Hearts of Hope Family Grief Camp began in 2001 with a group of funeral directors from the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association wanting to reach out and help the families they had served, especially those with young children. Seeing the need for additional help beyond the funeral service itself, they established Children’s Grief Connection. Click here for our full story.
Held twice a year, in various locations, Hearts of Hope Family Grief Camp begins on Friday evening at 6pm. Families arrive and are greeted by our mascot teddy bear named HOPE and a welcoming group of volunteers. After short check-in, activities begin with families making name tags and getting a camp t-shirt. Friday night activities are designed to get to know each other, to share a light meal, to have fun and to relax. Families lodge together on Friday night.
Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast, family members divide into their specific age group and join Sharing Circle groups with others who are their age and who have had similar losses. Those Sharing Circle groups spend the rest of the camp weekend doing fun camp things and in memorializing activities. Understanding that grief is a roller-coaster of ups and downs we move between camp activities (climbing walls, adventure hikes, group games, campfires) to remembering activities (memory books, candle-lighting). All activities are designed to meet the developmental and grief/mourning needs of each family member.
Saturday evening, Sharing Circles lodge together enjoying social time, camp fires, movie night, guitar serenades and story time. Sunday morning, after a last Sharing Circle, family members are reunited for our Closing Ceremony. Fun camp skits are performed and a closing ritual is held. Lunch is served, photos and addresses are exchanged, hugs are given everywhere and Hearts of Hope Family Camp ends.
Our hope is that the shared experiences family members have had at Camp will help in the days, months and years ahead as they continue to heal, to remember and to connect with each other.
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