It was a big day for camper Christion Salmon. He finally got the courage to tackle his fear of heights and successfully climbed the ropes tower.
Courage. It’s what this camp focuses on.
Christian lost his father in a car wreck three years ago and has been coming to Camp Courage ever since. This year, he was joined with 33 other children, that are facing the same issues that he has due to the death of a loved one.
Camp Courage is a bereavement camp for children who have lost loved ones and need help coping during this difficult time. The camp is put on by Johnston Home Care as Hospice and the SECU Hospice House. It is held each year at Camp Mary Atkinson and is free of charge.
Murray Dees, the social worker that plans and coordinates the camp says that the camp helps grieving children cope with their lose and most importantly, it also helps them build the courage they need to maneuver through life, no matter what hand they’re dealt.
The campers partake in activities that are designed to be both fun and therapeutic. They learn archery and how to canoe, while also being encouraged (through structured play and other activities) to express and share feelings and to memorialize their loved ones.
Camp Courage is made possible by volunteers who give their time to these campers. Their stories and experiences are helpful when working with the campers.
Hiede Erickson, a care manager at Johnston Health, lost her father-in-law three years ago. She volunteered as a way to help herself and her children cope with their loss.
In addition to Johnston Health and Hospice House staff and volunteers, Camp Courage also uses Girl Scouts and public school counselors.
To learn more about Camp Courage and to see more photos, click here.