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Camp Sunrise Brings Healing, Comfort in Time of Loss

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Losing a loved one is never easy, especially for children who have lost those close to them.  That’s where Camp Sunrise comes in.  The 6th Annual Camp Sunrise, a time of celebration and remembrance of loved ones, was held June 13 and 14 at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood. 

Seventeen children ages six to 12 participated in the camp, which is sponsored by Hospice of St. Mary’s.  The children had differing losses, from mothers and fathers to grandparents and an uncle.  The two days were filled with small group work, through which the children shared their feelings through the creation of memory boxes, special pictures, storytelling and other arts and crafts.

Highlights of the free camp, which is also sponsored by Brinsfield Funeral Home and Mattingly-Gardiner Funeral Home, are horse painting and canoeing. 

“The two days went by quickly, and although it was hot, the entire group had a great time,” said   Kathryn Franzen, Hospice director.  “We have heard many positive comments from the children and their parents about how healing this camp experience was for them.”

Hospice of St. Mary’s credits a great deal of the fun and activities to the generosity of others in the community. Thanks were delivered to the Board of Education for allowing the campers to use its canoes and to Kurt Reitz for teaching the children how to safely use the canoes.

Diane McKissick, LCSW-C, from the LoneSpirit Counseling Center, and her team of volunteers, brought her horses to Sotterley so that every child was paired with a horse, and through painting, could creatively express their feelings through a living art project. The horses stood patiently while the children painted some of them from nose to tail.  When their projects were completed, they paraded the horses for the rest of the group to admire.

The camp concluded with a special ceremony in the Sotterley butterfly garden. Families shared with their children the experience of launching beautiful monarch butterflies in memory of their loved ones. Many tears were shed by all who participated in this moving ceremony.

“It is our hope that the butterfly garden will become a special place that the children can visit throughout the year to remember,” Franzen said. 

Hospice will continue to provide grief support to children and their families who need support working through the loss of a loved one.  For more information on the children and adult groups, or individual help, call the Hospice Bereavement Center at (301) 475-6423.
 




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