(Photo above: Eileen Grover is ready for Camp Courage this July | Photo Courtesy of Partners In Care)
Registration is now open for Camp Courage, an outdoor, summer day camp where children are invited to explore, express and share their grief journey with others their age while having fun.
Now in its tenth year of operation, Camp Courage offers healing through art, laughter and conversation for children who have experienced the death of a loved one, either here in Central Oregon or at a great distance.
Camp Courage may indeed be a grief camp, but you might not think so at first glance. In fact, should you pass by Hollinshead Park on a camp day this summer, you would probably see children laughing and playing baseball with fruit, flinging paint or engaged in water balloon fights. These activities—and the rest of Camp Courage—were thoughtfully developed by Eileen Grover, a master’s level clinician with more than twenty years of experience working with grieving children. Grover is the Child and Adolescent Bereavement Counselor at Partners In Care, a leading provider of end-of-life care in Central Oregon.
“Camp Courage provides a way for children to process their grief. They learn different ways to cope with their feelings that are healthy and productive. These coping methods can benefit them throughout their life and whatever else comes their way,” said Grover. “At Camp Courage, we recognize that grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. There is no so-called ‘normal’ way of experiencing grief.”
This concept inspired the fun activities as well as an annual art project specifically designed to aid campers in their grief journey. In the past, these projects have ranged from the creation of masks and dreamscapes to self portraits and courage bags. It is a very tangible way for children to express their experience with loss.
Since its inception in 2008, Camp Courage has helped over 400 campers ranging in age from 5 to 14, representing 20 schools throughout Central Oregon. Some of the children who participate in Camp Courage continue their grief work through other Partners In Care programs such as My Friend’s House, school-based programs and even personal or family counseling sessions. Partners In Care offers all these grief services at no cost to the community.
“At Camp Courage, we strive to celebrate campers’ strengths and remember the person they loved. We also want to have fun. During this special week, we will tell our stories through art, play and making friends with others who understand,” Grover said.
For information on how to be a part of Camp Courage this summer, call Partners In Care at 541-382-5882