For release: August 22, 2013|
Amy Kilgore 330.344.6014, KilgorA@ccf.org
Kelly Ward-Smith 330.344.1681, WardSmK@ccf.org
The death of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience for anyone, but for children it can be especially confusing. Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service created Camp Promise eight years ago to help children learn to manage and understand their grief through creative activities such as journaling, sand tray therapy, music, drama and art therapy. The free camp focuses on helping children ages 6-11 who have experienced a significant loss, such as that of a parent, grandparent or sibling. 41 children participated in this year’s camp, which was held August 5-8 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, on the grounds of the Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Copley. A total of four teens and 20 adults volunteered their time to make this year’s camp run smoothly.
Throughout the week, the children keep journals that capture their feelings, drawings, songs and pictures of their new friends, and are encouraged to reference them throughout the year – particularly on difficult days. The camp also gave the children an opportunity to interact with others their age that are experiencing loss and to learn that they are not alone.
"I learned that when I think about my dad, it’s OK to sit down and cry; and that talking is a good way to calm yourself down," a camper says.
Parents/guardians also benefited from the camp, attending an hour-long session about “Helping Your Grieving Child” early in the week to help them understand what their child is experiencing, and practical tips on how to help them at home. They were also invited back for a special closing ceremony on the final day, where the campers performed songs they had learned that week and displayed their craft projects.
Camp Promise, which was the first of its kind in Summit County, has helped over 200 children since its inception. Participants attend Camp Promise at no-cost to their families thanks to the generosity of area donors. If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring next year’s camp, please contact the Akron General Foundation, 330-344-6888.
For more information on Camp Promise, or other children’s bereavement programs offered by Hospice of VNS, please call 330-668-4662.
About Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service
Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) is a nonprofit agency providing compassionate support for individuals facing serious or life-limiting illnesses and their families. Care is provided in-home, at nursing facilities or assisted living residences, and at the area's first freestanding Hospice Care Center, the renowned Justin T. Rogers Care Center on Ridgewood Road in Copley Township. Hospice of VNS is an affiliate of Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates (comprised of Advanced Infusion Services, Hospice of VNS, VNS Equipment & Supplies and Visiting Nurse Service). A member of the Akron General Health System, VNSA serves Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. For more information, visit www.vnsa.com.