Monday, Sep 11, 2023

Ballad Health to hold Camp Firefly event for grieving children, teenagers on Sept. 23

Ballad Health Hospice will help those with hurting hearts on Saturday, Sept. 23, hosting the annual Camp Firefly for grieving children, teenagers and their families.

The camp, which runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., will be held at Warriors’ Path State Park in Kingsport. This event is designed for children and teenagers who have experienced the death of a loved one.

“If someone’s old enough to love, they’re old enough to grieve,” said Sarah Hale, volunteer and bereavement coordinator for Ballad Health Hospice. “Grieving can be an isolating experience, and this camp provides a safe and supportive environment for young people to come together, share their stories and find hope and healing.”

During Camp Firefly, the hospice team offers a variety of interventions, so each child can find something that helps them heal.

“We have one-on-one and group sessions; we have quiet times that allow for reflection and busy times with vigorous activities. But everything we do has the intention of helping kids cope with their grief,” Hale said.

Camp Firefly is a free event that provides a safe, fun and caring atmosphere where campers and their families explore their feelings by:

· Developing an age-appropriate understanding of death

· Forming relationships with peers who have experienced similar losses

· Improving self-esteem

· Reducing feelings of isolation

· Strengthening coping skills

Campers – who range in ages from 4 to 17 – come together in age-divided groups to address their feelings of grief, celebrate their loved ones through memory-focused activities and learn healthy coping skills. Lunch is provided, with time for families to reconnect and relax. The camp day concludes with a memorial ceremony.

Trained volunteers serve as camp buddies and accompany participants through activities led by professional social workers, counselors and nurses.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to attend Camp Firefly with the children. Separate sessions are conducted to help adults understand and support children’s grieving processes, recognize signs of complicated grief, cope with their own grief and learn how to respond to children’s unique needs. A panel of experienced professionals will be available to answer questions.

Pre-registration for Camp Firefly ends on Friday, Sept. 22, but day-of registrations will be accepted as space allows.

Register or learn more about Camp Firefly here or contact Ballad Health Hospice at 423-431-6146.

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