Archived Story

Hospice hosts sixth annual Camp Emily

Published 9:28am Thursday, October 11, 2012 Updated 11:31am Thursday, October 11, 2012

This year marks the sixth annual Camp Emily to be held Sat, Oct. 13, 2012, at the new offices of Lakeland Hospice, 805 East Channing St., the former Eisenhower Elementary School in Fergus Falls.

The one-day camp is held especially for kids, along with their parents, who have suffered the loss of a loved one in their lives. Thanks to numerous community donors the camp is offered free of charge to those attending.

The day is spent doing numerous activities, including a candle-lighting service, directed art projects, grief support sessions, and a memorial service ending in a balloon release.

Sessions are also held where participants are divided into small groups, where they share their experiences, and learn more about taking care of themselves especially when grieving.

Each participant is able to take home “memory creations,” works of art that they decorated or formed to help them remember their loved one and deal with their grief.

Past reactions from the kids have included, “I learned there’s a lot more people out there that have had losses.” “I learned it’s better to talk to somebody than not to.” “You get to let go of hurt.”

When asked what the adults liked best about the day the responses have included, “The ability to talk openly about my grief and the love and kindness of the staff,” and“That I’m not the only one going through this — I’m not alone.”

Bereavement social workers, counselors and funeral directors facilitate the different groups. When asked how the day goes, the facilitators have responded by saying the kids talk about how they can hold on to the memories of their loved ones through expressive art and play and expressing their grief in different ways.

Strangers come together and quickly connect by having at least one thing in common; they all have experienced the death of a loved one.

Camp Emily, sponsored by Lakeland Hospice, is named for Emily Johnson of Fergus Falls who passed away in 2006, at the age of two.

For more information on Camp Emily or the bereavement services offered in the area by Lakeland Hospice, contact Bonnie Wallin, LSW, Bereavement Coordinator, at (218) 998-1422.

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