It is time again for our fall Camp HOPE. As you may or may not know, our fall camp is only for children in our In School Grief Support Program. This program is in 65 schools, serving 400 grieving children. Now, I love both camps. I love watching families go through the motions and learn how to handle one another and themselves in healthy and positive ways. That said, there is something so incredibly special about watching kids from 5-18 learning these things on their own. (Or at least with the help of our staff and volunteers)
I know that these moments that I get to witness will impact these kids for the rest of their lives and it is so very special to me that I get to be present for that. We use the symbol of a butterfly a lot during camp, and getting to be there for this metamorphosis (of sorts) is more intimate and raw and special than anything I could describe. I have watched kids rally around in one another in ways that may have never happened without this camp. The moment they step off the school bus, they know that they are in a loving, judgement-free zone where they can express themselves without social pressure. They can be vulnerable with one another and they can heal in their own special ways.
When I go to events and I get to talk about what we do as an agency, THIS is one of the things I brag on the most. You don’t realize how much things like this are needed until you see it up close and personal. I am so proud to work for an agency where we strive to make sure that children are not forgotten in grief. To work for an agency that uses tools of expression to put things in terms that they can understand. To work for an agency that cares. To have SO MANY wonderful supporters and volunteers and sponsors that see the value of this service.
Thank you to you all. YOU are making life changing experiences for these kids and have been for TEN years.
If you know a child who may benefit from Camp HOPE or our In School Grief Support Program, please reach out to their counselor. Please contact the Grief Support Department by calling 256.891.7724 if you have any additional questions.