The Peace Arch Hospice Society partnered with the Revera Whitecliff retirement community to host an inter-generational camp designed to help children cope with the loss of a loved one.
A group of children, the youngest being five, participated in a two-day Children’s Grief Camp at Peace Arch Hospice Society (15435 16A Ave.).
The kids and seniors participated in an array of activities and crafts while volunteers and counsellors relayed the message that despite the uncertainty, confusion, or unusual emotions the kids may be experiencing, it’s OK to talk about death.
Many of the kids experienced the loss of a loved one for the first time, volunteer Richard Dilworth told Peace Arch News last week.
Dilworth said kids participated in discussions on mortality and dying, but it was reinforced in a light manner.
“Through different games and activities and the performances that were brought on site. It was not hammered home, it was quite well done. They were just reminded, again after activities, what did that teach you about your feelings?” Dilworth said. “We tried to push through that it’s OK to talk, it’s OK to cry and share. It wasn’t too heavy, but there was moments, for sure.”
In some cases, seniors shared their experiences with losing a loved one.
“There’s so much to be learned from both parties… It was a really nice balance with the seniors because they come with years of experience.”
Dilworth said that one of the Village residents – who was unaware of the program – started to interact with the kids.
“The next thing, he was doing a coin trick with them and had them completely mesmerized,” Dilworth said.
After the man was told about the camp, he shared his story of how he lost his mother at an early age.
“He spent time with all of the kids, that’s exactly what we were hoping for,” Dilworth said.
The program was offered free, as are all community programs offered through the Peace Arch Hospice Society.