State of the Heart Hospice’s 12th annual Camp BEARable for grieving children recorded the nonprofit agency’s largest number in attendance at the camp which was held July 13-15 at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein. Sixty-four young people attended the camp which is free and is open to any youth needing help dealing with grief.
“In the years since the camp has been in existence 484 youth have attended and benefited from the experience at camp,” stated Marlene Black, State of the Heart Bereavement Specialist and camp director. The camp is open to any youth, age six to 15 and there need be no association with hospice care.
“We had young people in attendance that had lost siblings or parents to suicide and homicide, and parents and grandparents who had died in auto accidents or natural death,” Black explained. “Of the 64 attending, only seven had any association with hospice care,” she pointed out.
Black said that this year’s camp with a record number presented State of the Heart staff with the challenge of finding enough specially trained adult buddies for all of the youth. “The week before camp, we had 14 young people sign up. Fortunately, many of our State of the Heart staff came forward and volunteered to help as buddies. This was a tremendous show of support for the youth and the camp experience.”
A popular annual attraction for the young people is a display of cars from Forts Street Car Classics Club from Fort Recovery. This year, the car club not only brought cars to camp for the youngsters to look at and even ride in, the club also donated $300 to Camp BEARable.
On hand to present the check to Ted Bauer, executive director of State of the Heart was Jack Jutte, president of the car club and a long-time supporter of the camp. Sadly, Jutte died the following week.
“He really enjoyed the camp and bringing the cars,” stated Black. “Even though he was not feeling well, he felt it was important enough to attend the camp. He felt strongly about helping kids. That was just the kind of man he was; he was always there to help and was a very caring individual.”
Camp BEARable provides a safe environment for the young people, Black explained. “They are there with their peers and with adults they trust. For many, it is the first time they have opened up about how they feel about the loss of a loved one.”
She added, “The youth leave camp having learned things that will help them for the rest of their lives. While they may not realize it at the time, they are learning valuable coping skills.”
Bauer attended the camp for the first time and was a buddy to two young teens. “I experienced firsthand the value of camp and the great resource it is for our community,” he said. “We are definitely committed to continuing camp and helping young people who need help dealing with grief and loss.” Next year’s camp is set for July 12-14. For more information about Camp BEARable, visit www.stateoftheheartcare.org/grief/camp-bearable
State of the Heart Hospice cares for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life-limiting illness. Bereavement support, which is free to anyone who needs the service, is an important part of the service provided. The agency has offices in Greenville, Coldwater and Portland. For more information about any of the services provided by State of the Heart, call 1-800-417-7535 or visit the web site at www.stateoftheheartcare.org.
Pictured at Camp BEARable is Ted Bauer, left, executive director for State of the Heart, and the late Jack Jutte, president of the Forts Street Car Classics car club.