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Camp Koala

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Family Counseling, Family Services, Human Services, Mental Health, Public & Societal Benefit

Mission: To provide grieving children and teens with the tools and resources to manage their grief in a healthy way, and to provide companionship in a supportive environment.

Results: Founded in 2008. In 2013, we opened our second camp, for teens. 2015-opened a new branch in Wilkes-Barre 2015-two new school support groups 2016-three new hospital support groups 2016-new three day camp in Union County

Target demographics: Grieving children ages 6-12, and teens 13-18.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 125 grieving children

Geographic areas served: Central PA; Greater Carlisle and Harrisburg area; Union County PA; Wilkes-Barre, PA

Programs: One, two and three day support camps for grieving children and teens; support groups for grieving children. Comfort Boxes for newly bereaved students, Children's Grief Awareness Day activities.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My girls lost their Dad unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day. The last 6 months have been difficult as we have worked to heal from his passing, and to establish and adjust to our "new normal." When the girls first heard about the camp, they didn't want to go, and even up to the day before, showed resistance about attending. BUT, once they got there, both girls had a wonderful time doing all the fun things that you had planned! The staff really knows how to perfectly blend lots of fun that is mixed with some moments of healing. I feel so blessed that my girls were able to participate in this amazing program! Thank you 'Camp Koala' for all you did this weekend... you are all very incredible people!

2 Heather M.6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We came from about 2 hours away to go to this weekend camp since it's really hard to find peers for my daughter that have experienced this kind of loss. I didn't know what to expect, but my daughter had a great time, met some new friends, and shared in experiences. She wants to come back next year and I'm willing to do the drive so she can make these connections again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The volunteers who devote their weekend or day for Day camp have the biggest hearts and caring for the children and are great listeners and mentors! Lots of energy is needed and they possess this! After 10 years of various camps, I’ve never seen a child go home due to Home sickness! They feel a sense of community at camp! Amazing!

Jessica M.6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter Autumn attended Camp Koala only 5 short months after losing her best friend. Although she was apprehensive to share a lot in the big group setting, she really opened up to her big buddy. Camp Koala was very beneficial to her healing journey. I often hear her pounding her drum to send messages to David! Thank you for helping her find a way to deal with her emotions!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Koala is making a way for the discussion of grief to be less taboo, less painful, and more acceptable. It is providing a safe place for kids to share, remember and reflect but also to also enjoy life with others who are grieving. It provides a tangible reminder when children feel the most alone and confused that however they feel is okay.

The staff and volunteers shine a most beautiful light, and it shows in the faces of the children who participate. Really incredible non-profit doing valuable work. I LOVE Camp Koala.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful camp. Everyone was so nice and caring.The kids activities at this camp were so much fun and you could see how much fun the kids were having and how happy they were. I cant say enough how proud i am to be a part of this wonderful organization.

4 Jeannie B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attended the September 2018 sleep over camp and I am eternally grateful that the amazing people in charge were able to accommodate my son after his fathers sudden passing in late July.
This was his first time at any sleep away camp and I really did not know how he would do but upon drop off the buddy was right there to make him feel comfortable (thank you Amy!).
When we went to pick him up Sunday the smile and confidence he had gained really blew my mind. He was SMILING!!!! He has gained so many coping skills within a few days, I’m sincerely impressed!
He quoted many things he heard at camp like “there is no cure for grief” and “don’t yuck someone’s yum”.
He has been able to talk about his father much more now which is wonderful, I know that we all have a long way to go in our grief journey but I will forever be grateful for the foundation camp koala has given to my son.
Thank you to everyone involved and keep up the amazing work!

1 Amanda G.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a big buddy at camp this year and loved every minute of it. There are so many adults and children that suffer a loss, and camp koala really helps all ages grieve. From making and playing drums, fishing, archery,tie dying and so much more to grieving sessions where campers can share as much or as little of their story they wish.Camp Koala has it all!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter really enjoyed Camp Koala! We did not know what to expect at first - was it going to be all sad stories, talking in front of a group, etc. My daughter lost her baby brother at 7 months old. This was a very difficult time for our whole family. I noticed some behavioral changes in my daughter, both at home and school. She would not talk about the loss of her brother often, however all of her writing assignments at school were about him. We knew at that time she needed an outlet for this. The school counselor recommended Camp Koala and it was perfect for her and she was very proud of the memory box that she was able to make there and bring home.

