Chesapeake Life Center has announced that it is bringing back Camp Nabi, its summer overnight camp program for grieving children and teens. The weekend-long camp is for children ages 6 to 18 and will be held Aug. 4 to 6.
Chesapeake Life Center Director Brian Berger said the camp program will be familiar to volunteers and facilitators who participated in the program that ran for 27 years up until 2018. Just as it was previously, it will be held at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in Millersville, Maryland. And just as in years past, the goal is for kids experiencing loss to have fun.
“The kids will go swimming, canoeing, do low ropes course, do the kind of things that people expect from an overnight camp,” Berger said. “The goal is to provide space to remember loved ones who have died through expressive arts and guided conversations mixed with opportunities to engage in camp activities in a community of peers who have had similar experiences.”
There will be grief professionals and trained volunteers there to help the campers learn how to cope with their grief, and more importantly, formal, and informal opportunities for peer-to-peer support in an exciting but safe environment.
Since the last overnight camp, Hospice of the Chesapeake has expanded to include Hospice of Charles County and Calvert Hospice. This growth has Berger and his team planning transportation so that any grieving child in the four counties can participate. “We’ll have transportation to and from our Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert and Prince George’s County offices,” Berger said.
Though the organization has had successful day camps, Berger said there is a sense of community that comes from spending an extended period of time together. They are not saying goodbye only a few hours after having met these new friends. They get uninterrupted time to befriend their fellow grievers. “They’re supporting each other in various ways. It’s not only the support around grief. For some it’s their first time away from home. There might be peer support that comes from saying, ‘Hey, let’s do something in the cabin to make it feel a little bit more comfortable or let’s play a game,” Berger said. “There’s a bit of a magic that happens by them being able to stay in that space of support from beginning to end versus coming back and forth. That’s the power of the overnight camp.”
Additionally, it is something the community has been asking for and there is already some excitement coming from the news of its return. “These camps take a lot of support, both financially and through staff and volunteer participation,” Berger said. “But this is something our community really supports and wants to be a part of. It feels great to be confident in knowing that we will be able to draw the funding and volunteer support that we need to be able to help kids and teens who are hurting find friendship and healing.”
Details regarding cost and registration is still being finalized. Watch for updates at www.chesapeakelifecenter.org or email [email protected]to be included in future emails.