Center for Children Hosts Journeys Camp for Grieving Youth

Hospice of the Piedmont’s Kids’ Grief and Healing program was pleased to be back in person to host an all-day camp this past April at Triple-C Camp in Charlottesville. The camp’s goal is to help grieving youth learn to express themselves, share their emotions, and support them so they feel that they are not alone in experiencing grief. Nearly 30 children attended the camp from across our service area.

The programming for this spring’s Journeys Camp opened with an “energizer activity” with movement and pet therapy for children and an adult coffee hour for parents to meet with Grief and Healing staff. A drum circle and nature exploration were followed by art therapy, music therapy, and a challenge course. Children expressed their feelings through an art project of decorating a three-dimensional heart. Music therapy, which included songwriting and instrument playing, gave them an outlet to communicate their feelings with others. These activities were followed by a healing circle, where children were guided through play therapy activities to share their thoughts and feelings about the person they had lost. Watercolor painting activities of a “healing rainbow” were followed by a candlelit closing circle and building a cairn with found rocks to honor their person and their experiences.

Grieving youth come together at Journeys Camp in this group photo

“The most rewarding thing about camp is watching the children develop quick friendships and transform over the day,” noted Kacie Karafa, Journeys Art Therapist. “Spending a day remembering, identifying, and expressing feelings, and meeting others going through similar experiences allow children to process their feelings and see that they really are not alone. Providing group support with various types of therapeutic self-expressive activities is extremely helpful in the grieving process.”

Hospice of the Piedmont offers free bereavement services to adults, families, and children throughout our 12-county service area. Journeys Camp activities for children provide different ways of expressing grief, encouraging and facilitating connecting with others, playing, and finding joy. Feedback from families is highly valued, with many children returning year after year.

All of this is possible thanks to the generous support of our friends and benefactors. Hospice of the Piedmont is incredibly grateful to The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation and The Charles Fund for their extraordinary support of these critical programs.