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Today's Family Magazine

Children’s grief support camps provide support and healing in natural settings

Apr 21, 2017 09:28AM ● By Today's Family

Flowers with attached notes to loved ones written on biodegradable rice paper float in the pond at the Red Oak Camp following a ceremony to honor loved ones.

Looking for a summer camp to support a grieving child or teen, or a meaningful way for your whole family to memorialize a loved one? One of the lesser known community services offered by Hospice of the Western Reserve’s bereavement center is a series of children’s grief support camps and family days held in beautiful natural settings throughout northern Ohio.

The camps are offered at a nominal cost and are made possible through the support of the Conway Family Foundation, Christ Child Society of the Western Reserve, CRL David Foundation, the Goldner Family and many individual donors.  No connection to hospice services is necessary to attend one of the camps.

This summer, camps are planned in a variety of natural outdoor settings to help children share their feelings and ask questions in safe, supportive environments.  All of the camps are led by trained grief support professionals experienced in working with children and teens.  Two family days – appropriate for children and adults of all ages – are also planned. 

For more information or to register for one of the camps, call 216.486.6838 or visit

Three-Day Camp
June 6–8 • 9 am to 3 pm
Together We Can
Red Oak Camp (ages 6–13)
9057 Kirtland-Chardon Rd., Kirtland
Planned activities such as commemorative crafts, drum circles and storytelling encourage memories, coping skills and the expression of feelings.  Register by May 8.

Five-Day Camp
June 19–23 • 9 am to noon
Riding Through Grief: The Healing Power of Horses (ages 8–12)
Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic
Riding Center
16497 Snyder Rd., Chagrin Falls
Offered by Hospice of the Western Reserve in collaboration with Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, the gentle, nurturing feedback of therapy horses in a tranquil 45-acre farm environment has a healing effect on children coping with loss. Children interact with therapy horses through a series of unmounted activities.  Register by May 28.

Family Day Events
Saturday, July 22 • 10 am to noon
At the Park (all ages)
Cleveland Metroparks
Willow Bend Picnic Area, Brook Park
Creating art from nature in a beautiful wooded setting allows participants to know they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings and experiences while they tell their stories and memorialize their loved ones. Register by July 15

Saturday, July 29 • 3 to 5 pm
At the Beach (all ages)
Mentor Headlands
9601 Headlands Road, Mentor
The waves and the sand provide a soothing natural setting for children and adults of all ages as participants engage in a scavenger hunt, make rain sticks and interact with others, learning new ways to manage their grief.  Register by July 22.