Camp Hometown Heroes is a national free week-long overnight summer camp for children of fallen U.S. service members who died in any manner: combat, accident, illness or suicide. During their visit to camp, perhaps for the first time in their young lives, the children have the opportunity to openly discuss their feelings and experiences. Through the support of pediatric grief specialists the children partake in art and music therapy programs and optional discussion groups.
The children are afforded the opportunity to enjoy typical summer camp activities such as swimming, dance, arts and crafts, archery, drama, canoeing, fishing, climbing and more. But more importantly, the children are given many opportunities to begin or continue the healing process.
Kyle's Korner at Camp Hometown Heroes
Kyle's Korner partners with Camp Hometown Heroes. We provide the campers with several opportunities to process their grief with their peers. We find that within their own peer support groups, they are able to reflect and relate to what others are currently going through, or already have. Although there are designated times all campers will do some Kyle’s Korner healing art activities, there are times when the camper may not be able to put their grief on hold. In this case, a Kyle’s Korner Camp Counselor is assigned to each cabin to facilitate discussion and acknowledge the struggle. In addition, if your camper chooses, they will be able to process their grief during the meal times as well. An announcement will be made before every meal time about the meal time discussions either pre-designated topics or issues they campers would like to bring up.
Common topics that are often brought up range from not having their own memories of the person who died, to celebrating different important events without that loved one, or worrying about their current parent/guardian or other family member dying. These are difficult topics for anyone to process, not just children. To work on their level of processing, Kyle’s Korner has many different grief activities designed to help the campers on all age levels. We uphold an “I Pass” rule in which the campers know that if they state that they do not want to share at that time, they do not have to. This ensures the safe environment if they do choose to share later.
Our activities are designed and created to address a current struggle, thought, or concern. After identifying what the struggle is, we acknowledge the pain and sorrow but also teach coping skills to help them begin processing that portion of their grief. We also acknowledge and draw commonalities between the campers in group to show that other kids are experiencing similar struggles.
Healing Hearts Film
This is a powerful short film that was created for all to see how awesome and healing Camp Hometown Heroes is for so many children.
Please view it on YouTube: Healing Hearts Film - Camp Hometown Heroes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjE7lJq8RHg
Hometown Heroes Website - http://www.hometownheroes.org/
Camp Hometown Heroes Registration: http://www.hometownheroes.org/camp-hometown-heroes/camp-registration/
Healing Hearts Film - Camp Hometown Heroes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjE7lJq8RHg
Photo Gallery from Camp Hometown Heroes 2013: http://www.hometownheroes.org/photo-gallery/