Parent Program

It’s hard for a family to talk about grief. We’re here to say: “That’s OK. Just take it one step at a time.”

Talking about homicide is a very difficult conversation within a family. Each person moves through the different stages of grief at different times. One might be ready to talk and share their feelings while another pushes the tragedy deep down inside their heart.

That’s why we offer the Camp Sheilah Parent Program. Loss by homicide is a unique kind of loss. Oftentimes, it leaves unanswered questions, guilt and isolation, making it hard to walk in step with the people you love. Camp Sheilah was created by a family that “gets it.” The Doyle family founded the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation in honor of their mother who was brutally murdered in 1993.

Grief is now a part of their life journey forever. Through Camp Sheilah, their efforts help others take grief with them along their life journeys in hopeful, positive ways.

“We built this camp because we wanted people to know they are not alone. We’re building our own community at Camp Sheilah for those who lost someone they loved to homicide. Grief is a journey. We walk it together.”

KEVIN DOYLE, Executive Director of the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation


Helping the whole family benefits everyone. Family is a child’s greatest support system.

Think of Camp Sheilah’s Parent Program as a three-day camp condensed into one day – just for parents, legal guardians and caregivers. You’ll get to share your story with others if you choose, talk about what your children are going through, and learn valuable coping skills. These are the same skills, in fact, our Jr. Explorers learn. That’s right, we call our campers that because nobody just “gets over” loss. We take grief with us. It’s a journey we are all on together. Camp Sheilah helps all of us explore the opportunities to embrace our loss and become stronger because of it.

The Camp Sheilah Parent Program prepares you to help your child and yourself navigate the grief journey. Some people refer to the program as “oxygen” because realizing you are not alone – that you have people by your side that understand your loss – allows you to breathe deeply with a sense of relief and courage. Participants may walk in as strangers, but everyone leaves the parent program feeling like they are part of a larger community.

We help you start the conversation.

You’ll do the same craft activities as the kids. They’re fun! And even more importantly, in the days and weeks following the camp, these creations serve as great conversation starters. After all, everybody has a different take on grief. Bringing home something you’ve made opens up the opportunity to explore feelings and listen to each other.


The Camp Sheilah Parent Program at-a-Glance

  • Optional, one-day program for parents, legal guardians and caregivers of Camp Sheilah campers (we call them Jr. Explorers)
  • Gain a better understanding of the grief journey for you and your child
  • Learn grief coping skills
  • Create community and fellowship among people who have experienced loss by homicide
  • Group discussion is led by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker from the State of Illinois
  • To sign up, just check the Parent Program box on your child’s application
  • Always the Saturday of camp from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Continental breakfast and lunch provided
  • Location: Camp Manitoqua at 8122 W Sauk Trail, Frankfort, IL 60423
  • Completely free