Camp BraveHeart Offers Grief Support and Fun for Kids Coping With Loss

For the fifth consecutive year, Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island once again will sponsor Camp BraveHeart, a bereavement day camp to provide an appropriate emotional outlet for Rhode Island children 5 to 17 years old who have experienced the death of a loved one (5 and 6 year olds must be accompanied by an adult). The necessity for such a camp is borne out by research that shows children rarely receive grief intervention and are at much greater risk for depression, suicide and substance abuse, according to HHPCRI grief counselor Deanna Upchurch, who holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology.

This year, the camp is being held at W. Alton Jones in West Greenwich on Thursday, August 25 and Friday, August 26 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. The camp is free for families whose loved ones passed away on HHPCRI’s service. A $25 donation per family is requested for others.  Transportation is available from pre-arranged pick-up and drop-off points.

Traditional camp activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, art and music therapy, hiking and gardening,  are coupled with a variety of grief support activities that give the children an opportunity to explore their grief and to be with other individuals their own age who are going through the same thing.  New this year is a petting zoo and nature exploration activities.  Counselors will provide grief and emotional support through discussions, opportunities to memorialize lost loved ones and remembrance circles.

“Children often fell isolated in their grief, but rarely receive bereavement intervention,” Upchurch says. “We’ll provide an appropriate emotional outlet to children who have experienced the death of a loved one by offering them grief support in an environment of fun recreational activities, and we’ll help them understand that what they’re experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.”

Deadline to register is AUGUST 18.  For more information or to register, please call the Center for Grief & Healing at 401-415-4303.

The Bereavement Program at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island helps guide people of all ages through the difficult times that follow the death of someone special.  Support groups are held throughout the state at various times throughout the year. The groups are free and open to the public, even to those who are not using HHPCRI’s hospice services.