Mamta B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

wow. really inspiring for all of us.
valentines day messages

1 Loni W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Koala has done wonders for my son. The volunteers are the most caring, thoughtful and giving people. They provide unique therapy for the children. My son's favorite is the art therapy. The camp allows children to meet other children who have gone through loss and makes them see they are not alone. My son looks forward to going every year! He has made friends and love his big buddies. The whole Camp Koala team is amazing. They all come together to provide a nurturing , therapeutic, fun weekend for the kids. I highly recommend Camp Koala:)

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attended Camp Koala for a weekend Camp. I couldn't have been happier with the camp. He came away more peaceful & happy. I could tell he felt cared for. The projects the kids completed where therapeutic and quite meaningful. I will be forever grateful for the compassion/care that this camp & the staff showed during our time of need.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a supporter of Lisa and her work for a long time, mainly as a donor and cheerleader. A few months ago, I had the privilege of being a Big Buddy during one of the camps, and it was a humbling experience. The CK team is doing excellent work to ease the pain felt when a loved one dies. I look forward to helping more in the future.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization, highly recommended! My experience with Camp Koala has been an amazing one. I would give it 10 stars if I could. What a great place for grieving children to find a safe place to fall. Keep up the good work!

3 Jessica295

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about this camp! My son lost his father when he was 6. He went to a counselor for over a year to deal with his grief with no significant difference. When we heard about Camp Koala, we thought we would give it a shot! We are so glad we did...he met a lot of wonderful people who shared the same feelings he endures. He seems to have a better way of dealing with his grief and looks forward to returning to future camps! They participated in lots of fun activities as well as therapeutic activities!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Camp KOALA for the past eight years. It is truly a life-changing organization that continues to inspire. Thank you Camp Koala.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Selfless, compassionate time and energy to those who need it the most...in turn we realize we are blessed! Great organization with all the experience necessary to truly understand the needs of those who attend camp!

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The heart and soul of this organization is huge! The endless hours and dedication and decision not to pay rent and utilities but to use donations and funds raised for the purpose is so admirable!!!! Keep up the passion to serve the children and youth who have experienced loss and a void in their life.....

7 Kathryn14

Donor

Rating: 5

Talk about resilience! Despite facing some huge challenges last year, this organization rose from the ashes and is again providing outstanding support to many families who would otherwise be without. I have backed Camp Koala for years and with Lisa at its helm again I will continue to do so. Such great people doing wonderful work! Thank you for your dedication and devotion!

Previous Stories
12

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been blessed to meet the fine, selfless people who volunteer their time and energy and the wonderful individuals who have participated in from Camp Koala. This is an amazing organization which helps not just children, but families heal. The benefits will be felt for generations!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

First I want to thank you for the wonderful program you have created! It is such a valuable resource to the kids of the community. My son LOVED his time this past weekend and we feel he benefited from being around other kids who have also lost a loved one. So thank you!!!

Donor

Rating: 2

My company and family donated to this organization in 2015. Two months later, I heard the camps were cancelled. I went to the office to talk with the Director, the office was closed and clearly vacant. I later learned that the organization had moved to another city that is more than two hours away from my small business. Feeling disappointed and misled. From the other reviews, I see they do some good work. I haven't heard back after leaving several messages and can't find the board members listed on the company website.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We just wanted to thank all of you for providing our foster daughter with an absolutely fantastic weekend. We expected to pick up the same unhappy, troubled child we dropped off on Friday night. WOW! We were so pleasantly surprised. Our daughter, who claims to dislike a great deal of life and people, loved her experience at the camp! She was matched with the "perfect" counselor and had such a positive experience. We know a weekend didn't fix everything with her, but it did make a major difference in her. It is a difference she will remember and she talks of helping others in the future. We have tried therapists and youth advocates, but something about Camp Koala really had a major impact on her. Anyway, we just wanted to thank all of you for all your time and effort-you really make a difference in these children's lives! Thanks!!!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Camp Koala is making a huge difference in our community. I am proud to support this wonderful charity!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my family.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was a privilege to attend the camp as their photographer. Seeing the kids and all the volunteers through the lens of a camera is amazing! What the camp does for the children is truly amazing and inspiring. To see the children laugh, play and socialize and to capture that special moment will always be one of the most special highlights of my life!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the honor of being a volunteer at Camp Koala this year located at Camp Thompson. What I witnessed was beyond amazing. What Camp Koala does is hard to put into words. It takes a very serious topic, grief, and presents it to children and teens in a way that helps them learn how to process, understand, and work through it. The people I met at this camp are unlike any I have seen, they are truly dedicated, passionate, giving, and have so much to teach.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

