and individuals in the community, Camp Keaton is free to all campers. For ways in which you can support Camp Keaton please go to: https://kemphospice.org/camp-keaton/support.
Q: What activities are provided for the children and teenagers at Camp Keaton?
A: Children grieve in many ways. They require physical activity as well as emotional outlets, coping skills and community-building to cope with loss. The goal of Camp Keaton is to help normalize the grief process for all campers. It will provide a safe space where children and teenagers can grieve with others who have experienced loss.
There will be ample activities for children of all ages and abilities. Camp activities may include the following: Music, Swimming, Nature Walks, Canoeing, Sharing, Rock Wall, Arts & Crafts, Storytelling, Luminaries.
Q: Who runs Camp Keaton?
A: Camp Keaton is coordinated and staffed by a highly experienced and supportive team, in addition to expert bereavement professionals and trained volunteers. While at Camp Wenonah, the facility where Camp Keaton is held, Camp Keaton staff and volunteers are supported by Camp Wenonah’s own staff, who are hired for their ability to provide strong leadership and to be positive role models for the children and teenagers in their care. All staff have current qualifications in first aid, CPR and swimming standards.
Q: What is the “Meet & Greet” event and do we need to attend?
A: The Camp Keaton Meet & Greet evening event held in May, date to be announced, provides an important opportunity for campers, families, and volunteers to meet each other and receive additional important information about Camp Keaton. For children and youth who are feeling shy about going to camp with people they don’t know, this event provides a safe and supportive opportunity to begin to build connections and community with other campers. Families will be given a packing list, what and what not to bring to camp. All campers and families are asked to attend.
Q: How will my camper be transported to and from camp?
A: Campers, staff, and volunteers will travel to and from Camp Wenonah by bus.