Free camp offers kids help with grief, Aug. 22 – 23

1.CampBraveHeart2009 058Camp BraveHeart, a two-day, free camp for kids grieving the death of a loved one, still has openings. The seventh edition of the camp is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Aug. 22 and 23 at the YMCA’s Camp Fuller in South Kingstown RI. The camp is organized by Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island for kids and teens ages 4 to 17.

Most of us who have been there — kids, volunteers and staff — wouldn’t miss it for anything.

CampBraveHeart2009 074When the kids arrive Thursday morning, they’ll check in, get their T-shirts, and then go to a memory tree where they will place pictures of loved ones who have died. It is wonderful to watch them and to see the natural bonding that occurs as the kids share stories about their loved ones.

The adults who support the campers will come to help make the camp fun, said Deanna Upchurch, senior grief counselor at Home & Hospice Care yesterday. The bonding among the kids happens on its own, naturally.

Deanna founded Camp BraveHeart. Her children, whose dad died, have attended as campers and volunteers.

1.WEBCampBraveHeart2009 031“Surviving children often feel isolated and lonely in their grief and may not be sure of how to handle the conflicting emotions they are feeling, she said. “At Camp BraveHeart, we provide an appropriate emotional outlet to children by offering them grief support in an environment of fun recreational activities.  We help them to understand that what they’re experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.”

To register, contact Deanna by Aug. 20 at (401) 415-4610 or email dupchurch@hhcri.org. Transportation is available from pre-arranged pick-up and drop-off points.

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