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Camp Hope helps children heal

by jmaloni
Thu, Apr 26th 2012 07:00 am

Whether it's the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling or a special friend, dealing with loss is beyond the experience of most children and their reaction is often overlooked in the activity surrounding the death. To address the special needs of grieving children, the outreach department of Niagara Hospice will hold its 12th Camp Hope for grieving children June 29 to July 1 at the YMCA's Camp Kenan in Barker.

Offered to children who have lost a loved one through death - whether or not they ever received hospice care - the camp is free for children age 7 to 13.

During the camp, children learn to express their grief through many activities such as creative movement therapy, musical expression, arts and crafts, pet visits, and a memorial bonfire. Outdoor recreation like rock wall climbing, making and eating S'mores around the campfire, swimming and nature walks are also enjoyed.

Camp Hope also includes follow-up programs to monitor the children's progress in coping with their loss. About six weeks following camp, the children and their caregivers will meet again with staff and volunteers for a Camp Hope reunion. If needed, referrals will be made with a bereavement counselor for children in need of additional grief support.

For a camp application, call the outreach department at 716-280-0777 or click the "Our Services" tab at www.NiagaraHospice.org for printable forms. Applications must be received by Monday, June 18. Applications are also available on-line for men and women age 21 and older who are interested in volunteering for the camp weekend.

Camp Hope is free and funded by service clubs, organizations, individuals and grants. It is sponsored in part by the Middle Chamber Society, Niagara Falls Council of Beta Sigma Phi, Optimist International, Moose Lodge 584, Niagara County Community College Student Nurses Association, Starpoint Teacher's Association, and Wegmans Supermarket on Military Road. To sponsor a camper, call 716-439-4417.

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