Camp Good Grief

SANDUSKY Children at Camp Good Grief are learning lessons in coping and moving on this week.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Children at Camp Good Grief are learning lessons in coping and moving on this week.

The Stein Hospice bereavement camp is for 5- to 15-year-olds dealing with a loss.

"These are kids that have lost somebody in their life whether it be a person or pet; we don't exclude," said Shea Lynne Baus, director of bereavement at Stein Hospice. "We combine having fun with learning healthy coping tools."

Monday, campers got the chance to interact with a therapy cat and dog.

Cosmo is a registered therapy cat who visits local nursing homes, Stein Hospice and Firelands Regional Medical Center. Bayley is a registered therapy dog who visits hospitals and elementary schools.

"I think pets can be very therapeutic," Baus said. "The pets have a calming nature and they can also be a lot of fun. Pets are unconditional."

Mandy Dress, 12, was particularly fond of Cosmo.

"I loved the cat. It just cheers everybody up," Mandy said. "It's so cute and fluffy."

Throughout the week, campers will do a variety of activities to help with coping including music therapy, potting plants and activities with area high school football teams.

"The football teams are leading physical activities, which in and of itself is a coping tool. We're emphasizing busting through our grief," Baus said.

Two-time camper Tesha Johnson, 7, said the camp has helped her remember loved ones, but also forget, in a good way.

"It helps me remember about my people who have died in my family. It helps me forget, like not remember, so it won't make me cry," Tesha said.

Rachel Gebard, 12, has also returned to the camp for the second year. She is learning to cope with the death of her father.

"It helps me try to figure out what I'm supposed to do when I'm upset about him," Rachel said.

Baus said she hopes the camp also shows the children they aren't alone and have a support system.

"The camp is to teach coping, but also to emphasize that these kids have friends, family and a community that supports them," Baus said.