Camp Sydney helps kids and parents face grief from loss

Children and their families learned to cope with grief associated with losing a loved one during their time at Camp Sydney in June. Offered at Broom Tree Retreat and Conference Center by Catholic Family Services, 18 campers and 14 parents from 13 families spent three days working together.

They worked with 23 volunteers learning ways to deal with their grief and making sure kids understand it’s ok to talk about the person they lost.

“Camp Sydney is a time for kids to come together and know they are not alone in their grief,” says camp director Mary Weber, a counselor with Catholic Family Services. “There’s time for both laughter and tears. It’s the most meaningful camp I have ever been a part of.”

Camp volunteers add fun activities like woodworking, slip-and-slide, s’mores, a scavenger hunt, swimming and group games. A balloon release and an evening memorial luminary on the water tops off the events.

Parents and their kids spent some time at the camp in separate programs. Parents worked with Dr. Marcie Moran, Catholic Family Services clinical director, to understand their own grief and how their child might be feeling.

Kids make connections and new friends at camp.

The kid’s programs focused on allowing them opportunities to talk about their feelings, their loved one and make crafts to turn their grief into something they can keep.

At other times, parents came together with their kids to have fun and talk about what they were learning and feeling.

“Dr. Marcie Moran is an excellent speaker. And the child interaction with other kids who have lost someone, that seems to be a huge part of helping them cope,” said one parent participating in the program.

Another parent said of their overall impression with the camp, “I love the passion all of the organizers and volunteers have for the camp. The kids are busy. They don’t even realize how much healing is coming their way!”