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Camp New Hope supports kids who have experienced loss

Camp New Hope participants make memory boxes to hold mementos of their loved ones. SUBMITTED PHOTO
July 16, 2017

Over the past 26 years, Delaware Hospice has hosted Camp New Hope for children and teens ages 6-18 who have lost a loved one. This year, over 75 campers participated in one-week camps at Delaware Hospice Center in Milford and Lums Pond State Park in Bear.

Camp New Hope is an inspiring four-day summer day camp. Through a variety of age-appropriate activities, campers can interact with other children who have experienced loss. The camp also offers group projects, counseling, individual support, education and free time to allow children to process emotions and ask questions. Finally, the camp hosts a special memorial service which celebrates and honors the life of each child's loved one.  

"Many times, children do not have the opportunity to meet other kids who are going through similar experiences," said Camp New Hope Director Earline Vann, BS, CT. "Camp gives kids the opportunity to mourn their loss but to remind them that they are not alone."

"Camp has been awesome," said Tony K., age 11. He and his two younger sisters attended camp after their mom passed away earlier this year. He said, "My favorite activity was blowing bubbles for a calming breath. The counselors showed us that when you blow really fast and short you are not able to get big bubbles. If you take deep, long breaths, you can get really, really big bubbles." Another favorite activity of the campers is always paddle boarding. "We got soaking wet from the water fight," he said. Tony also mentioned that he was nervous to attend camp at first. He said, “But by Friday I had the most fun and was sad to leave camp."

Camp New Hope is the capstone of New Hope, a program of Delaware Hospice. New Hope was established as a free program to serve children and teens during their time of grief. New Hope counselors have provided support, counseling and education to close to 10,000 children, teens, and their families through a variety of free workshops, support groups, individual counseling and summer camp. When children and teens experience the death of a loved one, their needs are different from those of adults. Children and teens grieve at their development level and must navigate a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, and insecurity. As they grow, they learn ways to process and cope with their loss. With the help of New Hope, children and teens are able to grow with their grief and find new hope. The nationally recognized program is specifically designed for children and teens who are coping with the death of a loved one.

No families are ever charged for Camp New Hope. Delaware Hospice is able to host the camp each year due to the generosity of  individuals and organizations including ACTS Avenue United Methodist Women; Ben Fournier Photography; Camden Wyoming Market; Chick-fil-A, Bear; The Christmas Shop Foundation; Dover Air Force Base Mortuary; Dover Rent-All; Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay; Grand Chapter of Delaware Order of the Eastern Star; Hank's Hope; Kenny Family Foundation; King's Ice Cream; Law Dogs, Delaware Chapter; Madison's Barbecue; Principal Financial Group Foundation; Seaford Ice; Springhaus Nursery; Sposato’s Landscaping; Wilmington Flower Market; Women's Club of Milton; and Woodside Farm & Creamery.

For more information, call 800-838-9800 or go to www.delawarehospice.org.