An image from the Camp Skylark official video, that shows the variety of fun, games and reflection provided at the annual retreat. Registration is now open.

Camp Skylark helps children cope with grief in Hope

Registration is now open for free grief counselling camp

Camp Skylark is now accepting applications for both volunteers and campers, for their next camp.

The bereavement camp, designed specifically for children ages seven to 12, will run from Sept. 18 to 20. The camp is run through the Fraser Canyon Hospice Society, and there is no cost to campers.

Their slogan for the camp is “if you are old enough to love, you’re old enough to grieve,” and the camp works with children through their grief of a loved one.

Camp Skylark is an annual, weekend-long bereavement camp for children ages 7-12 who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It began in 2005 with a group of dedicated and concerned Hospice Volunteers and staff who were dedicated to finding a way to help grieving children. Many of our volunteers travel from across BC to be a part of camp, and quite a few of them have experienced grief and loss in their lives.

It’s held annually at Camp Squeah, a gorgeous area set amongst the mountains just minutes outside of beautiful Hope.

On their website, the hospice explains what makes the campground setting ideal for healing,being surrounded by nature but also enjoying all the traditional camp activities.

There is rock climbing, hiking, swimming, ropes courses and archery, which all allow kids to be kids — without the worry of taking care of their loved ones.

But in addition, Camp Skylark offers special bereavement activities for children in order to teach them healthy coping strategies. Some of these traditions include lantern making in honor of their loved one, a lantern ceremony, memory circles, sharing circles and music therapy. In 2012, a memory tree adorned with butterflies decorated by the children was planted, and a Native Elder also performed a traditional grief ceremony.

Activities and the entire camp program is sensitive to all cultures and allows the child to make choices about how they wish to express their feelings.

They take in up to 25 kids each year, and while there is no cost to the families, it does cost the society about $350 per camper. They fundraise throughout the year, but also accept donations from the public.

For more information, visit www.frasercanyonhospice.org, or email mary.norman@fraserhealth.ca.

READ MORE: Summer camp connections in Hope


 

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