Check Back Soon for 2022 Trip Dates!

a hiking journey for grieving young adults

This journey is for you.

Out under the stars on the Appalachian Trail, after a long day’s hike, the healing process has begun. We know, because we’ve been there.

The Umbrella Project is an outdoor experience like no other, designed specifically for young adults aged 18-25 who have recently suffered the loss of a parent, caregiver or sibling. Hiking over mountains and through valleys of great scenic beauty with a small group of your peers, you will be surprised at your own inner strength and resourcefulness.

The wilderness journey we will undertake together provides a caring, supportive community of those who understand and are sharing the same overwhelming experience of loss. Trained, experienced leaders will guide you over all kinds of terrain in all kinds of weather—which is exactly the point. By participating in a powerful outdoors experience, you will learn the coping skills, self-awareness, and self-reliance that are an essential part of the healing process.

And, as we have also discovered from our own experience, the bond that comes from sharing a grief journey together often presents new opportunities, interests, and friends. In addition to your group of peers, you are sure to meet all kinds of interesting hikers on the trail, and having fun is an important element of any hiking trip!

Some grief work, facilitated by qualified counselors, will be a helpful part of the program, but the Umbrella Project is not intended to provide therapy. Rather, the experience itself—overcoming obstacles, becoming self-reliant, trusting your peers, being out in nature’s grandeur—is what helps facilitate healing and personal growth.

Join Us!

WHO: Young adults 18-25 who have recently lost a parent, caregiver or sibling

WHAT: A fully supported hike with trained leaders on the East Coast’s Appalachian Trail

WHEN: TBD, 2022

WHERE: All trips begin and end near beautiful and historic Harpers Ferry, WV, which is near the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail. Harpers Ferry is a bit more than an hour’s drive from Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. Amtrak and MARC train service also stop at Harpers Ferry, and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is about an hour’s drive away.

WHY: Very few grief programs exist for young adults, an age group that is already often experiencing difficult life transitions. The Umbrella Project seeks to fill that void with an empowering therapeutic outdoor activity that honors the griever and promotes the healing process.

HOW MUCH? The Umbrella Project is funded by our gracious donors and sponsors, so the program is offered at no cost to participants. Donations to help defray costs are welcome.

To view our brochure click here.

Why is it called the Umbrella Project?

Our family lost our father and husband very unexpectedly in 2015. Among other things, he was a graphic and performing artist who loved to engage people all over the world with his “umbrella project.” He would gather up a bunch of umbrellas and spread them across streets, float them on lakes and ponds, hang them from trees and poles—wherever he could involve the local community. When we were thinking about a name for our program to help grieving young adults, we realized we already had one that represents shelter, sanctuary and inclusion—and honors the genesis of this program: The Umbrella Project.

The Umbrella Project Mission Statement

To provide grieving young adults a supported wilderness
hiking experience that promotes personal growth, self-reliance and
therapeutic recreational activity to help in their healing process.


The Umbrella Project is a registered 501 (c) (3) Maryland non-profit corporation.
All donations are fully tax deductible.