Camp Rainbow: Back in full effect and with some special guests today
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Maybe you recognize a few of these faces? The three teens are previous Rainbow Kidz Pediatric Grief Program campers. If you’ve never heard of Camp Rainbow, in Statesville, it’s a beautiful concept. The camp for kids is run by Hospice of Iredell County.
In this photo is Ben Fuhrman (left), Dharma Edwards (back), Wyatt Roper (back right), current Rainbow Kidz grief counselor Meredith Fleming (also a past camper) and in front, Leigh Ann Feimster Darty, the program director.
Before going into the special role those pictured here played, you have to first understand this unique camp. It’s set up for local kids -- some as young as six years old -- who lost someone. Many are family members or siblings who died of cancer, but it can include other losses as well. The camp is free, and helps teach the campers about grief, owning your feelings, finding others who understand, and encouraging positive ways to keep going. All while having fun (equine and pet therapy, karate, sports, etc), doing crafts, and making friends.
The summer camp has been around for years. Leigh Ann is passionate about how it helps kids in almost indescribable ways.
The camp started last week, with 33 kids. Today, 24 more -- this week it’s all middle and high schoolers -- started a second week.
“The three teens you see in this picture came back to share their experiences,” Leigh Ann said. “Dharma, as you know, is the sister of Dalton Edwards, one of your longtime #MollysKids. Ben’s uncle died of suicide. And Wyatt and Seth Roper (not pictured) had their dad die of cancer two years ago. It warms my heart that this group wanted to return here to share their own journeys to help others.”
That is not an easy thing to do, for any age. But is remarkable. Dharma just graduated high school and the other boys who came back to talk are currently in high school.
Lots of activities in the camp but all are aimed at getting kids to connect with others and voice their fears... whether it’s about death... money... or family love. Twenty of the 33 kids last week had experienced sudden traumatic loss. Some losing some to suicide... some to a car accident.
“Our camp teaches that it’s okay to talk about feelings,” Leigh Ann said. “Camp Rainbow is a place where it’s safe for children to grieve and know others understand.”
For more on Rainbow Kidz, go to >> www.HOIC.org.
Just wanted to share. Leigh Ann emailed today and her pride burst through the computer. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child you think could benefit from this camp and want specific information you can’t find on that website, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I can forward your note to Leigh Ann for you. Just put in the subject line “Rainbow Kidz.”
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