Murray County News
Camp Love's Embrace
Slayton Area Women of Today donated $750.00 to Camp Love's Embrace.
On hand to receive the check was founder and chairperson of
Board of Directors, Whitney Buesgens. Left to right were,
Harmsen, Kari Schreier, Carla Goedke, Linda Sanow, Buesgens, Amy
Ruppert, Sue Schreier, and Shelly Lewis.
Giving children a chance to grieve
By JoAnn Biren
Whitney Buesgens, a
sophomore at Murray County Central, was only too
happy to talk about a project that she was inspired to bring to this
Camp Love's Embrace,
Buesgens explained, basically came to her when she
saw Katie Couric on The Today Show talk about such a camp on the east
coast that helped children who suffered the loss of loved ones, a
direct result of the 9-11 bombings.
There was a problem though,
once Buesgens started to delve into finding
information on how to start such a camp here in southwest Minnesota.
"We would have had to pay a
lot of money to become affiliated," she
said between classes on Monday. "I decided I thought I could
start my own camp."
Start it she did.
The idea took root when Buesgens approached
others in the community and the idea took on a life of its own, soon to
open this spring as Camp Love's Embrace at Shetek Lutheran Ministries
on Lake Shetek.
"Camp Love's Embrace,"
Buesgens explained, "is an overnight camp for
children ages 6-14 experiencing grief related to the loss of a loved
one." The camp will focus on the children in the tri-state
of Minnesota, South Dakota, and northern Iowa.
This camp is going to be
free, because according to Buesgens, children should not have to be
turned away because of the cost.
Geared to children from six
to 14, Buesgens already is watching the
camp come together. She, along with a board of directors who
include Buesgens, the camp founder and President of the organization;
Sally Berg, elementary school principal is the Vice President; Janet
Voges, chief cashier at Minnwest Bank South is the treasurer; Greg
Wasberg, a licensed family therapist with Southwestern Mental Health;
Marti Engelkes, a licensed social worker at Hospice of Murray County;
and Jackie Lanoue, a licensed social worker with Nobles County.
"I asked certain people if
they would like to help," Buesgens said,
"and, it just grew. It is starting to come together now."
According to Buesgens, the
camp will be using a big brother-big sister
concept, with an older person acting one on one with a grieving camper.
Each camper's mentor will be at least 19 years of age and
have a criminal background check coordinated by the Murray County
Come together might just be
an understatement. The camp is set for the first campers on
May 3 and 4.
"Children will be given the
opportunity to express their grief through
art, music, play, and healing time," Buesgens said. "They are
encouraged to talk about the person they have lost, and share stories
of their loved one."
Greg Wasberg, one of the
board members said it was easy to say yes to
Buesgens when she called and asked for his involvement. "It
sounded like such a good idea, a good program," he said.
He admits that this is an
enormous undertaking for a sophomore in high
school, but that Buesgens has done her homework. "This is a
task," he said, "but she (Buesgens) has handled it quite
is ready to go, judging by the amount of work put into it up front," he
"There is clearly a demand
for this type of program," Wasberg went on.
"Whitney and the other board members have put a lot of work
this and I am just riding on the coat tails of everyone else."
The program is set.
Camp Love's Embrace is ready for the first of the campers
For more information,
contact Buesgens at Camp Love's Embrace