How Camp Good Mourning Helps Children After Loss

CGMWhen children lose a loved one, they look for somewhere to turn, someone who will listen and help guide them through the sadness they may be feeling. Altru’s Hospice Camp Good Mourning is that place.

The only grief camp in North Dakota, Camp Good Mourning is a safe and secure environment for children six-18 years of age to explore their thoughts and feelings. The children receive support from fellow campers and volunteers.

Camp Good Mourning is held annually at Park River Bible Camp and allows for an attendance of 50 children and teens. The campers partake in activities including low adventure course, canoeing, wall climbing, recreation time, art and crafts, high ropes and campfires. Added to these activities are small group discussions, where children are encouraged to open up about their loss, how it makes them feel and how to move forward. 

Companion Approach
Camp Good Mourning curriculum is adopted from Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt’s, Companioning the Grieving Child. Dr. Wolfelt states, “As companions, we are not experts who have the answers; we look to the bereaved child to teach us about his or her grief. We do not control his or her journey by creating a treatment plan; we simply show up with curiosity and a willingness to learn and listen.”

Included in Dr. Wolfelt’s curriculum are the Grief Rights of Children. These rights help children dealing with loss state what they are feeling and understand that it is okay to feel the way they feel.

How You Can Help
Camp Good Mourning is funded entirely by donations, fundraisers and a $25 registration fee (waived if it’s a hardship for the family). For more information regarding camp (June 22-24, 2018), how to register a child, or to volunteer, please contact Sue Mairs, camp coordinator, at smairs@altru.org or 701.780.5258.

For more information regarding Altru’s Hospice care volunteer opportunities, call 701.780.1450.

Sue MairsSue Mairs, LSW is Altru’s Hospice Camp Good Mourning Coordinator. CGM has allowed her a unique opportunity to “journey with” our families and especially the children and teens. In her free time she enjoys a multitude of physical activities – yoga, walking/jogging, weight training and kickboxing.

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