Friday, October 21, 2005

Seattle couple helps children in distress

Moyer Foundation launches camp near Boise

Express Staff Writer

Jamie Moyer and two friends stroll a field of dreams.

A young girl named Erin Metcalf became a catalyst long after her short life was complete. She made a plea to her friends Jamie and Karen Moyer that there be help and care for children suffering from a severe loss. The Moyers took that to heart.

Named for Metcalf, Camp Erin was created by The Moyer Foundation, an organization funded by the Seattle Mariner's all-star pitcher and his wife. They established the first Camp Erin in Snohomish County, Wash., as a youth bereavement camp. The money raised for the first Camp Erin came from the 2001 Jamie Moyer Bowling Tournament.

After only five years, there are now six Camp Erins. The most recent one will kick off in the summer of 2006 near Boise in partnership with Life's Door Hospice. It's nonprofit affiliate, Life's DoorWays, was given a $125,000 matching grant two weeks ago by Gary Pollock, the Moyer Foundation's executive director.

Camp Erin is a weekend camp for children who recently suffered the loss of a family member. Bereavement counselors from Life's Doors Hospice, as well as specially trained volunteers, combine grief workshops with games and traditional camp activities to interact with the children. The first camp is planned at Cascade Lake 4H Camp in Donnelly from Aug. 18 to 20, 2006. Camp Erin is free to children of the Treasure Valley and Sun Valley areas, ages 6 to 17, who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

With a new connection in Idaho, the Moyer Foundation has announced a special event, called Dream Catchers, for Feb. 18 in three different locations: Dollar Mountain Lodge in Sun Valley, the Triple Door in Seattle and La Quinta Country Club in Palm Springs, Calif.

"We call it the anti-gala gala," Pollock said. "It may be the only three-city simulcast auction ever. It will be led by Sotheby's auctioneer Hugh Hildesley."

There will be only 21 auction items, each one a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Pollock said. And "we aren't taking the money out of the state. We made a firm commitment" that funds for raised from each location will benefit the Camp Erin facility in that area.

"We are thrilled to be expanding Camp Erin into the Boise and Sun Valley communities. Camp Erin is such a gift to the children, and makes an incredible difference in their lives by providing hope and comfort during the painful grieving process," Karen Moyer said. "We are also very excited about our unique Dream Catchers auction in February."

Applications for children to attend the camp will be available Dec. 1 by calling (208) 275-0000.

Since its inception, The Moyer Foundation has contributed over $3 million to support more than 100 organizations dedicated to helping children in distress. Another of Jamie's philanthropic passions is working with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Jamie and Karen helped create and establish The Gregory Fund, an initiative that supports early cancer detection cancer research at the Fred Hutchinson. Jamie has also helped to raise funds for The Hutch School through The Moyer Foundation's annual "What Cancer Cannot Do" calendar.

The motto of the Seattle-based organization is helping children in distress. Their reputation even exceeds that notion.

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