By Amy Shores
Director of Pastoral Care at Methodist Family Health
In addition to the support groups and individual therapy that Kaleidoscope offers, another service (that is my personal favorite) is Camp Healing Hearts. Held at Camp Aldersgate, Camp Healing Hearts is an annual camp, the goal of which is to provide a safe environment where children and their families can develop coping skills, both individually and within a community of others, and can also help lessen the isolation that often comes with grief. Families participate in a variety of typical “camp” activities, including things like archery, fishing, swimming, arts, and crafts, and of course, s’mores around a campfire. However, interspersed between the camp activities are times of processing, sharing, and support as families have the chance to meet and talk with other families living with grief.
Last year was my first Camp Healing Hearts experience, and I’m definitely looking forward to being a part of it again. I had the opportunity to lead a candlelight memorial service on Friday night, during which families get a chance to share a favorite memory or something special about the person they have lost. It was so powerful to see people who came in as strangers so vulnerably express their memories and even their recent difficulties, but knowing that they were in a space surrounded by others with similar feelings gave them a boldness to share. The empathy that is shown through this weekend was truly awe-inspiring, and I feel it’s what draws families back again the following year. We also get to incorporate a service of healing on Sunday morning this year, and I’m truly looking forward to getting the chance to participate with everyone together in worship that day! While the grief process is so different for everyone, the opportunity to reflect, to remember, and to tend to one’s soul is universally healing.
This year we get the chance to expand the camp to two nights, which will give participants even more of an opportunity to decompress and grow closer as a family. Camp is coming up May 17-19, and it is FREE to attend. If you know of a family who could benefit, they can register by contacting Dao Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 501-537-3991. The deadline to register is May 6. We are also always looking for volunteers, to help with everything from registration to baiting fishing hooks, so if you would like to come to camp with us, please contact Tammy Weaver at email@example.com.