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Camp Cocoon: Healing Hearts of Grieving Children

Updated on April 2, 2013
A bereavement counselor with a camper at Camp Cocoon.
A bereavement counselor with a camper at Camp Cocoon. | Source

Video of Camp Cocoon

A Place to Heal

Camp Cocoon is a weekend camp, sponsored by the United Hospice Foundation, for children grieving from the loss of a loved one. The camp is set in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains and provides a safe environment for children ages 6-17 to share their experiences and feelings.

Children from Georgia and North and South Carolina are given an opportunity to meet other kids going through the grieving process. The camp is volunteer staffed primarily by employees of UHS-Pruitt Corporation and includes bereavement counselors, nurses, chaplains, and social workers to meet every need that may arise for the grieving campers.

Campers settling into their cabin with blankets donated by Project Linus.
Campers settling into their cabin with blankets donated by Project Linus. | Source

The Reason for the Camp

Children are no different from adults when facing the loss of a loved one. Children feel pain, hurt, confusion, anger, and denial when experiencing death. Camp Cocoon offers a supportive environment where these feelings can be expressed, validated, and dealt with by professionally trained staff. Activities at camp are taken from The Dougy Center-The National Center for Grieving Children and Families, as well as other grief resources. The activities are designed to help the kids open up about their feelings while giving hope for better days.

Camp Schedule of Events

Friday-Campers settle into their cabins and get to know each other. A big family style dinner in the historic lodge dining hall is served later in the evening.

Saturday-Campers enjoy a jammed packed day filled with swimming, fishing, connecting activities, crafts, and the very popular talent show in the evening.

Sunday-"The Doctor is In," session is held where all questions are welcomed and answered by a volunteer physician. Afterwards, a memorial service with a butterfly release signifies an end to the camp.

Campers release butterflies in memory of their deceased loved one.
Campers release butterflies in memory of their deceased loved one. | Source

Camp Costs

Although the registration fee for individual campers is only $10.00, the actual cost of producing the camp is in excess of $60,000. Fundraisers are held throughout the year by UHS-Pruitt employees including raffles, cookouts, quail hunts, and yard sales. The camp also benefits from memorials left to the United Hospice Foundation and donations made by individuals.

Bikers for Butterflies is another fundraising event for the camp. Motorcycle riders raise funds throughout the year and ride into camp on the last morning to give their donations and spend time with the kids. The children always look forward to seeing the motorcade and having their picture taken with the bikers.

If you know of a child that lives in Georgia, or North or South Carolina who could benefit from attending Camp Cocoon, please contact United Hospice Foundation for more information.

Campers and staff from Holly Blue cabin.
Campers and staff from Holly Blue cabin. | Source

About the Author

Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.

Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Google+.


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