Pathways of Hope at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton hosted its 29th annual Camp Pathways, June 24-26, at Camp Joy Outdoor Education Center in Warren County. Camp Pathways is a bereavement camp for youth, ages 7-17, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or significant loved one. The camp experience is designed to encourage campers to express their feelings of grief in a safe and fun environment.
For the weekend, campers were surrounded by a caring community that gave them the opportunity to interact with their peers who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Campers were grouped with an adult buddy who supported them through their grief while at camp.
In addition to activities to help them attend to their grief, the children and teens swam, fished, canoed and participated in a high ropes course, field games, climbing wall and challenge hike.
The grief work culminated with the wish ceremony on Saturday night where campers were invited to write messages to their loved ones that were read aloud by the adult buddies then placed into the fire to symbolize the message being released to their loved ones. The ceremony served as a time for reflection, comfort and support with the goal of inspiring hope and healing in campers.
“Coming together with peers in a safe environment allowed the children to re-imagine their view of themselves and their lives after loss.” said Lisa Conn, camp director and bereavement counseling professional at Pathways of Hope. “Campers left camp feeling moved, supported, understood, and inspired and better equipped to cope with their loss and attend to their grief.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, is a not-for-profit hospice provider. Since 1978, it has served patients and families in the Dayton region in their homes, extended care and assisted living facilities, and the Hospice House location in Dayton. Grief support services are available to the entire community through the Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling Center. Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton serves more than 1,000 patients and families daily, achieving national recognition for innovative services and outstanding care.
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