MARIA STEIN – Youth dealing with grief and loss issues have the opportunity to join other young people in the community at the fourteenth annual State of the Heart Hospice Camp BEARable July 11-13. The camp is free and is open to any youth ages six to 15 dealing with grief and loss and is held at the Spiritual Center at Maria Stein. It is not necessary to have had an association with hospice care
“The feedback we get from both the youth who attend and the adult volunteers assigned to them as trained camp “buddies” is wonderful and reinforces the value of the camp,” said Traci Straley, Director of Social Services for State of the Heart. Volunteers are an important part of the success of the camp experience and are always needed, she added.
Registration is required to attend the camp. Applications can be found on the agency’s web site at www.stateoftheheartcare.org and can be downloaded and mailed to the agency.
“Each year, we hear the same feedback on our surveys, and I think this tells us we are fulfilling a need in our community,” Straley said.
Straley explained that children find the camp environment to be a “safe place” where they can talk openly about their feelings. “Often, they learn from one another, and more importantly, they hear other youth their same age talking about their grief and they realize they are not alone. For many, it opens the door to talk about their feelings rather than keeping their grief bottled up.”
Last year, 64 youth attended the camp. Of that number only 10 had association with hospice care.
“A very important part of the camp is the volunteer aspect,” Straley explained. “The volunteers spend time with the youth. They talk with them, listen to them, and share their own experiences.”
An orientation is required for volunteers who help with Camp BEARable, Straley said. “We are looking for volunteers to help and are encouraging any youth who would like to attend to contact us,” she said. For more information about the camp, contact any member of the State of the Heart bereavement team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call and ask to speak a bereavement staff member at 1-800-417-7535.