Good Grief’s inaugural “Grief Expressions Summer Camp” was held August 22, 2017 through August 25, 2017. Grief Expressions Summer Camp brought together 31 kids from the greater Morristown area who experienced the death of someone important in their life. Isolation and loneliness are some of the most common effects of grief, and research shows that without support, grief directly impacts a child’s overall health and wellbeing. Marco, a 10-year-old camper, lost his mom. He appreciated that he and his siblings could talk to other kids that understood their family’s experience. “I come to camp with my sister and my brother, and we’ve made a lot of friends. I like being at camp, because when I’m around my friends at school, I feel like I don’t want to talk about what happened to my family, but now that I’m with friends that had someone pass away, I feel like I can talk about it.” The camp provided the kids with much needed peer support while they engaged in art, theatre, and vocal workshops to express themselves and explore their grief. “We talk about good memories we have, and we play games to open up and express your feelings. It’s really helpful and it’s a lot of fun,” Marco added with a smile.
Grief Expressions Summer Camp was made possible by the community’s efforts to support grieving kids. Industry professionals from throughout New Jersey volunteered to provide a variety of creative arts modalities. The Mayo Performing Arts Center provided campers with a unique, backstage tour to show the impacts of art on the community, and to give the kids an inside look into the professional world of performing arts. The camp concluded with an art exhibit and performance for family and friends to showcase the talents and hard work of each camper.
By the end of the four days, the parents could see the creativity and confidence their kids had developed as they proudly walked onstage. Through the arts, kids were able to develop their sense of self and build the necessary skills to express their feelings. For grieving children, the sense of connectedness to the community and the ability to articulate their story fosters resiliency as they navigate their grief journey. When asked if he would sign up again for camp next year, Marco enthusiastically nodded his head and said“Yes!!”
Good Grief provides free programs to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mom, dad, sister, or brother. Good Grief intends to continue to offer this camp opportunity to the entire community. If you are interested in learning more or becoming a partner please contact Melissa Parrish at Melissa@good-grief.org, or 908.522.1999 x8003.
Good Grief is respected as a national leader in delivering grief services to children and their families. It is the leading provider of these services in New Jersey, serving over 1,000 children since its founding in 2004. Good Grief is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide unlimited free support to children, teens and families after the death of a parent or sibling. Servicing more than 200 Communities, Good Grief operates programs in Morristown and Princeton. For more information www.good-grief.org.