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This summer nearly 20 children from across Berks County took part in Camp Connect, a unique camp experience designed specifically for children who have suffered the recent loss of a loved one. Each child was paired with a “buddy,” a volunteer counselor who provided one-on-one support and encouragement throughout the week.
Two camps were offered to serve children in different areas of the county – June 24 to 27 in Muhlenberg Township and August 5 to 8 in Robeson Township. Each four-day camp featured games, art, and activities combined with grief education and emotional support. The children – all between the ages of seven and 11 – were able to connect with others who have faced similar losses, learn ways to identify and express painful emotions, and develop new skills to cope with their grief.
Highlights of the camp included visits from service dogs, free shave ice from Kona Ice of West Reading, and a closing event at FirstEnergy Stadium that included a tour as well as a remembrance ceremony.
Camp Connect is offered through the Berks County Intermediate Unit and was coordinated by Rodney Good, BCIU Operations Supervisor for Safety and Training. Patricia Brenner, Counseling and Student Affairs Instructor at Kutztown University, facilitated all camp activities.
The camps were made possible at no cost to participants by a partnership with the Berks County Mental Health/Development Disabilities Program, Jan’s Circle of Friends, and other local service agencies.