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Monday, Sep 19, 2022

Ballad Health to hold Camp Firefly event for grieving children, teenagers on Sept. 24

Ballad Health Hospice will help those with hurting hearts on Saturday, Sept. 24, with its Camp Firefly for grieving children, teenagers and their families.

The camp, which runs from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., will be held at Warrior’s Path State Park. This is the first year the health system has hosted Camp Firefly since 2019, and it is open to any youths who have lost someone since then.

“If someone’s old enough to love, they’re old enough to grieve,” said Sarah Hale, volunteer and bereavement coordinator for Ballad Health Hospice. “At Camp Firefly, we try to provide 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.”

Camp Firefly is a free, one-day 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 that includes a lighted lantern release.

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 their 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.

Anyone interested in attending Camp Firefly should register by Friday, Sept. 23. All campers receive a bandana, backpack, grief literature and the special projects they create that day.

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

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