Helping children with life after loss

Published 5:22 pm Saturday, July 28, 2018

Submitted by PruittCares

Camp Cocoon is a weekend camp for children ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a loved one. Children meet other children who are going through similar experiences and suddenly they feel less alone. They will have the opportunity to share stories and learn from each other in a fun, safe, and caring environment. The camp takes place at the Athens Y Camp outside Tallulah Falls on Friday, August 3-Sunday, August 5.

What is the PruittCares Foundation?

The PruittCares Foundation is a non-profit organization with a vision to help others celebrate life in all of its stages. Their mission is to create a loving, giving and caring Christian environment. PruittCares fulfills this goal through an educated and empathetic workforce, and by supporting chaplains and volunteers who provide for the spiritual needs of patients, families and caregivers.

The PruittCares Foundation:

•Encourages Christian spirituality for those working or residing in a health care setting

•Provides educational opportunities for those dedicated to becoming health care professionals

•Is a non-profit foundation based on Christian values

How Camp Cocoon helps kids (and parents!)

We are never prepared for the death of a loved one, even when the death follows a long and serious illness. No matter the circumstances of loss, there is always sadness, heartache, and emptiness. In their own way, children feel the loss as much as adults; they often feel they are all alone, different from their peers, and that no one can understand how they feel. Some may feel hopeless; others may deny the loss or even believe that the loved one will somehow return. Camp Cocoon is a place where these feelings can be addressed. Surrounded by other children who have had similar experiences, their “differentness” fades away. The campers are embraced by love, compassion, and understanding, where healing through play and activity benefits the grieving process.

Activities include:

•Skits and plays to encourage children to talk about their grief

•Arts and crafts to help children memorialize their lost loved ones

•“Ask the Doctor”- a time designed to encourage children to ask health questions they may be afraid to ask at home

•Swimming, a talent show, and marshmallow roasting around the campfire- to let kids be kids!

•A memorial service and a live butterfly release on the final day

What do campers say about Camp Cocooon? “I really like Camp Cocoon because I can be who I am and not worry about anything.” –Tonya, age 17

“It’s fun at Camp Cocoon!” –Marshay, age 8

What do volunteers say about Camp Cocoon? “What I loved about Camp Cocoon was watching the children interact as they made new friends and felt comfortable expressing their feelings.”

Our History – Camp Cocoon is a children’s outreach program of PruittHealth. The first camp was held in August 2003, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Funding for this camp is supplied through memorials received from PruittHealth Hospice agencies around the Southeast, as well as through donations.

Camp Staff- The staff at Camp Cocoon is made up of volunteers, primarily from PruittHealth, PruittHealth Hospice agencie, and the PruittCares Foundation. Each year, the volunteer staff includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement coordinators, as well as others who simply feel called to work with children at this special time in their lives. Our grief counselors who specialize in working with children provide an orientation for the volunteers and facilitate age-appropriate group discussions with the children.

The Campers- Our campers are special and are usually referred to us by hospice agencies, schools, social workers, grief therapists, or our partners. They may live anywhere in our service are from North Carolina to Northern Florida, and range in age from 6 to 17.