Often times, children feel like no one understands what they are feeling and they are hesitant to open up about those feelings. Grief camps can be a wonderful way to help your child take that next step toward healing. If you are uncertain about how to learn more about where grief camps are held and how to get your child involved, simply contact your local hospice program and they will let you know if there is one in your area.
We are posting a list of the grief camps we know about. The goal is to give each child the opportunity to be around other children who know exactly what they are going through. Most grief camps run for ages 7-18, but support groups and workshops are also often available through your hospice program. Hospice is not simply about end of life care. It is about LIFE CARE! Hospice is here to support our communities every day!
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Grief Camps
What are grief camps? Grief camps usually range from 3 days to one week. There will be break out sessions that discuss the loss the child has experienced, often times in both group and one on one sessions. The focus, however, of the camp is to give each child the ability to learn through play, swimming, camp fires, arts and crafts, hiking, etc... all to help teach the child to learn how to move beyond their grief.
Who are the people leading the camp and what are their credentials? The camps are usually held in connection with a hospice/bereavement support group or organization. There are trained counselors and volunteers that are part of the camp.
Are there licensed counselors? YES! Licensed counselors are involved with the planning of activities to be part of the camp and are often part of the staff.
Are they equipped to handle extreme situations? YES! Each camp will require you to complete a regisitration application for the child to be able to attend. In this application, you will be asked what is the loss the child has experienced. Typically, a staff member will contact you to discuss any questions they may have from the application. This will make certain that specific needs can and will be addressed during the camp.
Can/should an adult attend the camp? Not always. There are some camps that have a true family focus where parent and child can learn to address their grief and move toward healing. However, if the camp specifies that it is for a specific age range, adults cannot attend.
What age range is accepted? This varies based on the individual camp. Typically, the children's camps will be for ages 7-18. Family focus camps can be for anyone. There are also adult camps as well. They may be weekend retreats in format, so contact your local hospice program to see if there are any adult camps available.
Is there a limited number who can attend? YES! There is often a cap of the number of children who can attend, so get your reservations in early because space can fill up fast.
What is the cost? This can vary by camp. Often times, there will be little or no cost at all to have your child attend the camp. There are typically scholarships available at each camp if there is any cost associated at all.
Bobby's Books provides an opportunity for parents and professionals to discuss major issues in the lives of children using a Bibliotherapeutic approach. This project goes the additional step of providing curriculum for each book and training in the use of books. Providing a way for parent and child to be together and heal together is a positive approach to processing grief for the family.
Hilda Glazer, EdD
Playful Therapies Center