Camp?Good Grief helps area youth

Thirty kids at Camp Pioneer in Beverly got a different kind of camp experience this week.

Camp Good Grief, sponsored by Mountain Hospice, is so named for the purpose of providing children between the ages of five and 18, who have sustained the loss of a loved one, an opportunity to process their grief in a safe environment, conducive to healing by learning techniques for coping skills.

The camp locations are situated in several counties and are staffed by Mountain Hospice workers, volunteers and peer groups. This is the camp’s seventh year.

The camp provides alternative methods to young survivors of grief experiences. Campers use artistic design to express their inner feelings of their own personal loss. Games and other forms of therapeutic benefit are fun and healthy ways to process the difficult and painful experience of loss.

Mountain Hospice serves seven counties – Barbour, Grant, Mineral, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker – and is holding four different camps throughout the area that are open to the entire community.

“It’s more than just grieving and coping,” Jessica McHenry, director of Clinical Services, said Wednesday. “It’s also a day of fun.”

There is a wide range of activities for all campers to participate in, including painting, a petting zoo, lunch and a sundae bar, bounce houses, a water balloon toss, a journal writing course to aid in the grieving process and a balloon launch in which the campers send off balloons with words and pictures to their lost loved ones.

Other camps are scheduled at West End Playground in Keyser on July 11 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Franklin Carnival Grounds in Franklin on July 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Weldon Park in Petersburg on Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The camp is free of charge and open to any child who wishes to participate.

For further information about Camp Good Grief, contact Mountain Hospice at 888-763-7789 or www.mountainhospice.com.