Camp New Hope Helps Children Grieve

by Terry Rogers

Often called the forgotten mourners, children grieve much differently than adults, Liz Scheer of Delaware Hospice explained. Often the adults in the lives of a child are dealing with their own grief which can make it even more difficult for children who have suffered a loss. In an effort to address these differences, Delaware Hospice offers Camp New Hope, a free, four-day camp for children aged 6 through 17.

“The camp is offered to any child who is suffering the loss of a close family member,” Scheer, who helps coordinate the camp, said. “Any child is able to come to camp. We get referrals from patients we see at Delaware Hospice as well as referrals from the community. Sometimes a child comes to the camp after hearing about it from schools in the area.”

At Camp New Hope, the children engage in grief activities in the form of arts and crafts along with different coping skills. At this year’s camp, Josh Robinson, a therapeutic drummer, returned to talk about this story and how he turned to drumming to cope with the loss of his grandfather.

“We also had Jessica Moyer of Purposeful Life & Wellness Coaching,” Scheer said. “She helped the children explore physical fitness as a coping skill. The camp also allows each of the children to come and enjoy a camp experience. We play games and they play on the playground.”

Scheer explained that children also grieve differently based on their cognitive functioning and developmental maturity. A 5-year old child will grieve much differently than a 14-year old child. In addition, children will also mimic how the adults in their lives are grieving. Scheer stated that children develop their own sense of griefs in their teenage years as their minds mature.

“Camp New Hope only survives because of the volunteers,” Scheer said. “It is those volunteers that make the camp so successful. With the exception of me, the Camp Director, camp is completely volunteer run. For this reason, we are always looking for volunteers to help us.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer for Camp New Hope should contact Scheer directly at 302-856-7717 Extension 3131 and she can link them to the Volunteer Coordinator. Anyone who believes a child could use the services of Camp New Hope or other programs offered by Delaware Hospice can call as well.

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