Unique camp helps children and teens grieve and heal

From August 20-24, Calvary Hospital hosted the 21st consecutive session of their bereavement camp for 67 children and teenagers, ages 6-18. Calvary’s Camp Compass®, held at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, was led by experienced grief professionals. The five day experience was filled with traditional fun camp activities, grief education and emotional support. Calvary’s Camp Compass® provided a unique opportunity for peer bonding between children and teens facing a similar life circumstance. This was an incredible experience for the children. The campers enjoyed recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, and basketball. They also:

  • Built wooden trains to symbolize the campers’ grief journey;
  • Enjoyed a rousing performance by the Harlem Wizards basketball team;
  • Participated in an obstacle course, barbecue lunch, dance party and ice cream party;
  • Enjoyed visits by two therapy dogs, painted pottery, made jewelry, learned salsa and hip hop dancing; did scrapbooking; and
  • Three professional clowns gave daily lessons in juggling and performing clown tricks.

All of the campers attend the Hospital’s year-round bereavement programs – “Precious Moments” for young children ages 6 to 9 years old, the “In- Be-Tween” group for ages 10 to 12, or the Teen bereavement support for 13- to 18-year-olds. These groups, which meet at Calvary’s Bronx Hospital, in downtown Brooklyn, and in Manhattan, have helped hundreds of children to date with their grief process.

Supporters of the Hospital’s children’s bereavement programs and Calvary’s Camp Compass® have included but are not limited to: Newman’s Own Foundation, Eileen T. Nugent, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the van Ameringen Foundation, the George Link, Jr. Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation, Robert Mize and Isa White Trimble Foundation, and the Hagedorn Fund.

In the New York metropolitan area, Calvary has established itself as a resource for grieving families. It offers free bereavement support groups for adults, children, and teens, and referrals for additional support if necessary. Calvary offers three unique groups: one geared to the needs of young adults ages 18-25, one for men of all ages, and a mindfulness and movement group for adults that combines talking about grief with experiential exercises, meditation, visualization and gentle yoga movement.

Calvary’s bereavement program is available to anyone who has experienced a significant death in their lives, whether that person was a patient at Calvary, or someone from the larger community whose death was attributable to illness, accident, or violence.

Some of the younger campers with a counselor.

All of the children built wooden trains to symbolize their grief journey.

The children were entertained by the Harlem Wizards basketball team.

Children enjoying swimming and fishing at Calvary’s Camp Compass® at Kingsborough Community College.

Children enjoying swimming and fishing at Calvary’s Camp Compass® at Kingsborough Community College.

Dancing at Calvary’s Camp Compass®

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