What is Camp Compass?
Camp Compass is Four Seasons’ grief camp for those ages 5-15 anticipating or experiencing the death of a loved one. This year, Camp Compass was held at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, North Carolina. Among the attendees, campers had experienced the death of parents, grandparents, siblings, and other close family members. Camp Compass activities encouraged support for one another through peer connections and taught skills to help the campers talk about and process their grief.
Following the morning sign-in and drop-off, campers gathered for a welcome and introductions as they each shared their name and an animal with the same letter of their first name. From there, campers moved throughout the day in small groups by age: 5- to 9-year-olds with Compass Coordinator Amy, better known as Aardvark Amy, and 10- to 12-year-olds with Compass Coordinator Jay, better known as Jellyfish Jay. In small group time, campers began to establish relationships and find connections with one another through an object grab ice breaker and the creation of memory lanterns in memory of their loved one who died and in honor of their grief journey.
Campers were equipped with creative tools for expressing and coping with their grief during music therapy, yoga, clay, and mixed martial arts. They gathered as a large group for the opportunity to share a photo or object related to their deceased loved one. Campers returned to small groups with their Compass Coordinators for storytelling – listening to a story about grief, relating the story to their own journey, and telling their own stories through writing, drawing, coloring, and sharing.
The day concluded with parents and guardians gathering for a closing ceremony, which included a time of reflection, lighting of the memory lanterns, and a final activity as campers were invited to choose a colored stone that represented themselves. They gave each of their fellow campers one of their stones to symbolize togetherness on their individual grief journeys. Grief resources and education were available to parents and guardians during this time.
Camp Compass is offered at no cost to the participants, thanks to generous donations from the community. We are thankful for our partners, including Shay & Company and Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Horizon Air & Heating, and the specialists that offered their expertise and knowledge as part of the event.