HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – Grieving the loss of someone you love is a universal feeling, but it’s different for kids who don’t know how to cope or handle the stress.
Kids in Mercer County who are going through the grief of losing a loved one have been having a blast all week at a special summer camp, thanks to the Buhl Regional Health Foundation.
Camp Courage is a day camp for kids dealing with grief and loss.
It’s the second year for the program that lets kids get to do team-building activities, games that teach coping skills, arts and crafts and ways to handle stress.
Most importantly, Camp Courage just lets kids just be kids and have fun while building friendships.
“There is a community being developed, and trust, and friendship, and support, and exposure to different coping skills, understanding what’s going on and understanding what is happening to themselves and to their families around them,” said Kateri Linn, director of programming for the Buhl Regional Health Foundation.
Kids are treated to activities like yoga, participating in mindfulness and meditation and making stress balls with the OH WOW! children’s museum. There are nature walks, lots of arts and crafts and even a drum circle where kids were able to express themselves through sound.
“Each day, we do activities that focus on a different topic,” said Camp Courage Team Leader Valerie Wolenter. “Everything from feelings, sharing memories, coping skills and support and engaging them in activities that give them a safe space to process their grief and connect with the other kids.”
One of the main focuses of the camp is understanding that kids handle grief much differently than adults.
“We have grief stuff in society for adults, but kids are often the ones kind of forgotten about,” said Camp Courage Team Leader Brian Campbell. “It’s here to help them go through what they are going through.”
Several agencies are a part of making Camp Courage happen.
“This is major collaborative,” said Linn. “It’s with Buhl Parking, Community Counseling Center, Baker Professional Counseling, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission and so many more organizations that have come together.”
To attend camp, kids must be ages K-6 and attend school or reside in Mercer County. Organizers are already planning for next year.
For more information on Camp Courage, visit BuhlRegionalHealthFoundation.org.