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Day camp seeks to help children grieving the loss of a loved one

Posted at 9:44 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 23:45:13-04
Losing a loved one is never easy, but for children, it can be devastating.
 
One local nonprofit is stepping up hoping to make the situation a little less painful.
 
Camp Lolo, a bereavement camp for kids will be held for the first time ever next week.
 
Even though it's the inaugural year, founders are already planning on holding the camp for years to come to help children in the treasure valley.
 
 
 
In November of 2012, the Watson family received some devastating news.
 
Sam Watson, a loving husband, and father to three children was Diagnosed with ALS. Last March he passed away. 
 
"We still have our days, but you pick yourself up and you go on," explained Sam's wife Cynthia Watson.
 
"It was extremely hard because he wasn't going to see me graduate or not see me go into middle school," explained Sam's daughter Jalyssa Watson
 
Members of the home hospice company Sam was using began looking for low-cost resources for Sam's children to help them manage the grief of losing their father.
 
"We did some research and found that there wasn't any resource in the area," said Brandie Thomson, director of Camp Lolo.
 
That's when the idea for Camp LoLo came about.
 
"Camp Lolo is a bereavement camp for kids ages 6-17 who are struggling with the loss of a loved one," said Thomson.
 
The non-profit two day camp is designed for kids to spend time doing fun activities like hiking and kayaking with other children who have gone through similar situations, while getting special interactions with professionals trained in grief recovery.
 
"These kids really need to connect with other kids going through the same thing so they don't feel alone," said Thomson.
 
The cost to attend the camp is completely free.
 
"If you've lost somebody close, especially a spouse, that can take a huge hit on the family," said Juanite Hebbeln, the coordinator of curriculum for Camp Lolo.
 
"There is always those extra expenses and to know that I didn't have to pay for the camp is awesome," said Cynthia.
 
Camp organizers said one of the activities includes the making of memory boxes to focus on the good times involving those who have been lost, and will always remain a presence in these children's lives.
 
"He is everywhere. He is watching me, and he is in my heart," said Jalyssa.
 
For more information about Camp Lolo, how to get involved, and how to donate click here