Camp Dragonfly - A Grief Camp for Children & Adolescents | Families
Before the age of 15, one in 20 children will experience the death of a parent. Many more will lose a cherished grandparent or other family member. Of course, loss is difficult at any age. How children experience the death and their subsequent grief varies according to age, developmental stage, and their relationship to the deceased.
It is a misconception that children don’t feel a loss as keenly as adults, or that they don’t understand death, that they lack the experience to process grief, or that natural resiliency will help them bounce back.
Professionals at Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties, a nonprofit agency, know that if a child is old enough to love, he or she is old enough to grieve. While there is no one right way to process the unique sadness of losing a parent or someone close, there is help at Camp Dragonfly.
Camp Dragonfly is a camp for children who have lost a parent or someone close to them within the last two years. It is sponsored by Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke & Fannin Counties. On September 21, 22 and 23, children between the ages of eight and twelve will gather at All Saints Camp on Lake Texoma with one thing in common. They are grieving.
The three-day camp emphasizes healing through thoughtfully designed activities that are meaningful, fun, and often, life changing. One camper who had suffered a traumatic loss said to his counselor, “I feel better inside. Thank you for helping me.”
Camp director Jolene Senek, LBSW, CT, GC-C, reported that, like many children, this child came to camp with unresolved feelings of grief, anger and sadness. “He had gone from being an A+ student to making 30s, 40s and 50s on his schoolwork. His grandmother wrote in her evaluation that after his camp experience, the boy’s grades, and his life improved.”
Each camper is invited to participate in games, art activities, nature hikes, conversations with counselors, and special ceremonies. “The camp is more about life and living than about death and dying,” said Senek. “We help kids experience a healing journey and also provide tools for dealing with their loss.”
Qualified staff and volunteers are carefully screened and trained in the grief process. They spend time getting to know each child. “Their stories break your heart, but it’s easy to become attached to the kids,” said one volunteer.
“These kids return home from camp and head back to school wearing their Camp Dragonfly tee-shirts…it’s almost as if they are no longer afraid to acknowledge the death,” Senek said. “I really believe the connections they make at camp and the ability to share their feelings of sadness and grief with other children who ‘get it’ provides them with a new confidence they carry back into their everyday life. It’s like they’ve found their voice again, and this allows them to feel almost ‘normal’.”
Cost of the camp is $25. Scholarships are available. Children need not be Grayson County residents to participate. The deadline to apply to the camp is September 5, 2012. Space is limited.
Applications are available on the Home Hospice website, www.homehospice.org or you may pick one up at the Home Hospice office, 505 W. Center Street in Sherman or 1001 E. Broadway in Gainesville.
Home Hospice, a non-profit organization, began delivering quality hospice and bereavement care in 1982. For more information, contact Senek at 903-868-9315 or toll free at 888-233-7455.
WHAT Camp Dragonfly is a grief camp for children sponsored by Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke & Fannin Counties, a nonprofit organization. Children from all geographic areas are welcome.
WHO Children between the ages of 8-12 who have lost a loved one
within the last two years.
WHEN September 21, 22, 23, 2012
WHERE All Saints Camp on Lake Texoma
WHY Professional counselors and trained volunteers help children cope with loss through thoughtfully planned activities and discussions that promote healing and lifelong skills
FACTS 1 in 20 children under age 15 will lose a parent Children react differently than adults when a death occurs Serious behavior/emotional problems may arise Affordable help is available at grief camp
CONTACT Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke & Fannin Counties Jolene Senek, 903-868-9315 email@example.com
DEADLINE Screening application deadline is September 5, 2012
SPONSOR Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties
COST $25, with scholarships available
STAFF Camp Dragonfly Director is Jolene Senek, LBSW, CT, GC-C Clinical Director is Vicky Smith Lindsey, LCSW Volunteers and staff are screened and trained
MORE Call 903-868-9315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a media interview.