Objective: Research indicates that children benefit from
supportive interventions to help them cope with the loss of a loved one.
The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate children's perceptions of
the effectiveness of a grief camp.
Methods: Semistructured interviews were performed with 18
children who attended a weekend-long grief camp. Children also responded
to follow-up interviews via telephone. Their parents also completed
surveys before camp began and either after camp ended or at a follow-up
evaluation. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content
coding to uncover key themes in the interviews.
Results: Children reported that art activities helped them to
express feelings about their grief and release feelings of sadness and
worry related to the death. Parents and children felt that the camp was a
positive experience and that the children benefited from being in groups
with peers who had also lost family members.
Significance of results: Evaluating the impact of grief
camps, using practical methods such as the ones for this study, is
important, as these camps are becoming more popular interventions.
Children and parents may benefit from contact at specified follow-up
periods after camp to determine if they would benefit from further
therapy. Results also provide evidence of the success of this program,
which supports the need for funding these types of interventions.