A Grief Camp – Sounds Heavy But Lightens Hearts

Summer camps are synonymous with summer fun and provide great opportunities to grow in body, mind and spirit. It may seem rather unusual to read about a grief camp, but if your child or teen has experienced a loss, Camp Carousel may be the perfect camp available to him or her. This camp weaves together some of the fun you would expect from a summer camp with expert counseling and support that is specifically designed to help nurture and heal hearts and minds impacted by the death of a loved one.   

This July, Trellis Supportive Care will offer the 34th annual Camp Carousel for rising 1st-12th graders. Grief is a natural response to loss, and it is especially important for children and teens to have opportunities to tell their stories and receive support. Campers learn coping skills that can help them thrive well into adulthood.

Campers will develop skills for healthy coping, find support with peers of their own age and explore ideas for expression and remembering. “We know that fun, creative, meaningful activities, as well as the chance to tell stories, can foster connection and deepen the healing process,” said Susanna Lund, a longtime art therapist and grief counselor with Trellis Supportive Care.

Here are some tips for supporting the children and teens in your life. (Hint: These are great tips for adults, too!)

  • Make time to listen. Offer opportunities to talk without forcing conversations. Make it known that you are available and ready to listen to whatever feels important to share.
  • Accept all feelings as okay. Grief encompasses a wide range of emotions, and there is no script for how someone should or should not feel. Allowing space in which all feelings can be expressed and heard is critical to healthy grieving.
  • Invite questions. Provide simple, honest responses. It is okay if you do not have all of the answers! Access support if you need help talking with your child.
  • Invite the sharing of memories. Practice traditions or create new memories that honor your loved one. Encourage storytelling and connection with comforting items or photos.
  • Stick to routines. Maintaining school and home routines, as much as possible, helps to create feelings of security during a time that may feel uncertain.
  • Allow space. Kids are adept at getting in touch with honest and deep emotions and will often need time to be alone or to play. Allow space for drawing close to family as well as for space to be alone or with peers.
  • Model healthy grieving. It is okay to share tears with your child and to share how you are feeling. Honor your own grief and self-care needs, and turn to support for help.

Camp Carousel will also offer a day retreat for adults who are grieving the death of a loved one this summer. This retreat includes rituals for remembering, mindfulness practices and expression through the arts.

Trellis Supportive Care offers this camp for the community at no charge to participants.

For more information about Camp Carousel sessions and online registration, visit TrellisSupport.org or call 336.331.1300.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!

Latest Stories

Other Featured Articles


All Article in Current Issue

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!