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Children often struggle to express their grief after losing a loved one, but Central Texas Medical Center Hospice Care is looking to offer children a unique way to process their emotions after loss with Camp HeartSong. This June, 14 campers were able to take part in the camp and bond with other children with similar experiences. Photos courtesy of CTMC

Camp HeartSong: helping children grieve

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

When it comes to the loss of a loved one, children can be one of the most misunderstood and underserved groups. Grieving children often struggle to understand or express their grief in a healthy way; and supporting the child can be challenging for adults who may not know how to broach the subject of death. It is important for children to be given the opportunity to process their grief in a supportive environment, which is why Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) Hospice Care is proud to offer Camp HeartSong. 

The camp offers a compassionate and therapeutic atmosphere where children can honor the memory of their loved one, while enjoying camp activities like fishing, archery and crafts. CTMC Hospice grief counselors provided group and individual counseling and facilitated remembrance activities. 

“CTMC Hospice Care strives to provide compassionate care to not only our patients, but each loved one impacted by their passing,” said Allison Hardy, director of CTMC Hospice Care. “Camp HeartSong offers a unique experience for children to explore and learn to manage their grief, while realizing they are not alone in this.” 

Campers enjoyed activities like fishing, archery and crafts while also participating in individual and group counseling sessions. 

In June, Camp HeartSong helped 14 campers, age 8-13, work through their loss at John Knox Ranch in Fischer. While each child’s story is their own, the diverse group bonded through their shared experience with loss. 

On the final morning, the children expressed their appreciation for the camp. Many wanted to stay “just one more night.” 

CTMC Hospice would like to thank each family who enrolled a child in Camp HeartSong this year, giving them with the opportunity to understand and express their feelings and connect with a group of peers. Most importantly, it wants to recognize the 2019 Camp HeartSong kids.

“It was amazing to witness the trusting bonds that were formed, the emotional walls coming down, and the vulnerability and bravery of this group,” Hardy said. 

For more information on Camp HeartSong, visit their website or call 512-754-615. 

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