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Posts tagged: Camp Chmepa

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.

Camp Chmepa for children in grief

Each summer, Hospice of Spokane sponsors a camp for young people grieving the loss of loved ones.

Camp Chmepa will be held this summer July 29-31 at the heavenly Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The camp is for young people between the ages of 7 and 15 who are grieving the death of loved ones. I have known some children who attended this camp and loved it. They combine usual camp fun with more solemn moments, which acknowledge the way children grieve — often in short segments of emotion.

And the camp is free for kids, made possible by donations. Camp applications are being accepted now.

According to the Hospice of Spokane website: “The name of the camp was carefully chosen to represent the overarching goal of the experience. The word chmepa (juh-MEH-peh) is a Spokane Indian word with multiple meanings: a place where two rivers come together to meet, blend and become stronger; a special place of inclusion; and a connecting circle.”

Here's the link for camp information.

Readers who have questions and live in Spokane, Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties can call Hospice of Spokane at (509) 456-0438 for information. Readers who live in North Idaho can call Hospice of North Idaho at (208)772-7994.

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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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