For the past 25 years, Carroll Hospice’s Camp T.R. has provided encouragement and support for children grieving the loss of a loved one.
Held the first weekend in June at Hashawha Environmental Center in Westminster, a total of 12 kids ages 8 to 15 attended the free overnight camp this year. And, for the first time, as circumstances would have it, all the campers who attended had lost a parent.
“It seemed like the kids bonded sooner this year. The loss of a parent connected them, and it was amazing to see the friendships that developed,” says Carroll Hospice bereavement counselor Jessica Roschen, who leads the annual camp.
The weekend featured a mix of fun summer activities, like swimming in the pool, campfires and kayaking, and grief support and activities, such as sharing memories and a candle lighting ceremony in memory of the loved ones they’d lost.
Special guests included eight therapy dogs of various sizes and breeds from K-Pets, a drumming group and about 10 Francis Scott Key High School students, led by teacher Roberta Gore, who performed a series of grief vignettes for the campers.
Roschen is thankful for the donation of time of the 33 adult and junior volunteers who helped throughout the weekend and the donation of materials, including memory books and art supplies that added to its success. As a parting gift, the children were given wildflower seeds as a symbol of creating new life and new beginnings.
For Roschen, seeing the campers bond so quickly was a special part of the camp experience. “It always happens every year, but because all had lost a parent,” she says, “it just happened sooner.”
Selected images from Camp T.R. 2019: