Camp Embracing Memories teaches children how to deal with grief - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Camp Embracing Memories teaches children how to deal with grief

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COGGON (KWWL) -

This weekend, some Eastern Iowa children are learning to deal with loss at a camp designed just for them. Camp Embracing Memories is organized by St. Luke's Hospice, and gives kids a chance to play with kids who are experiencing the same things as they are experiencing.

"All of them have lost a loved one. That could be a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a friend, and we're here to help with the grief process," explained Camp Embracing Memories chair Sarah Vidoni.

Kids deal with loss differently than adults. This camp is designed to give them time to play, and time to think.

St. Luke's Hospice grief counselor Lorrie Holcomb explained, "they can be sobbing one moment, and two minutes later they're asking if they can go outside to play with their friend next door. And they need to do that. That's their makeup. Play is part of their world."

There are more than forty kids attending Camp Embracing Memories at YMCA Camp Wapsie this weekend. But, clearly, many more children experience loss each year. Often their parents are the ones responsible for helping them work through their emotions.

"You kind of walk a fine line with grief. Because there's a lot of things that you see that are normal. So you see kids get a little bit more needy, more emotional. But if you see a regression in behavior, or acting out in school, those are red flags to see a school counselor," Holcomb suggested.

What's important this weekend, is for the kids to have a good time, and walk away knowing, they're not grieving alone.

"Now they can say -- yeah, other kids are feeling these things. And they can connect to those people. And hopefully it'll help them a little bit more," said Vidoni.

Camp Embracing Memories is free for all of the kids attending, thanks to a donation from Cedar Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery. Most of the kids are referred to the camp by school counselors, hospice workers, or funeral home directors.

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