What is the purpose of “Camp Forget-Me-Not”?
The purpose of Camp Forget-Me-Not is to provide caring support in a safe place where children can share their experiences as they move through their healing process.
Is the camp just for “Hospice families” or can anyone in the community attend?
Camp Forget-Me-Not is not just for hospice families. Camps are open to any school-aged child or teen in Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie Counties who has suffered a personal loss. Even a friend who has lost a friend is welcome. We recognize that loss outside the “family” can be just as profound as a loss within the family.
Is it all “therapy work” or is there fun involved to?
We allow more time overall at our camps for fun than we do for our more serious grief interventions. We provide free time and structured recreational activities in which the campers can form a supportive bond with each other. It’s a balance that the campers enjoy and that works very well.
What benefit is the camp to parents and family members?
In any family system if one benefits, all benefit. Let’s face it, parenting today is already challenging. When a loss occurs, in addition to their own issues of loss, parents are now confronted with the challenge of effectively parenting their grieving children. Many parents aren’t prepared for this and haven’t gained the knowledge to confidently deal with this significant issue. It’s comforting to know that their children are in the care of grief specialists and quite frankly, relieves them of some of the pressure. If a child/teen is able to better deal with their, loss so will the parent and family members. During camp, we also provide education for parents or guardians about child/teen grief to better equip them to face the challenges ahead.
It must be difficult for campers to be excited or “Want to come” to Camp Forget-Me-Not?
Often children may be reluctant or afraid at first at the idea of attending the camp. We have many examples of campers who were “dreading” the first day and became excited about coming back the second day. We have received many comments from campers on our feedback form that they wish the camp would go on longer.
How do campers feel about this process?
By the end of the second day campers feel a sense of pride to be part of an experience larger than themselves. They realize that there are others who share a similiar story and have bonded with them. They proudly wear their Camp Forget-Me-Not T-shirts knowing they have honored the person they have loved and lost. It’s quite amazing and indeed a privilege to be witness to that.
Can campers attend more than one time?
Campers certainly can attend more than one camp. Actually it is recommended that they do, as new grief and issues may emerge as children grow and change.
What expertise does hospice staff have regarding Children, Adolescents and Loss?
Our “Healing Circles,” where the serious clinical work is done, are each run by a professional with training and experience in children, adolescence and grief. Over the years our staff has accumulated extensive experience in child/teen grief and Camp Forget-Me-Not is the fruit of that expertise put into practice.
Is there a cost for the camp?
There is no cost for the camp or for anything provided during the camp.
Why should a parent consider having their child or children attend camp?
Sometimes children and teens have difficulty talking about the loss of a loved one to other family members because they don’t want to upset them. The camp provides a safe place where they can feel comfortable in sharing their very personal grief. A realistic fear among parents is that unprocessed grief can lead to difficulties such as poor school performance or social problems. Camp Forget-Me-Not is here to help your children learn positive ways to deal with their grief and to avoid the potential difficulties.
For more information, contact Bernadette Winters Bell, LCSW at 607-432-5525 or 1-800-306-3870.