Grief is never easy, but for a child it can be an especially confusing time. At the age of nine, both of my father’s parents passed away within six weeks of each other. These were my last living grandparents. They were both under the care of Halifax Health – Hospice, which is how my mother stumbled upon Camp BeginAgain, a camp specifically designed for children who have recently experienced the death of a loved one.
The BeginAgain Children’s Grief Center, a program of Halifax Health – Hospice, has hosted this free camp since 1993 for children ages 6 through 18 who are experiencing grief. This program, which has now evolved into a day camp, combines recreational and art activitiesthat are meant to create common bonds among other children who are experiencing similar emotions. Campers are encouraged to share amongst their peers, learn how to cope with emotions and discover ways to positively express their emotions. Counselors and volunteers at the camp are specially trained in group therapy techniques that create an atmosphere where children feel comfortable sharing and know that they are not alone in their grief.
As nine-year-old, my biggest takeaway from the experience was knowing that I was not alone. While many of my fellow campers had suffered the loss of parents, aunts, uncles or other loved ones, I closely bonded with someone my age who had also lost her grandparents. And after camp concluded we would write each other letters and kept in touch for a few years. We both knew that we were not alone.
Over 21 years later, life has come full circle and I’m fortunate to say that I work for Halifax Health – Hospice and often get to share my experience at Camp BeginAgain. I am proud to work for an organization that offers programs like this at no-cost to children and families in our community and am fortunate that my family and I were able to benefit from this.
To learn more visit halifaxhealth.org/hospice
Written by Emily Smith, July 18th, 2021
Emily smith is a Fund Development Specialist for Halifax Health – Hospice.