Meet Sara Deren...! - Westport Moms

How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? We have 3 kids, ages 15, 13, and 11, plus 1 dog and 2 chickens. We’ve lived here for 12 years.

How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I married into summer camp (my husband, Jon is a camp owner and director) and soon left my NYC corporate cubicle for lakeside living at Camp Manitou in Maine. I became enamored with the life-changing experience of camp and wanted to create something for kids that don’t get that opportunity. Grief hadn’t been on our radar, but once we learned of the need, it clicked, and Experience Camps was born. We opened our first camp for grieving kids in 2009 with 27 campers. This summer, we’ll serve 1,500 kids nationwide and reach millions more through content and education.

Together with a team of amazing Westport friends, we’re hosting the 6th annual Day of Champions event on May 19th to benefit Experience Camps. It’s a day of family fun and fierce competition that brings out the best in this community. We still have a few spots left for teams that want to compete and support this cause! Registration at
(You can see what Experience Camps is all about HERE.)

What is the last book you read? I’m currently reading Bad Therapy by Abigail Shrier. I’m not sure I agree with everything she writes, but it’s making me think about our culture’s emphasis on mental health a bit differently.

What is your favorite podcast? I really enjoyed Wiser Than Me, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Women spend so much time fighting against aging, and here you have these iconic women sharing how great they feel in their 70s and 80s. It inspires a bit more acceptance of this journey we’re on.

What is your greatest indulgence? I love a fancy hotel.

Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could belt out some in-tune karaoke.

What’s a cause or purpose you deeply believe in? Childhood grief, of course! Grief can be such an isolating experience because people are uncomfortable talking about it – especially with kids. And that isolation can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes. I want to create a world where no child feels alone in their grief.

What is your favorite family tradition? We’re pretty fortunate that our whole family goes to summer camp. We all get to be in our happy place, there’s no technology, and someone else is in charge of meals and laundry. Everybody wins.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I think most people are surprised when they find out that I started an organization for grieving kids without any personal connection to grief. I discovered that it’s a cause you can feel deepy through the stories and experiences of others, even if it’s not your story.

If you weren’t doing what you are today, what might your career path might have been? I wouldn’t want to change a thing. I love what I do.

What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? I rub my dog’s belly. It’s impossible not to.

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? Candy (milk duds)
Cook or order in? Both.
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? Hot.
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Does anyone actually choose half empty??
Sauce on the Side or Sauce on Top? On top.
Crunchy or Smooth Peanut Butter? As a camp person, I think I have to choose Sunbutter!
Guacamole or Salsa? Guac
Attend a Party or Host a Party? Host
Call a friend or text a friend? Call
Vacation or staycation? Vacation
Before bed: Social media or book/TV? TV
Watch or play sports? These days, I watch.
Stay in or go out? Stay in.
Comedy or Drama? Comedy

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