Robert was only five years old when his father died in a plane crash. The utter shock of this unexpected tragedy had a tremendous impact on Robert and his entire family. After a few years of trying to cope with grief, Robert’s mother sought support for herself and her children. She had heard about Camp Emily, a day camp for youth who have experienced the death of a loved one, so she decided to sign them all up to attend. At Camp Emily, Robert and his younger brother and sister were able to meet children who were going through similar experiences. By making connections with other kids, they felt less alone and learned their feelings of sadness were okay. Robert’s mom also participated that day at Camp Emily, which helped the family to grow closer together.
Robert carried the memory of his day at Camp Emily throughout the rest of his childhood. For Robert, Camp Emily started him down the path of choosing positive ways to channel his difficult emotions. By witnessing his mother share in the process, Robert saw her as a role model that he could follow. Robert learned to open up and talk about his father’s death, which made the grieving process more bearable.
Looking back, Robert recognized the effect Camp Emily had in his life, so he decided to give back by volunteering for the event. During his first time volunteering, Robert assisted with a group of second graders, who quickly connected with him after he shared his own story of loss. The children opened up even more when they got to pet the therapy dog. Robert was amazed to witness how these little kids were able to express themselves through coloring pictures. At the end of the day, the children thanked Robert by giving him their name tags to wear as a special memento.
Now in college, Robert intends to major in child psychology. Even though he’ll be away at the University of Minnesota, Robert still plans to continue to volunteer for Camp Emily, which is held every year on the second Saturday in October. For anyone thinking about attending Camp Emily, Robert says that just hearing other people talk about what they have gone through can help relieve your own stress and chances are somebody affected by grief will find benefit.
Camp Emily is one way the Bereavement program through LB Homes supports people throughout the grieving process. Our bereavement social workers offer compassionate support and education to those feeling pain over the loss of a loved one. We provide literature, individual home visits, and grief support groups. If a person needs further support, we help them find additional resources as well as refer them to other professionals when necessary.
Grief support groups are open to the public and held in various towns in our area. They are free of charge and the information shared by participants is confidential. We also hold sessions at local schools to help support youth in a comfortable and familiar setting.
Bereavement is an important aspect of hospice care, offering compassionate counsel for patients and their families. LB Hospice, formerly Lakeland Hospice, provides grief support for the family of the deceased for up to 13 months after the death has occurred because often the one-year anniversary is an emotional time. Individual home visits are a great benefit of hospice, yet a person who lost a loved one unexpectedly can receive up to four home visits at no charge, even if the death wasn’t associated with hospice.
LB Homes serves others and supports those who lost a family member, friend or neighbor. Through donor support, LB Homes Foundation (formerly Lakeland Hospice Foundation) helps fund our various care sites and services as well as programs like Camp Emily. Your generous gift supports our Bereavement program, so we can continue to touch the lives of people in our community who grieve over the death of a loved one.
Your gifts will help us provide loving cares and offer programs for those that come to us in need as well as their family.