Original article published April 2007, in Washoe Family magazine.
In times of grief and sadness, there’s no better way to find comfort than breathing in fresh air and soaking up sunlight. That’s why for two weekends each year, 34 children, 16 adolescents, 25 volunteer facilitators, two nurses, a cook and two camp leaders gather in the great outdoors for bereavement camp.
In 2002, the Solace Tree was created as this community’s first non-profit organization to assist families and children with bereavement. When loved ones die, children and adults are faced with a tremendous range of feelings, which come and go at different times. These new emotions and the challenges of grief are diffcult pieces to fit into daily life, which is why we felt it was important to create a sort of escape, in the form of bereavement camp — some place to get away, if only for a few days, to become rejuvenated, to deal with feelings and to soak up that sunshine.
Our first camp, in the summer of 2006, was so popular that we, unfortunately, had to turn away 32 children and adolescents, simply due to a lack of space. We decided that from then on, we would hold bereavement camp two weekends a year, once in summer and once in fall.
These two camps — Camp Solace, held at majestic Glenbrook at Lake Tahoe, and Camp HUG at Eagle Lake — are both designed to help kids, ages 7 to 17, to grieve in a safe environment, as they learn