Major Funding provided by the Stanley W. Ekstrom Foundation
Soaring Spirits is proud to serve both our widowed community and their dependent children through our once a year Camp Widow® Kids program held concurrently with our annual Camp Widow San Diego weekend.
Please note that the kids program is a separate program from our regular camp weekend. Camp Widow will be run with all the elements, energy and focus on widowed adults to which our organizational mission calls us.
Soaring Spirits’ Camp Widow Kids program creates the same peer atmosphere for children ages 5-17 that we provide for their parents who attend Camp Widow. Our kids program is focused on the power of narrative and the building of community. Over two days, we will be assisting young people who have experienced the death of a parent to tell the story of their grief experience in their own words. Throughout the weekend they will “build” their storytelling skills and create their own unique narrative that acknowledges the death of their parent, and also honors the love they will always have for their parent.
Each camp weekend has a unique theme which is woven through fun outings, team building games and experiences, time to honor their loved one, and most importantly the experience of being in a community of peers to create a memorable and meaningful weekend.
We love the opportunity to create a community of peers for the kids of our campers, and to offer them the ongoing opportunity to attend the Camp Widow Kids program year after year. Community matters!
Children who attend MUST be accompanied by a parent who is attending Camp Widow, and there is no additional fee for any child attending the Camp Widow Kids program.
**We take your trust in us seriously. As positive cases of COVID-19 in unvaccinated children steadily rise, our concern regarding our ability to provide a physically safe program for your children has sharply increased. At this time the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership of Soaring Spirits, as well as the Camp Widow Kids planning team, all agree that postponing Camp Widow Kids to July of 2022 is the best way for us to honor your trust in Soaring Spirits International.
When: July 15 – 17, 2022 (Information on schedule coming in 2022)
Where: Marriott Marquis and Marina Hotel – 333 W Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
Who: Young people ages 5-17 who are accompanying a registered Camp Widow® camper.
What: Camp Widow Kids is a weekend long program designed to provide age-appropriate coping techniques and a peer community for children who have experienced the death of a parent.
Registration: Now open! You must be a currently registered Camp Widow San Diego camper before registering your child/ren for this program. Each child will need their own registration so please register each child separately, and there is no cost associated with registering your children for Camp Widow Kids.
Volunteers: We will be seeking young adults who have experienced the death of a parent to join our Camp Widow Kids Leadership Team. If you are interested in joining our volunteer team, fill out an application to join us by registering as a volunteer and our team will be in touch with you soon.
**Any person over the age of 18 who volunteers for our program will be required to participate in a Livescan screening. Additionally, as stated in our COVID-19 Management Policy above, all volunteers and adults associated with running the Kids program must show proof of vaccination.
Camp Widow® Kids Director
Meet Dr. Michael Rodriquez AKA Big Mike, named by the kids he has worked with over the past 30+ years.
Dr. Rodriquez heads up our Camp Widow Team as the Director of our kids programming. Dr. Rodriguez graduated from the California School of Professional Psychology with both a Master’s Degree and a Doctorate in marriage and family therapy. He earned licensure as both an MFT as well as a Clinical Psychologist.
On a personal note, Big Mike is the proud father of 2 girls, Juliet and Portia. He played football for Royal High and graduated in 1993. Mike attended Cal State Northridge and graduated with a degree in Urban Planning. During this time he was the youth director for many high school and junior high programs for four different youth programs in the California area (St Paschal’s, St Rose, St Julie’s and St Edwards). Mike coached high school football at Oak Park High School and served as the youth leader for Hospice of Conejo. Mike loves travel, and he is passionate about volunteering his time in the service of others.
Camp Widow® Kids Program Manager
Meet Dr. Pileski! Dr. Leticia Gonzalez Pileski is the Interim Executive Director at San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Center for Community Counseling and Engagement, a community-based psychotherapy training facility. In addition, she is a Professor of Equity at SDSU where she works collaboratively with a team on tackling social justice issues and increasing equitable practices in higher education. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AAMFT Approved Clinical Supervisor/Mentor and has a Certificate in Latin American Family Therapy from Alliant International University’s Spanish Language and Cultural Immersion Program Mexico. She is a Co-Founder for the Liberation Psychology Intercambio annual training in El Salvador and has been actively involved in international educational efforts since 2005 in the United States, Mexico, Cambodia, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. The last two decades, she has worked with diverse community-based programs, school-based therapeutic services and in crisis clinics. Dr. Letty recently completed the Daring Way certification, a Dr. Brené Brown training focused on shame resiliency.
Dr. Letty began working at camps for youth as an undergraduate student and eventually became a Camp Director. She opened, developed, and directed camps in several Southern California regions. After completing her Master’s and Doctoral programs Letty utilized her clinical skills and reunited with her love for camp when she accepted the role as a Camp Director at San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care directing Camp Erin, a grief camp for children from 2008 – 2010. In addition, she expanded to developing camps for orphaned youth in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Cambodia. Dr. Letty has energetically co-facilitated and organized Camp Widow Kids since its inaugural presence at Camp Widow in 2016.