The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jul. 22, 2024

Camp helps youngsters deal with death

VW independent/submitted information

Community Health Professionals (CHP) Hospice held its annual Rays of Hope day camp June 14-15 at Camp Clay for children and youths who have lost a loved one.

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially for a child. CHP’s Rays of Hope camp offers a place where kids can learn how to deal with death and ask those tough questions.

“What we don’t always realize as adults is when a child goes through a loss, it’s not just that dad passed away, but now maybe mom is working full-time when she used to be home, so now they’re at a babysitter, maybe they have to move,” said Kim Mason, CHP volunteer coordinator.

Thanks to generous bidders at the CHP dinner/auction in April, the Noah Fund covered the cost of camp for all 28 kids, who participated in opportunities to learn about grief, make friends, and enjoy crafts, games, and activities like swimming, water park, splash pad, rock wall climbing, and zip line.

Other camp activities included “Playing with Paint” with Ginger Rahrig, animals from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and magic show with Tyler Nygren.

“Kids want to know its okay to have fun again, and so we plan a lot of fun activities,” said Mason. “That’s part of the healing process.”

Each day, groups led by hospice social workers took time to discuss feelings and share thoughts and emotions. Each participant also created a variety of crafts designed to be therapeutic and fun.

The camp concluded with a talk by Dr. Kathy Carr, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and Tony Richmond, CHP hospice chaplain and musician, playing guitar and leading songs. A tree marked with a Rays of Hope Camp 2016 paver stone was planted and stones were left in memory of loved ones.

This year's participants in the Rays of Hope Camp are shown. (CHP photo)
This year’s participants in the Rays of Hope Camp are shown. (CHP photo)

POSTED: 07/01/16 at 7:11 am. FILED UNDER: Youth