Bereaved kids to get support at first Grief Camp for children and teens

Thanks to the Madawaska Valley Hospice Palliative Care, there is support here in the Valley for children and young people who have experienced the death of someone special to them. Children and young adults aged 5 to 17 years from across Renfrew County are invited to attend a Children and Teens Grief Camp in Barry’s Bay on Saturday, May 6. The one day workshop is the first such event in Madawaska Valley, and will run between 9:30 am and 2:00 pm (lunch included). Their parents and guardians are invited to a Parent Discussion Group on the topic of children’s grief while the young people are at their workshop.

MV Hospice Grief Counsellor Dawn Cruchet recently spoke with The Current to explain the background behind the upcoming free Grief Camp. The resource materials on MV Hospice Palliative Care website make it clear that children and teens grieve the loss of a special person every bit as much as adults do – but because they show or process their grief differently, adults often don’t know how to support bereaved young people. That’s why the opportunity for children and teens to express their grief in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental place is important. Cruchet explained that all participants will be grouped by age and that the groups will be facilitated by trained volunteers using age-appropriate language and materials.

Dawn Cruchet (Photo supplied)

Cruchet is no stranger to dealing with bereaved children and teens; before coming to the Valley she regularly ran grief sessions for those age groups in Montreal – where attendance averaged about 25 to 30 participants, sometimes as many as 40 attendees. The May 6th workshop will follow the same model as the Montreal ones – children and teens will be grouped by age, will engage in activities using art, music and movement, and will have many opportunities for sharing feelings and memories.

She pointed out that there are grieving kids in every classroom in the County, yet there are very few resources available to support them. Her work with MV Hospice Palliative Care has revealed numerous children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, who have been affected by the death of a significant person in their lives. Also, in response to recent events, MV Hospice reached out to the Day Care in Eganville.

Cruchet will contact each family in advance of the Grief Camp so that they understand what to expect. The workshop will involve age-appropriate structured activities that provide the chance to share their feelings with other grieving children, learn from their peers, and honour the memory of the person who died.

Advance registration is necessary so that sufficient facilitators and materials are on hand. The location of the Grief Camp will be given to registered participants. To secure a spot or for more information, please call MV Hospice Palliative Care at 613.756.3045 ext.350 as soon as possible.

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