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Camp Chmepa helps kids in grief

Kids can do grief much differently than adults. They cannot sit with their sadness too long. And play is essential to their healing.

For several summers now, Hospice of Spokane has offered free camp for children ages 7 to 15 who have lost a loved one. They gather for two days at a camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

“While at camp, kids are busy with activities like swimming, basketball and crafts, as well as finding new, creative ways to remember their loved ones. Many campers make lasting friendships, giving them a support network that lasts long after camp ends. And all campers have the powerful realization that they are not alone in their grief. Most of the kids at Camp Chmepa have experienced an unexpected (traumatic or sudden death) of a loved one,” explained Dale Hammond of Hospice.

The camp this year will be held July 27 to 29, but applications are due soon.

To apply, call 509-456-0438 or go to and click on the Camp Chmepa button. There is no fee to attend camp, but space is limited.

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at

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