COLUMBUS – Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is offering a half-day bereavement camp for children from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 14.

Any child ages 5-12, who has experienced the death of a significant person or persons in their lives, is welcome and encouraged to attend. Camp Eva provides a structured and supportive environment for children to openly share their feelings and memories of their loved one.

“Children experience grief differently than adults,” said Jessica Curd, Social Worker at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. “Children often grieve in spurts as it is difficult to handle these challenging feelings all at once. Children may also incorporate themes of death and dying into their play. They also cope with grief differently at various developmental stages. Their grief may express itself in various emotions including anger, sadness, shock, fear and sometimes relief. “

Camp Eva was started by Melissa Clark in 2016 and since 2017, Our Hospice has partnered to grow the camp and provide this important outlet to children in our communities. Melissa has been a volunteer for Our Hospice since 2015 and is also a trained social worker.

Our Hospice President, Laura Leonard, said, “We are so pleased to be able to provide bereavement services to children and grateful to our donors who provide the funds for us to offer this important camp and support these children and families through their grief.”

Curd continued, “Any child who has experienced a loss is welcome to attend! The camp is free of charge. This camp is important because it allows children to explore and express their grief through various creative medium including arts, music, pet therapy, play theatre, interactive and team building exercises and a balloon release. This gives a safe and confidential space to process grief with other children and also be able to balance a heavy topic with some play and fun. It is truly important to give children the free space to talk and express their feelings. Adults may believe that it will cause more harm for a child to talk about death but typically talking is a way to work through concerns or questions they may have and to come to terms with the loss. Children are usually often very aware and know more than we may realize. Problems can arise if we ignore or avoid difficult topics. When addressing grief in children, it is important to use clear and concrete language and to meet them at their developmental stage. This camp strives to implement such an approach and many of its volunteers are trained hospice and bereavement specialists.”

Camp Eva was created to provide a nurturing environment for grieving children to remember their loved ones and connect to other children their age. The Clark family created the camp in memory of their daughter and sister, Eva Julianna Clark, who was stillborn in August 2013. The camp was started under the Eva's Hands Project and in 2017 became an annual service offered through Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.

Camp Eva will be held at Columbus Youth Camp, 12454 West Youth Camp Road, Columbus.

Registration is open now and pre-registration is required by Sept. 9 to attend this year’s camp. Registration materials are available on the Our Hospice website at https://www.crh.org/service-centers/hospice/our-hospice-news-events/our-hospice-news/2019/06/03/camp-eva-bereavement-camp-for-kids-on-september-9-2019

A one hour parent/caregiver meeting is included as part of the Camp. Questions can be directed to Jessica Curd at 812-314-8044 or jcurd@crh.org.

If you want to know more about Our Hospice call 812-314-8083 or 800-841-4983 ext. 8083.

– Information provided