HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – A new summer camp is coming to the area, specifically for kids dealing with grief and loss.
Camp organizers said when they started looking at different needs in the community, and gaps in service, children working through grief and loss came up repeatedly through different agency conversations. From that, Camp Courage was born.
The summer day camp is a partnership between Buhl Regional Health Foundation and Buhl Park. This is the first time in recent history the Shenango Valley has held a youth camp like this in the area.
Organizers said they’ve done a lot of research into how other grief camps work to design it. Over 20 different organizations are coming to help with different activities throughout the week, and each day has a set theme. Organizers said they’ve done a lot of research.
“The first day is who am I and why are we here. Second day is about feelings. Third day is about memories. Fourth day is about coping and support. And the fifth day is more about the circle of life,” said Linn Kateri of Buhl Regional Health Foundation.
The camp begins next Monday at Buhl Park and will run through next Friday. There are currently 36 campers attending next week, ranging from kindergarteners up to seventh grade.
Organizers said they’ve had three guiding principles in mind as they’ve been developing the camp.
The first is they want the kids to walk away saying the camp was fun. The second is they want the kids to walk away feeling like they’re not alone. And they want these children to feel like they know what to do when experiencing big feelings.
“Even if you look at the school setting, and you have a child who lost a parent, there’s not a name tag that says that. So this is an opportunity to be together with kids who are all going through the same thing,” Kateri said.
The camp is free to attend. There will be team-building activities, games to teach coping skills, arts and crafts to help kids express emotions, and decompression times to help them learn calming strategies and how to handle stress.
Funding for camp courage was made possible through the Buhl Regional Health Foundation and community support. Over 20 different organizations will help with activities throughout the week. Kateri with Buhl Regional Health Foundation said it takes a village.