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Camp I Believe

Losing a loved one is a difficult and tragic event- more so for children - who may sometimes not understand the death... with the help of caring adults and being surrounded by other grieving children - comfort can be found and healthy coping skills developed... That’s where "Camp I Believe" comes in - Connie Gonzalez shows us.
Camp I Believe
By: Connie Gonzalez 

The tragic loss of a loved one can be life changing- and for children the grieving process is typically complex.

The annual Children's Bereavement Camp "Camp I Believe" is in its sixth year helping those ages 6 to 12.

This is a tender process and the goal for the camp is to make the children feel comfortable to progress in their grieving---therefore out of respect we could not expose their identities on camera.

"We believe that with children with loss when they're around other children who have lost a loved one- there's something magical and something healing about that."

Children tend to grieve a little differently compared to adults.

"it's not unusual for a child to be running around playing- I mean looking like a normal child- then all of a sudden they'll sort of be overwhelmed and have a little grief experience."

At "Camp I Believe" the children participate in several activities with a loving adult who serve as their "buddy" for the day.

"The kids will have a chance to be kids and just be around one another and have fun."

Only those ready to open up to the rest of the camp- share their personal story and memories...

"I made an airplane out of clay because I got to go in the airplane with him."

One little girl returned to "Camp I Believe" after experiencing a third loss.

"My papi and my grandma and they both had cancer and my sister she did not have a brain so that caused her to pass."

"My grandma and my grandpa they loved flowers they always planted flowers in their front yard in the spring and the summer- and my papi he always loved golf- and before he passed he gave my dad all these golf clubs which is really cool."

At the end of camp parents will be invited back to experience a memorial ceremony with their child-- remembering the special individual who passed.

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