Hospice of Southwest Georgia Hosts 7th Annual Camp H.E.A.L.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Another school year will soon come to an end and children will fill their days with fun activities and family vacations.
For some though, these activities may not be the same because of the recent loss of a loved one.
The loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent, other family member or friend is likely to occur at some point in a child’s early years.
Seven years ago, Hospice of Southwest Georgia recognized the need to reach a segment of the population that often has a difficult time working through the loss of a loved one. Camp H.E.A.L. (Healing and Encouragement After Loss) is a bereavement day camp that helps children ages 6-13 cope with the loss of a loved one. The camp, open to the public, is offered in Thomasville and Bainbridge, and was born out of a desire to reach children coping with loss.
“This is our 7th year and we’re excited to offer Camp H.E.A.L to our Bainbridge and Thomasville service areas once again,” said Regenia Jones, MSN, CHPN, CNII, administrator for Hospice of Southwest Georgia. “The camp has grown over the years and Hospice of Southwest Georgia staff and volunteers work year-round to prepare for Camp H.E.A.L. to ensure that we reach as many children as possible.”
When dealing with grief, children must first learn to accept the reality of their loss and acknowledge the pain they feel. Then the child can adjust to an environment where the loved one will no longer be and find ways to remember the loved one in special ways.
For some children, this process takes months and maybe even more than a year.
“Camp H.E.A.L. gives children a safe environment to bond with other children that have also experienced the loss of a loved one,” said Anna Brinson, Hospice of Southwest Georgia bereavement coordinator. “The camp is unique because of the therapeutic value of addressing each child’s needs while also combining fun activities, education and emotional support to let them know that there are other children who share the same feelings.”
The free camp is filled with fun and therapeutic activities including horseback riding, pet therapy, water slides, art therapy, music, education discussions on grief and bereavement and an informal memorial service. Trained professionals and volunteers help each child discuss the loss of their loved one and work through grief.
“The fun activities help children identify and express their feelings, and recreational activities encourage them to work together as a team,” said Brinson. “This allows children to take breaks from their painful feelings and experience fun in addition to learning how to cope with grief.”
Camp H.E.A.L. will be held in Thomasville on Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pebble Hill Plantation. The camp will be held in Bainbridge on Saturday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bainbridge College’s Kirbo Center.
Please call (229) 584-5500 (Thomasville camp), or (229) 246-9965 (Bainbridge camp) to register a child or for more information. Applications are also available online at www.archbold.org/campheal.
To be sure your child has a spot at one of these camps, please register by or before registration deadlines: Friday, May 11 (for Thomasville camp) or Friday, May 31 (for Bainbridge camp).
Applications are also being accepted for Camp H.E.A.L. volunteers. The deadline for volunteer applications is April 30. For more information on becoming a Camp H.E.A.L. volunteer call Hospice of Southwest Georgia, 229-584-5500.