WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The News Channel 6 City Guide is a segment that shines a spotlight on local businesses, events, and nonprofits across Texoma. This episode, we’re taking a closer look at Camp Grin Again through Hospice of Wichita Falls.
Camp Grin Again is an activity-based program for children in kindergarten to 8th grade that are grieving the loss of a loved one. The death does not have to be recent or Hospice related to participate in this free camp.
Normally, this camp and other programs offered through Hospice of Wichita Falls are done in-person. But COVID-19 has forced them to adopt a new format.
“COVID-19 has impacted most of the children’s programs we offer. Above all else, we really wanted to make sure we were covering all guidelines and make sure everyone’s health and safety is a top priority. So, that being said, grief is a difficult topic in itself to navigate for children,” Amanda Culley, children’s programs specialist said.
Culley said they’re seeing a lot of separation anxiety and isolation that’s come from children not being able to have a normal routine with school, extracurricular activities, and other forms of social gatherings. Those issues can become more intense if children are also trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
So, Culley and other members of the Hospice of Wichita Falls team went back to the drawing board to figure out a way to reach children in need of these services. They came up with a camp-to-go format.
This free, at-home virtual camp is set to begin the week of June 29 and continue through the week of July 20.
“With the new format, children and their guardian can drive through our parking lot and pick up their #Grins2Go package at Hospice of Wichita Falls. Each package will include all of the supplies and instructions they need to complete their crafts and activities at home for that week,” Culley said.
While the format has changed this year, the goal remains the same.
“The goals of our programs is to allow children to express their feelings and struggles when dealing with grief and open the door for possible conversations to happen at a deeper level at home,” Culley said.
The age-appropriate activities and crafts are designed to be easy and fun.
“These kids are coming from all different aspects of life and we want to make sure that we provide them with a safe and confidential environment, where they feel like they can talk to anybody,” Culley said.
Social media will be used to connect these children to one another as they go through this program virtually. Families are encouraged to post their completed crafts and activities to social media with the hashtag #Grins2Go to show everyone what they’re working on. Hospice of Wichita Falls staff will also be posting crafts and activities as they work alongside these families.
“The most rewarding part about these programs and being involved is just the connection that you make with the kids. We have kids that come through the programs year after year until they age out. Being able to be with them and learn who they are as individuals. They’re all unique and all different, and all perfect in their own way. It’s so nice to be able to make these connections and form a bond like no other,” Culley said.
For more information, you can all (940) 691-0982. To sign up your child(ren) for Camp Grin Again, click here and fill out the form. One has to be filled out for each child.
If you would like your business, event, or nonprofit featured on the News Channel 6 City Guide, contact Host & Producer Samantha Forester at firstname.lastname@example.org or (940) 757-0691.