201585 Camp Coho: A Grief Camp Model for Special Populations

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:50 PM

Linda Harrigan, MS , Camp Sunshine, Hospice of Charles County, Welcome, MD
Christine DeCourtney, MPA , Department of Clinical Services, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Karen Morgan, BA , Department of Clinical Services, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Introduction: Alaska Native children living in remote communities do not have access to cancer support resources generally available in less remote settings. There are few cancer support programs for children that incorporate cultural values. Camp Coho is a one-day camp that helps Alaska Native children ages 612 years better understand and share their feelings about losing a loved one. Camp Coho provides activities based on national standards to support children who have lost someone close to them. The camp honors the child's culture and incorporates cultural values. Campers learn healthy ways to remember the person and better understand their own feelings of loss. Methods: A Camp Coho planning committee was established. Staff identified 20 Alaska Native children, ages 6-12 years to attend Camp Coho. A quantitative and qualitative evaluation was developed, with debriefing of staff and Big Buddies at the day's end to share observations. The project involved tribal, for-profit, volunteer and non-profit organizations. Results: Through observations by staff and written evaluations completed by the campers and Big Buddies, camper participation and openness in sharing increased as the day's activities progressed. Follow-up mailed evaluations completed by parents indicated the positive impact of Camp Coho continued in their home community. Conclusions: Camp Coho was piloted in March 31, 2007, and demonstrates that one-day grief camps can be an effective grief support resource when standard resources are not available. An instruction manual has been developed for camp implementation. The Camp Coho model can be adapted and implemented by other special populations.

Learning Objectives:
Design tools to bridge geographic barriers to access children's grief support resources. Identify core components of a standard grief support resource for children to fit special population needs.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the co-organizer of the Camp Coho grief camp.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.