Camp Healing Hearts confronts grief and loss felt by children and families

Last year’s Camp Healing Hearts attendees participate in the candlelight memorial service included in the weekend experience.
PHOTO COURTESY METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH

Free to participants; register by May 1

Camp Healing Hearts, a free overnight grief camp for children ages 5 through 18 who have experienced the death of a loved one, will be held May 19-20, 2017. The registration deadline is May 1.

The annual camp is hosted by Kaleidoscope Grief Center, a program of Methodist Family Health. Held at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, Camp Healing Hearts unites families in the grief process.

Daylan Houston and his mother, Sarah Ann Mashburn, of East End (Saline County) are among those families. They found comfort and help after being devastated when Daylan’s older brother, Aaron, contracted meningitis and died at age 13.

“Grief is like riding a rollercoaster,” Mashburn says. “You are up and down and all over the place, feeling sad and angry,” and then pausing to cherish fond memories. Kaleidoscope Grief Center and Camp Healing Hearts provided this family with understanding and stability in a difficult time. Daylan, who has attended several camp sessions, considers Camp Healing Hearts “awesome.” He especially enjoys the games and the crafts that are created with his big brother in mind.

“Grief can be a very isolating experience, particularly for children,” says therapist and camp director Janet Breen. “Camp Healing Hearts provides a safe environment where children and their families can develop coping skills, both individually and within a community of others. The work of play encourages a new sense of normalcy and allows children to find a voice for their grief.”

The 24-hour experience of Camp Healing Hearts begins at 5 p.m. Friday, May 19, and concludes at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Caregiver participation is required.

Campers participate in therapeutic activities, including “Heart to Heart” sessions and a candlelight memorial service, and traditional camp activities, like a making s’mores around a campfire, arts and crafts, fishing, swimming and boating.

To learn more or register, visit www.methodistfamily.org, or call 501-537-3991.