Parent & Caregiver Support Groups

North Star Reach parent and caregiver support groups are open to parents and caregivers of children with serious illness and offered free of charge.

All groups meet under the guidance of a trained professional, who proposes discussion topics and will also help to facilitate conversations based on whatever comes up at each gathering.

These are small groups and all members are asked to commit to regular attendance at each of the six 90-minute sessions, which will meet every other week this fall. Information, as well as what is shared, is kept strictly confidential.

The benefits of participating in the support group include:

  • Gain sense of belonging while decreasing feelings of isolation parents and caregivers of seriously ill children often experience
  • Discover new ways to cope with stress related to caring for chronically ill child and improve own health and well-being
  • Learn about community resources
  • Opportunity to share experiences with others who have had a similar journey

Spaces are still available. Register today by completing the form below.

Fall 2020 Support Groups

Cultivating Intentionality & Courage Group

When: Tuesdays, 5–6:30 p.m. (EST), every other week, starting September 29
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What: Focus on skills to cultivate intentionality as parents and caregivers navigate life choices.

Who: Facilitated by North Star Reach’s Mary Ann Fithian and Patrick Smith

Facilitator Bios

Mary Ann Fithian is mom and caregiver for Will and her chronically ill child Faith. She is a certified small group facilitator and is passionate about helping families get the resources they need to care for their chronically ill children. Mary Ann also co-hosts the podcast “Love the Mooseness,” a talk show focused on exploring topics important to parents and caregivers of children with serious illness.

Patrick Smith, MA, is the Director of Camping at North Star Reach. A 25 year veteran in the camping industry, he is passionate about building community and connectedness through the power of play.

Hope & Healing Group

When: Wednesdays, 4–5:30 p.m. (EST), every other week, starting September 30
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What: Focus on hope and healing for parents and caregivers.

Who: Facilitated by Victoria Lovell and North Star Reach’s Jessica Doletzky

Facilitator Bios

Rev. Victoria Lovell, B.A., M.Ed., MDiv., is a former educator and coach of 20 years. She is the award-winning author of the children’s book, “My Guy in the Sky,” and the founder of Angel Whispers Ministries whose mission is to lead those poor in mind, body and spirit to a life of wholeness. She also serves at Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, where she is the associate pastor, an advocate for those experiencing homelessness and a missionary in Uganda, Africa.

Jessica Doletzky, CCLS, CTRS, is North Star Reach’s Outreach and Family Liaison Specialist. Prior to joining North Star Reach in 2014, she was a Child Life Specialist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for nine years, where she worked with pediatric patients and families in the hospital setting.

Depression, Anxiety & PTSD Group

When: Wednesdays, 7–8:30 p.m. (EST), every other week, starting September 30
View Calendar

What: Focus on mental health issues facing parents and caregivers and their children.

Who: Facilitated by Emily Gordon and North Star Reach’s Mary Ann Fithian

Facilitator Bios

Emily Gordon is a single mom and caregiver for her daughter, Vara, who is a medically complex cancer fighter. An experienced support group facilitator for families caring for chronically ill children, Emily relies on humor to help her process her own losses and to help others cope. She is a senior executive at the global talent acquisition/solutions company, PeopleScout.

Mary Ann Fithian is mom and caregiver for Will and her chronically ill child Faith. She is a certified small group facilitator and is passionate about helping families get the resources they need to care for their chronically ill children. Mary Ann also co-hosts the podcast “Love the Mooseness,” a talk show focused on exploring topics important to parents and caregivers of children with serious illness.

Resilience & Self-Care Group

When: Saturdays, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (EST), every other week, starting October 3
View Calendar

What: Focus on self-care and wellness for parents and caregivers.

Who: Facilitated by North Star Reach’s Becky Patrias, M.D. and Ami Walsh

Facilitator Bios

Rebecca Patrias, M.D., is North Star Reach’s Medical Director. A graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, “Dr. Becky” has been a practicing physician at the University of Michigan Health System, and at St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals in Ann Arbor and Chelsea. Since 1989, she has run a private practice in Chelsea. 

Along with her many roles at North Star Reach, Ami Walsh directs the program “Story Studio” for campers and family members. She believes creative expression is accessible to everyone. Discovering what you want to say, and listening to others, can offer hope during the darkest times.

Parent & Caregiver Support Group Registration

Families may register up to two caregivers for the same support group by submitting the additional name using the form below. Spaces are limited and filled on a first come basis.

Fall Support Groups Registration 2020
Support Group *

Alternate Support Group, if first choice is full

Second Choice *
Third Choice *
Fourth Choice *

Participant Information

Gender *
Address *
Address
Street Address 2
City
State/Province
Zip/Postal
Is this phone number able to receive texts? *
Is this phone number able to receive texts? *

Additional Parent/Caregiver

Please note: Families with two caregivers who wish to attend separate support groups should submit a separate form for each participant, making sure to designate the preferred support group for each individual. (In other words, complete and submit this form for one individual and then return to complete for the second participant.) The fields below are for you to register a second caregiver who will attend the same session as you. If you have more than two caregivers in the same family who wish to attend a support group, please contact us.
Parent/Caregiver Gender
Have you or one of your children attended a North Star Reach camp program before? *

Support Groups Waivers

We ask that participating parents and caregivers consent to the following policies, procedures and expected behavior at North Star Reach programs. By clicking on the boxes below, you (and, if applicable, a second caregiver) acknowledge that you have read and agree to the policies, consents and code of conduct contract. All fields are required. Here is the “official” legalese disclaimer: In consideration of being allowed to participate in programs delivered by North Star Reach, you (as the Participant), do hereby agree to the fullest extent permitted by law to the required policies and waivers below:

Program Consent

I hereby release, discharge and otherwise indemnify North Star Reach, its affiliated organizations and sponsors, its officers, directors, employees, volunteers and agents (the “Camp Parties”) against any claim by me or any family caregiver as a result of our participation in any program or activity sponsored, coordinated, or supervised by North Star Reach. *

Photo / Media Consent

In the interest of respecting the privacy of other support group members, I agree not to take screenshots or to record in any manner of online programming, including zoom gatherings, breakout rooms or comment areas. *

Communication Policy Consent

As part of our policies and procedures, we do not allow staff or volunteers to communicate with camper families or support group participants via various social media sites, email, mobile phones and mail outside of official programs. Our staff and volunteers participate in an extensive screening, selection and training processes and are supervised by our support team during camp and support groups to ensure their behavior is professional and appropriate at all times. We cannot take responsibility for their behavior once camp or a support group has ended. *

Camp Code Contract

We ask every support group participant to read the Camp Code Contract. Once you have read the Camp Code Contract, check the box to confirm that you and any other participating caregiver in your family accepts the responsibility to meet these behavior expectations.
I agree to the Camp Code Contract *

Get in touch!

Contact and Subscribe (Mobile)
Inquiry Options *

North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

Stay Connected

North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169

Stay Connected

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

Contact and Subscribe (Desktop)
Inquiry Options *
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North Star Reach is a platinum-level
GuideStar participant

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Photo Credit: Leisa Thompson Photography