Funeral for the Words “I Can’t”

Sierra DuCatt

Sierra DuCatt


        Paper cut into small strips big enough to write a sentence on            

        Writing utensils for all of the campers in the group 

        A small waterproof box or a bag

        A shovel 

The Ceremony

We worked with Sierra DuCatt at YMCA Camp Seymour in 2013. She was brilliant at creating special memories for her camper. The Funeral for the Word’s “I Can’t” was one of them. She would gather her campers and hike out to a remote, quiet and peaceful place at camp. Then in a quiet circle pass out paper and writing utensils and announce that this is a ceremony, a funeral for the words “I Can’t”. Each camper would write down phrases that they harbor starting with the words “I Can’t” for about 5 min or so. She was a master at knowing when to prompt thoughts and help campers dig down and find their insecurities and self doubts and would participate in the activity herself, showing her own vulnerability to help campers feel comfortable and safe. After, she would place the water proof box or bag in the center of the circle. One at a time starting with herself she would gather the paper “I can’t” statements and place them in the funeral box. If they felt comfortable campers would share aloud. Once all papers were in the center, campers would take turns digging the hole for the box. Finally after burying the box Sierra would open a discussion for to debrief the activity. Asking things like: How do you feel now? How did you feel when you were writing the phrases, How can we make sure to leave these thoughts buried here at camp? How does positive vs. negative self talk make us feel? What kind of promise can we make to our selves leaving this space tonight?