Bereavement Summer Camp offers kids help with loss
The sixth annual Camp BraveHeart, a summer camp program designed to help kids and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one, is being sponsored this August by the Center for Grief & Healing at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island (HHCRI), the state’s leader in hospice and palliative care since 1976.
The two-day summer camp, for children ages 5-17, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Aug. 23 and 24 at the YMCA Camp Fuller in Wakefield. Five- and 6-year-old children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The camp is free to children whose loved one was cared for by Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. A $25 donation from non-HHCRI families is requested, but can be waived if necessary. Transportation is available from pre-arranged pick-up and drop-off points in Providence and Warwick.
Children at Camp BraveHeart will take part in fun activities and receive grief support. Traditional camp activities include swimming, kayaking, zip line, slip ’n slide, and arts and crafts. Counselors also will provide grief and emotional support through discussions, opportunities to memorialize loved ones, storytelling, scrapbooking and remembrance circles.
“Research indicates that children who experience the loss of a loved one often become ‘forgotten mourners,’” says Deanna Upchurch, senior grief counselor and children’s grief specialist at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. Upchurch holds a master’s in counseling psychology and founded the camp. “These surviving children often feel isolated and lonely in their grief and may not be sure how to handle the conflicting emotions they are feeling. At Camp BraveHeart, we provide an appropriate emotional outlet to children by offering them grief support in an environment of fun recreational activities, and we help them to understand that what they’re experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.”
Camp BraveHeart is made possible through the generous contributions of donors. Anyone wishing to donate to the Camp BraveHeart Fund may send a tax-deductible contribution to Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, Department of Philanthropy, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904.
The deadline to register for the camp is Aug. 13. To register, call 415-4610. More information about Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island’s bereavement services is available at www.hhcri.org or by calling the Center for Grief & Healing at 415-4300.