In the spring of 1992, LifePath Hospice hosted its first Camp Circle of Love. This annual weekend retreat allows children living in Hillsborough County, ages 6 to 17, who experienced the death of a loved one to work through their grief.
For close to 48 hours, children are able to reconnect and enjoy life again. Even if the loved one was not a patient under LifePath Hospice care, any child can attend Camp Circle of Love.
How Camp Circle of Love Helps
Throughout the camp weekend at the Lakewood Retreat in Brooksville, Florida, trained LifePath Hospice bereavement counselors are present along with a full-time registered nurse, other staff and dedicated community volunteers. In fact, anyone that volunteers at the camp comes away from the weekend with a total sense of accomplishment for the supportive healing provided to the campers.
Attendees participate in traditional camp activities such as swimming, arts and crafts and team sports. However, there are specific exercises built into the weekend that help the campers cope with grief and re-build trust and self-awareness. For instance, lakeside on Saturday evening, there is a moving memorial service designed to provide healing and closure opportunities for the campers.
Although on the surface the camping challenges may seem recreational, all have a therapeutic component that helps kids develop coping skills to manage their grief. In addition, peer-to-peer interaction with others of the same age who experienced the loss of a loved one assists the children with the grieving process, i.e. they don’t feel alone in their sorrow.
Click here to watch our Camp Circle of Love video.
How to Register
Registration includes completing an application and participating in an interview with a LifePath Hospice counselor. Based on family income, there is a sliding registration fee from $1 to $25, but, otherwise, the weekend is free of charge. Round-trip bus transportation to the camp leaves from the LifePath Hospice office at 3010 W. Azeele Street in Tampa. Children are accepted to participate in camp based on appropriateness and availability. Following the interview, families will be notified as to each camper’s status regarding camp registration and attendance. Space is limited and fills on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The 25th annual Camp Circle of Love occured Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30, 2017.
To learn more about Camp Circle of Love, the Circle of Love Center and the grief support provided by LifePath Hospice to residents in Hillsborough County and other services, please call our helpful LifePath Hospice team at either 813.877.2200 or toll-free at 1.800.209.2200 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.