By Mike Conroy. CREATED Jun 25, 2014
GREEN BAY, Wis --An area camp is helping kids heal through play. Camp Lloyd was started by UW-Green Bay Professor Illene Cupit in 2006. The goal of the camp is to give kids a dealing with the loss of loved one a chance to put aside their worries and fears and just be a kid again
"A lot of times they are just this bundle of emotions," said Cupit. She says kids who have experienced a tragic loss often feel isolated, sad and angry.
"They come to this camp and realize that there are other kids feeling the same thing and then they don't feel so weird," said Cupit. The week long camp uses a variety of activities to teach kids how to open up about what happened and who they lost.
13-year-old Sasha Sliwinski's is attending camp for the second summer. Her mom passed away from pancreatic cancer three year ago. At camp Sasha mad a memory box to hold pictures and momentous that remind her of her mom. "When you're feeling down, it just helps you back up," said Slinwinski.
Cupit say its small things, like a memory box or letter to a loved one, that help kids learn to deal with their feelings and move beyond grief. "By the end of the week, They have a tool box they can draw on to help them to cope with their feelings and emotions that will linger for a long time," said Cupit.
Each of the 30 kids at camp has a 'big buddy' that becomes their confidant. The 'big buddy' a college student at UW-Green Bay goes to the activities and eats lunch with the child. Cupit says it's an emotional journey for both the kid and 'buddy.'