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Hospice offers free day-long grief camp for kids

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POTSDAM - Outdoor games, ice cream making and other fun activities are in store at this year’s Camp Healing Hearts, a day-long event for children and youth dealing with the death of a family member or close friend.

Once again, area youth will team up with trained counselors for games and activities designed to teach them coping skills. Now in its third year, the free camp is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18 at St. Lawrence Valley Hospice, Route 11. About a dozen spots for youth ages 5 to 17 are still available.

This year’s them is a “Day at the Carnival,” and highlights include darts, potato sack races, an obstacle course and creating home-made ice cream.

Kay L. DePerno, a hospice bereavement counselor, said taking time to properly grieve gets overlooked in today’s fast-paced society.

“We’re trying to cultivate good grievers,” Ms. DePerno said. “We have forgotten to take the time to grieve.”

Trained hospice counselors will lead activities designed to help campers begin to understand what grief is and learn different coping strategies.

Gathering with peers who are experiencing similar feelings is helpful in the healing process, she said.

“We teach kids that it’s OK to talk about the person who died. We try to make them understand that death is a part of life,” Mrs. DePerno said. “It’s going to be a fun day. The activities are age appropriate and we’ll have a lot of skilled staff there.”

For more information or to register, contact hospice by July 20 by calling 265-3105.

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