Hansen says information is sent to schools, funeral homes, other hospice organizations, hospitals, and just everywhere where kids can be reached. She describes the camp as both exhausting and exhilarating. Hansen said she loves the honesty of the kids who express themselves and even make friendships. She spoke about a camp highlight where the children led by a music therapist have an opportunity to write a camp song over three days and about masks that are decorated by campers to demonstrate how they feel on the inside and how they portray themselves to the world.
In addition to participating in camp activities like arts and crafts, games, group activities with a counseling-based curriculum, the children are given a comfortable space to share their grief with the help of professionals and trained volunteers.
“As adults, we know that people die and other people are grieving [and] experiencing this— so it’s a universal thing. Children don’t know that other kids are feeling these things too. And children don’t have the same verbal processing skills that adults do, so they express themselves through art, and music and play. So all of our sessions focus on that— giving the children appropriate and healthy ways to channel those emotions and to learn how to cope with them,” Hansen said.
On the second day of the camp the parents were invited to participate in a full day session designed to help them understand where their kids are developmentally in the grieving process and provides them with the tools to be able to help and support their children when they return home.
Camp Kangaroo is typically held over the President’s Day Weekend. To learn more about the camp or to submit an online an application, visit: www.seasonsfoundation.org and look for the "What We Fund" section, then find "Camp Kangaroo" under Maryland.