Summertime standouts: Taylor Dowdle, from camper to counselor

July 20, 2017

Taylor Dowdle

"Human development and family studies interested me because it allows students to understand relationships among individuals, as well as how an individual develops as a person and in relationship with others through their lifespan," said Taylor Dowdle, a human development and family studies major at Colorado State University.

This summer, Dowdle has been working closely with The Moyer Foundation in Seattle, Washington, as a Camp Erin program intern. The Moyer Foundation was created by Major League Baseball player Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen, "to provide comfort, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction." Likewise, Camp Erin, the umbrella term for over 48 nationwide camps, provides a place for children and teens to participate in "traditional camp activities and grief education, while receiving support from trained bereavement experts and a community of youth who are also grieving."

This is not Dowdle's first time being associated with Camp Erin. Her roots with The Moyer Foundation run deeper than anyone would expect, because at one point, Dowdle herself attended Camp Erin to grieve the loss of a loved one.

"After my father passed away when I was 11, I spent four summers at Camp Erin as a camper," Dowdle said about her relationship with the foundation. "Now I am interning with the foundation and volunteering at our King County camp in Washington as a Big Buddy, a cabin counselor for the youth during the weekend, volunteering alongside the same volunteers who supported me many years ago."

Looking to give back to the very thing that helped her process her father's death, Dowdle not only volunteers as a camp counselor, but her work as an intern also includes providing nationwide outreach to various organizations that surround the Camp Erin locations, to inform them about the camps and find other potential campers.

"There have been times when I have called organizations and shared about this resource, and I'm soon told of how through a strike of fate they have a youth who experienced the death of a loved one only days prior to our call," Dowdle said.

Dowdle believes this internship will place her one step closer to reaching her career goal of becoming a grief counselor, an interest that has been with her since her father's passing and was further solidified with her internship.

"This internship has shown that there are more ways to serve youth who are grieving than simply through the relationship between a counselor and client," Dowdle said. "Youth are provided the chance to spend time with a community in which they have the similar experience of grieving the death of a loved one."

To find out more about Camp Erin and The Moyer Foundation visit their website.

Story by Christian Knoll

Contact:  Gretchen Gerding

Telephone:  (970) 491-5182