Kids Grief Camp helps youths process a loss
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - There are plenty of camp options for parents to send their kids to during the summer. But a very special one took place in Casper.
For three days earlier this week, Central Wyoming Hospice hosted a Kids Grief Camp at Reach 4a Star Riding Academy. Now in it’s eighth year, grief care coordinator Todd Von Gunten explains the reasoning behind it. “This allows for a lot more grief expression, where kids don’t always have the words to express their grief. So playing is an expression, stories are expression, art, riding a horse and taking care of a horse, drums. We just really expanded it since we started it out here.”
Von Gunten says that some kids can be nervous and hesitant, at first. “What we often see, is that the start of the first day, and they’re very anxIOUs about how things are going, and what’s going to happen here. But then they get on a horse, you see that they’re smiling.”
And Von Gunten’s not lying. Several kids at the camp expressed how much they were enjoying it, and why.
A young boy named Brandon said, “I fed the horse, and it was so funny watching it eat like this. It was trying to eat the bowl. And I like how I got to brush it.”
I then spoke with three teenage girls. Sierra said, “This is my second year here, and I really like it here.” Avery then added, “This is my first time here, and I like it too.” Adalie was in a similar situation as Sierra, and said, “This is my second time here, and I really love this place. That’s why I came back!” To which Sierra replied, “Same!”
Finally, I also spoke with another young boy named Jackson, who said: “This camp actually treats us like we’re their own kids. Like their our siblings basically. It’s like I’m family with this camp.”
Von Gunten summarized the experience this way. “We don’t say, ‘well, they’re going to, after a camp situation like this, that they’ll just have it all figured out.’ But this is the beginning to know how to find the way. In a long, long path that they have in terms of grief.”
Copyright 2023 KGWN. All rights reserved.