To provide greater access to grief support for children experiencing the loss of a loved one, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio has expanded its children’s grief support services with Camp HOCO at Home, an innovative box version of the in-person camp. The Camp HOCO at Home boxes allow Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio to provide grief support services to children throughout the year.
Traditionally, Camp HOCO has been an in-person grief camp held annually each summer for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. In June, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio hosted its 25th annual Camp HOCO, where children, ages 6-12, participated in arts and crafts, hiking, and music, in addition to grief support activities to learn how to manage their grief.
But now, alongside the in-person camp offering, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio is offering Camp HOCO at Home boxes with the support of an anonymous donor who donated $15,000. Through this innovative offering, Ohio’s Hospice has more than doubled the number of children it has supported in previous years.
“We’re so grateful for this donor’s generous gift which enabled us to provide grief support to children who had lost a loved one. This initial gift provided materials needed to create 200 boxes. We continue to seek funding so that Camp HOCO at Home remains available to anyone seeking support,” said Stacy Geller, vice president of philanthropic development at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio. “With the support of our community, we are able to offer grief support to all members of the community, regardless of whether a loved one has received services from Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio.”
The Camp HOCO at Home boxes allow Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio to provide care to children year-round, without the challenges of summer schedules and transportation across the service area.
“Timing is also a big benefit. For some children, their loss is only a few weeks or months before camp, and it feels too soon to attend,” said Maria Johnson, manager of patient and family support services at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio. “Children may feel increased grief around birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries. The box allows them to work on their grief in a home setting. No matter what time of year it is, they can use it when they need it.”
The Camp HOCO at Home box comes with instructions for parents and guardians to follow. The box includes information about how children grieve, common emotions, and coping skills that can be helpful, as well as activities for the family to do to explore common issues children experience when grieving.
“The goal of the box is to give the family tools to start having the conversation about their grief so they can lean on each other for support, get help if they need it and begin the healing process together,” Johnson said. “Children work at different paces and enjoy different activities. At camp, there’s a timeline. But at home they can take the time they need and focus on what makes a greater impact on them personally.”
Camp HOCO at Home boxes are available, free of charge. For more information about the program, contact Maria Johnson at MJohnson@HospiceofCentralOhio.org or call 740.788.1474.
To learn more about how you can help support Camp HOCO at Home, please contact Stacy Geller at Stacy@HospiceofCentralOhio.org or 740.788.1488.
Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, has provided a holistic, community-based approach to hospice care since 1982. With locations in Newark, Columbus, Lancaster and Zanesville, the not-for-profit organization serves 13 counties in central Ohio and is dedicated to supporting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses. In addition, two inpatient care centers at Licking Memorial Hospital and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are available for symptom management.