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Center for Children Hosts Journeys Camp for Grieving Youth

Hospice of the Piedmont’s Center for Children was pleased to be able to be back in person to host an all-day camp this past April at Triple-C Camp in Charlottesville. Nearly 30 children attended the camp from across our service area. The goal of the camp is to help grieving children learn to express themselves, share their emotions, and to support them so they feel that they are not alone in experiencing grief.

The programming for this spring’s Journeys Camp opened with an “energizer activity” with movement and pet therapy for children and an adult coffee hour for parents to meet with Center for Grief and Healing staff. A drum circle and nature exploration were followed by art therapy, music therapy, and a challenge course. Children expressed their feelings through an art project of decorating a three-dimensional heart. Music therapy, which included song writing and instrument playing, gave them an outlet to communicate their feelings with others. These activities were followed by a healing circle, where children were guided through play therapy activities to share their thoughts and feelings about the person they lost. Watercolor painting activities of a “healing rainbow” were followed by a candlelit closing circle and building a cairn with found rocks to honor their person and their experiences.

Journeys Camp Group Photo

“The most rewarding thing about camp is watching the children develop quick friendships and transform over the course of the day,” noted Kacie Karafa, Journeys Art Therapist. “Spending a day remembering, identifying and expressing feelings, and meeting others who are going through similar experiences allow children the opportunity to process their feelings and see that they really are not alone. Providing group support with various types of therapeutic self-expressive activities is extremely helpful in the grieving process.”

Journeys Camp activities for children provide different ways of expressing grief, and encourage and facilitate connecting with others, playing, and finding joy. Feedback from families is highly valued with many children returning year after year. Hospice of the Piedmont offers free bereavement services to adults, families and children throughout our 12-county service area.

All of this is possible thanks to the generous support of our friends and benefactors. Hospice of the Piedmont is especially grateful to The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation and The Charles Fund for their extraordinary support of these important programs.

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