UW-Green Bay’s Camp Lloyd may have been prevented from hosting the annual in-person camp this summer for grieving kids because of COVID-19, but that didn’t stop founder and director, Prof, Illene Cupit, and more than 30 undergraduate students and five grief counselors from bringing the camp to kids with virtual camp of ongoing videos, designed to bring joy, hope and healing.
Now in its 15th year, Camp Lloyd is a camp for kids 7-14 years of age, who have lost a parent or sibling. Normally, kids come to UW-Green Bay’s beautiful campus for a week in June to spend time with others kids, undergraduate students (called buddies) and grief counselors. The mission of the camp is to help mourning kids explore their feelings in a safe environment, while understanding that they are not alone, that they have people who love and support them, and that there are other kids who are also grieving over the deaths of someone they love. For one healing and hopeful week, kids grieve and play together.
Said Cupit, “We decided that we couldn’t let these grieving kids go unsupported, so we created virtual Camp Lloyd. Every day we posted a variety of videos kids and parents can now visit anytime to meet our wonderful buddies and grief counselors, who worked hard all year to design and prepare activities, crafts, coping exercises and other information to help kids process their feelings of loss in safe and nurturing ways.”
Led by the camp’s Head Grief Counselor, Kaelee Heideman (a graduate of UW-Green Bay and former Head Buddy), the grief counselors prepared a series of videos providing advice and coping strategies for the kids. In addition, two Head Buddies, Delaney and Ashton, provided adults with resources.
Virtual Camp Lloyd is now available on the Camp Lloyd website. More than 20 videos are featured, covering topics of fun, food, creativity and contemplation. Each video is introduced by Cupit, a buddy or a grief counselor and runs 3-5 minutes in length.
Camp Lloyd hopes to return in-person next year to celebrate their sixteenth anniversary, but meanwhile virtual camp is available for kids and parents in need, a free and accessible space for kids to grieve and play together.