Hospice and summer camp aren't two things that most people think of in the same sentence.
Last week, though, the most recent edition of Camp Chrysalis, a camp for 27 children and adolescent campers was held again by the Langley Hospice Society in Aldergrove.
The four-day retreat from Aug. 22-25 was hosted by Camp Elkgrove, and was for those seven-to-13-year-olds impacted by the loss of a family member or close friend.
Hospice societies help those who are dying, and also those who are left behind, whether after a long illness or a sudden accidental death.
For children, it can be particularly hard to find someone their own age to talk to, said Linda Sheridan, the children's bereavement coordinator for the society.
They often don't even tell their friends at school; those they do tell may be shocked or change the subject.
The idea at Camp Chrysalis is to bring together kids who all have that in common, and have all gone through a similar experience.
"They can let their guards down," said Sheridan.
The younger campers have older children and volunteers to talk to as well.
Most of the campers came to hospice through its bereavement support programs, Sheridan said. Children express grief differently than adults and older teens, and the Hospice Society has been working in recent years to expand its programs for children.
Although the four-day camping event is supported by the Elks, through their loan of Camp Elkgrove, the fact that it is free to the campers means that Hospice must absorb the majority of other costs.
This year, for the first time, they got a big assist from two local grocery stores.
Hospice approached local Buy Low grocery stores, and Jason Kalvik, the Walnut Grove manager, and Kirk Flynn, manager at Brookswood, donated four carts piled with food to keep all the campers well fed for the weekend.
"We were glad to help out," said Flynn.
Kalvik noted that, like many people, he wasn't aware that Langley Hospice worked with children or had an annual summer camp.
Hospice is working to get the word out about more of its programs.
@ Copyright 2013