This summer, Moorestown Visiting Nurse Association will present Camp Firefly for grieving children at YMCA of the Pines (formerly known as Camp Ockanickon), Medford NJ. This weekend-long overnight camp will begin on the morning of Saturday, August 24, and conclude on Sunday, August 25, 2019.
The overnight camp is free, and open to Burlington, Camden and Gloucester county children ages 7 to 14 who have lost a parent, sibling or any special person through death and are seeking support to guidance in coping with grief.
Campers spend the weekend in a caring, nurturing environment with The Hospice of Moorestown VNA’s team of grief professionals and volunteer counselors, as well as peers who have experienced a similar loss. Traditional camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, arts & crafts and cookouts are combined with specialized bereavement activities designed to help the children overcome their bereavement and to cope with the loss of their loved one. In one particularly intense and moving activity, the children design and build small boats containing mementos of their loved one. After dark, the children say goodbye as these boats are individually candle-lit and launched from the shores of the campsite’s lake.
2019 marks the 14th year of Camp Firefly. To date, nearly 600 local children have benefited from attending the camp. Applications to attend in 2019 are currently being accepted.
Additionally, volunteer counselors ages 16 and up are being sought to assist during the camp. Adult volunteer counselors will stay at the camp during the entire weekend, including overnight, and will participate in all activities with an assigned group of children. Junior counselors, ages 16 to 20 are also being sought to help out on-site during the daytime hours of the camp. Younger volunteers, ages 14 and up, may choose to support bereaved children by working in the offices of Moorestown VNA, helping with a fundraising bake sale or preparing materials for the camp weekend. Appropriate training will be provided for all volunteers. Those interested should call the Volunteer Department, at (856) 552-1300, ext. 2165.
Camp Firefly provides a place to remember lost loved ones, and a place to heal. The camp is funded through generous donations from the community. This year’s major donors include: The Stewart Family Foundation, Holman Enterprises, The Ellis Family Charitable Foundation, The John E. Kostic Memorial Foundation and Moorestown Rotary Charities. For an application and complete information about attending Camp Firefly, or other available bereavement support services, contact Moorestown Visiting Nurse Association.
Moorestown Visiting Nurses & Hospice also provides a regular offering of grief support groups held in Moorestown. These groups are available in both afternoon and evening sessions for adults. A children’s art therapy group and a group addressing the specific concerns of the LGBTQI community are also currently available. Groups may be joined at any time and are free to attend. Pre-registration is required.