MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Camp Hands of Hope, a weekend-long bereavement camp helps South Carolina children aged 5 to 18 years old cope following the loss of a loved one.
“I think the hardest part is kids don’t ever wanna feel different, and so when they go back to school after perhaps they lost their dad, they’re the kid who’s dad died, and it’s very hard for them to feel different, and this gives them a chance to learn that they aren’t the only one who’s going through this and you can have fun even while you’re grieving,” Stephanie Mishoe, Director of Camp Hands of Hope said.
The program operated under the Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation is free for those who attend. The camp teaches children methods to cope after the death of a loved one.
“(The campers) get a chance to meet other kids who’ve also experienced a loss, and we have expressive activities that help them with their feelings and also help them with their memories,” Mishoe said.
Camp Hands of Hope also teaches parents and guardians ways to help their child grieve.
Lola Marsh is a grandparent who has been raising her two granddaughters, ages 11 and 9, since their mother died a few years ago.
“It was hard just watching them and not knowing how to really help them other than through our faith,” Marsh said.
This year is the third time Marsh and her granddaughters have returned to camp, and she says each year her granddaughters make more progress.
“They wanna know more about (their mother); they ask me more questions, so it’s helped me tremendously as far as being able to answer those questions, but it’s helped them because they’re able to open up and ask me questions,” Marsh said.
While Marsh admits her granddaughters will always have to deal with the grief of losing their mother, there is still light at the end of the tunnel.
“Grief is forever. I mean, you’re always gonna grieve, and it’s hard, but it’s a lot easier being able to help them through this.”
To learn more about Camp Hands of Hope or how to apply for the next camp session, click here.