When we launched our year-round sibling connection initiative with CAMP TO BELONG MASSACHUSETTS, in 2005, we quickly felt the power of Lynn Price’s vision for sisters and brothers who have been separated when removed from their homes and placed in the child welfare system. Right after our first camp season of CTB MA, we piloted a monthly program called Sibling Sundays in order to give campers the opportunity to come together with our fabulous volunteer counselors on a regular basis. Our vision: to create a year-round sibling connection initiative to support the development of enduring family relationships for siblings placed in foster care. This led to the establishment of a new non-profit to support that vision. It is called Sibling Connections.
What we have learned over the past nine years is that while the activities we plan for the week of CTB MA are important, it is spending a sustained amount of time together that is truly magical for the kids – time spent engaged in fun kid-friendly activities that give siblings the opportunity to create an array of joyous shared memories. As one counselor said, “More than the activities, the campers wanted to spend time together as siblings. It was such a gift for them to be able to eat dinner together, to sit under the night sky, watch for falling stars, and to forget, for a minute, the heart wrenching experiences that separated them from one another. I particularly remember the boys in my cabin asking me if I would set the alarm for 6:00 am – two hours EARLY – so that they wouldn’t sleep through any of their time together.” Need we say more?!
In October 2014 we began Season 9 of our Sibling Sunday monthly programming. Currently, we have three Sibling Sunday programs across the state: western Massachusetts, Greater Lowell, and southeastern Massachusetts. Campers and volunteer counselors come together to spend the day in family groups with their Sibling Sunday family and friends. We share meals and then head out to spend the afternoon sledding, ice skating, decorating cookies, making gingerbread houses, building sand castles, playing basketball, rock climbing, hiking, zip lining, apple picking, horseback riding or whatever else the season might offer.
Please visit the Sibling Connections website: www.siblingconnections.org to learn more about us!