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About The Camp

Grieving children often feel very isolated because they rarely know anyone their age who has experienced the death of a family member or someone very close to them.  And their parents - their primary source of emotional support - are

grieving the same death. Jon and Drew Children see their parents sad or crying and fear that, by sharing their own pain with them, they will make their parents even more sad.  So they become protective of their parents and keep their feelings to themselves.  It is critical to a child's well-being that there is someone with whom the child can share the pain and sadness without worrying about needing to protect that individual from their pain.  If these children can find other children their own age who have had a similar experience, they can validate each other's feelings and lessen their own sense of isolation.  They can help heal each other.


Camp Love's Embrace is an overnight camp for children ages 7-14 experiencing grief related to the loss of a loved one ~ mother, father, sibling, grandparent, best friend, or other significant person in their life.  Each child will be paired with a trained, competent, adult "buddy" and will receive the benefits of counseling by qualified, skilled counselors, and fun activities in a beautiful setting. John and Bryce Your child's "buddy" is solely devoted to your child for the weekend, helping them in arts and crafts, playing with them in games, and supporting them during the healing circle times.  The children are given the opportunity to express their grief through art, music, play, circle time, and rituals.  All healing circles are led by therapists.  They are encouraged to talk about the person, share their stories, and embrace the memories of their loved one.  The weekend's activities are all designed to work with how children are known to grieve - in small doses and often in momentous ways during everyday activities.  Each child will make their own "memory album" complete with pictures, memorabilia, stickers, etc., to honor their loved one and their weekend at camp.  All camp volunteers have passed criminal background checks.

Many of the camp's activities are just plain fun.  The camp facilities will allow the children places to play horseshoes, tetherball, shuffle board, sing, play basketball, or spend time meeting with their new friends.

The camp facilities at the Lakota Retreat Center are modern and clean.  There are eighteen spacious bedrooms, each with their own bathroom/shower facilities.  The two "Fireside Room's" provide a beautiful space for some of the group activities and also a place to find peace and relaxation all while overlooking beautiful Lake Shetek.  Meals are eaten together at either the Retreat Center or at the camp's dining hall.  Rain or shine, Camp Love's Embrace is a safe, fun, supportive time for children to continue their journey towards healing.


The weekend closes with a family memorial service and balloon release ceremony.  Each child is required to have a support person (i.e. parent/guardian, grandparent, other family member, etc.) in attendance at this ceremony with them.  It is a very touching, heartfelt, meaningful, and extremely healing time for each person who attends.

Camp Love's Embrace is completely FREE to any child who wishes to attend.  This is in thanks to the generous contributions of many individuals, churches, businesses, and corporations.


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