After I went (to the Family Workshop) I had a healthier way of dealing with my Mom's illness, and enjoyed hearing others share. A very worth while time for me, and I hope the program grows and reaches out to the community.

7 Jen_6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attended Camp Koala in 2010. He loved the experience. It was good for him to see that there are other kids, like him, who have experienced the loss of a close relative. It made him feel less 'different' and less alone. He still mentions the weekend from time to time and is hoping that someday he can be a volunteer. It truly is a wonderful experience for these children who have had a devastating loss in their lives. I am so glad that I learned about the camp and was able to make it possible for my son to participate.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very proud to be a volunteer at Camp Koala. I have witnessed the companionship and support given and received, and the healing process throughout the camp weekend. Volunteers have given their all, and children have had so much fun. What a great group of people. Kids learn to be kids again! If you are a donor, this is a great place to entrust your money to, its money well spent. I am proud to be associated with such wonderful people. Thank you for this wonderful experience!

8 Mickey C.

Board Member

Rating: 4

Camp Koala is a children's grief camp. It takes what sounds sad and lonely and turns it into a joyous weekend for children who've experienced the most unfair of losses, their parent or sibling. Our 4th annual camp happens in early June this year, with all the spots filled months before camp. We hope to expand Camp Koala from helping 6 to 12 year olds by adding a camp for teens too, and eventually a family camp, where all the surviving members of a grieving family can share a fun weekend and learn coping skills. We are working to become a FIVE star organization as we grow bigger and better!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After the loss of a dear friend, her young daughter was able to apply and attend Camp Koala, that was years ago and she still talks about the friends she made, the crafts she created and the fun times she had at the Camp.
Camp Koala is an outstanding opportunity for kids who are dealing with grief. I've experienced firsthand how much this organization cares about kids. Attending the camp really makes a difference in a child's life following a loss of a loved one. I can’t think of a greater cause than helping children cope at a time when they have few options available. Thank goodness for the many volunteers who put their time and talents forth and give of their precious time to help children they don’t even know. This organization is really making a difference in the community they serve.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for four years, and I love being a part of this program. I have witnessed the magic of Buddying a child, and seeing them release their anger and bottled up grief. I recommend this camp to any parent or caregiver of a grieving child, or any person who is looking for a volunteer opportunity. If you are a donor, and are looking for a worthy cause, this is definitely a place I would recommend. This has grown so far in such a short time, and is doing such incredible work, I wish you could see it first hand. Magic, magic, magic!! Life changing!

2 Marti F.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As an adult I can see more clearly the importance of grief. I lost my father and brother during my childhood. Camp Koala is a great weekend for grieving kids to get together to support each other but also to feel normal and just have fun. I love leaving camp knowing we made a difference in their lives. They will carry these memories with them always.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Camp Koala is a wonderful non-profit bereavement camp for kids. I was amazed how the camp weekend was beneficial but also so fun. You could see the kids change as they realized they were not the only ones at camp who had lost someone. With continued donations and support Camp Koala will soon grow into teen and family bereavement camps too. I am very blessed to be part of such a great organiztion!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Lisa Streett-Liebetrau has, in the short span of 2 years, taken Camp Koala from nothing but a dream, to a childrens' grief camp with a donated street-level-window office space, a fantastic gala, and plans for family grief camps, family counseling, and so much more.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Koala, children's grief camp: What a wonderful, beneficial and important charity to support. We gave a group of grieving children a chance to come together for a weekend to express their feelings, and make friends with other kids who had also lost a family member. I will volunteer for every camp!

Review from Guidestar