Contact Us: 734-712-3456
Media Contact:
Laura Blodgett, Media Relations
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Local camp scheduled for children and teens who have lost a loved one
Start Date
Local camp scheduled for children and teens who have lost a loved one
Overnight camp designed to help youth cope with grief

HOWELL, Mich. – (June 13, 2013) – A unique two-day camp in Livingston County will be held for the fifth year in a row this summer for children and teens who have experienced the death of a loved one. The camp will combine traditional summer activities with age-specific grief support.

Ted and Jane's Camp Courage is an overnight camp held at the Howell Conference & Nature Center in Howell. Session One for ages 13 to 17 will be held July 13 and 14 and Session Two for those ages 6 to 12 will be held July 27 to July 28. Camp Courage is a collaborative effort of the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospice. This free program is open to children and teens from ages 6-17.

Children and teens can attend Camp Courage to participate in a combination of outdoor activities, creative arts and music activities. All activities are designed to help campers express and share their grief with peers in order to help them cope better. Campers also will take part in a special memorial ceremony as a remembrance of the person who died. Since its inception, more than 200 young people have attended the camp.

“Camp Courage was created to provide a caring, safe and nurturing environment where grieving children and teens can share with peers who have had similar experiences,” explains Claudia Nafsu, a St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospice bereavement program and camp coordinator. “This supportive environment enables young people to understand that they are not alone in their grief. We are so glad to be partners with the Foundation for this ongoing program."

Gwen Haggerty-Bearden, president of the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation and the daughter of the late Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander recalls losing her parents: “Losing both my parents has made me more aware and empathetic about others who have suffered a loss. For me, having an escape helped me deal with the pain, and I want to provide that for children and teens.”

Haggerty-Bearden concludes, “I hope to address and expand on the need for an innovative children’s and teen’s grief support in the future. I am excited to be working with St. Joseph Hospice and their caring staff. I could not have had this camp without their assistance and guidance.”

For more information about Camp Courage, please call Claudia Nafsu at 734-327-3224 or
# # #

About The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation
The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation is a private family foundation created in 2006 by Jane Von Voigtlander (1944–2007), wife of Ted Von Voigtlander (1936–1999) who was the co-founder of the Discount Tire Company. The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation has set out to fund a spectrum of philanthropic pursuits, focusing its giving on Children, Health, Medical Research, Environment, Animal Advocacy and the Arts.

For more information on The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation, please visit

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving six counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and 113-bed Chelsea Community Hospital. Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,726 beds, have six outpatient health centers, four urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians.

A member of Trinity Health, the nation’s fourth largest Catholic health care organization, SJMHS is committed improving the health of its communities by reinvesting its profits back into the community through new technologies, vital health services, and access for all. The hospitals of SJMHS provide approximately $100 million in community benefit to the communities it serves each year.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit