Camp Courage Helps Kids Deal with Grief

parachuteFor the kids who went to Camp Courage this year, there was no shortage of games, crafts and storytelling to fill the one-day, free camp aimed at helping kids who have recently suffered a loss. Mountain States Hospice has offered its Camp Courage—underwritten by Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services—every summer for the last six years. The camp is open to any child, from kindergarten through eighth grade, who is grieving a death.

This year, Kibbi, the Morris-Baker therapy dog was also brought in to spend the day with the kids. I2016-Preston, Anna, Kibbi, and boynteracting with a therapy dogs can lessen anxiety, provide comfort, increase relaxation, and lift people’s spirits.
“Kibbi had a wonderful effect on the kids,” said Anna Butler, Mountain States Hospice Chaplain and head of Camp Courage. “I saw one child struggling with her emotions, and Kibbi came over to visit with her, and instantly the child calmed down.”

Anna said that Kibbi also helped humans relate to each other: when people are both focused on petting a dog, it makes talking about difficult things easier.

walking out the doorToward the end of the camp, when one participant had to leave a few minutes early, he asked to say goodbye to Kibbi. Preston McKee, Kibbi’s handler and owner of Morris-Baker, brought Kibbi over to the young boy and his mother, but then decided a longer goodbye might be better, and they all walked together down the hall and out the door.

WRITTEN BY: Shuly Cawood