Camp Good Grief is unlike any camp experience you've ever heard of. It's a day for children who have lost loved ones and friends to come together and work through their grief in a safe place where everyone understands. Whether they lost their loved one year ago or two months before camp, every child is welcomed with opened arms to the Opelika SportsPlex for an all-day, Saturday camp.
Camp Good Grief is a day full of activities to help children work through their grief among peers of the same age group who are going through a similar situation in losing someone they love. Games and activities centered around honoring their loved ones who have passed truly make Camp Good Grief an experience like no other for children experiencing something as life-altering as losing someone important to them.
Children and teenagers 5-17 are grouped out and divided into teams. Each group has anywhere from 5-7 counselors, which are majorly composed of past and present students of Auburn University's Social Work program and caring volunteers of the Auburn area. Each activity of camp is mapped out before the children get there and the counselors anxiously await for their campers to arrive early on Saturday morning every year.
Along with special crafts to memorialize their loved ones, children are invited to share their thoughts on how grief is affecting their lives through different activities like obstacles courses and question games that let them choose what to open up about if they want to.
It is a no pressure zone where children can be surrounded by people their age that get what they're going through in the midst of living everyday life in school. Sometimes daily life is still difficult after the death of a loved one and Camp Good Grief creates an environment to allow kids to feel normal about missing the one who has passed.
For a few years now, Auburn athletes have made appearances during lunch to say hello to campers and sign autographs. This year, three Auburn basketball players showed up and stayed awhile with, by far, the happiest kids on the planet for those couple hours.
Danjel Purifoy, Anfernee McLemore and Jared Harper along with Aubie visited Camp Good Grief April 1st. Signing t-shirts and handing out bracelets and pencils kept them busy as they made 100 new friends. Purifoy even got his face painted to match some of his new camper pals. Campers lined up to try and reach McLemore's hand in a jump competition.
Aubie 'pawsed' to take pictures and sign t-shirts of some of his biggest fans at camp. Having these guests come out meant so much to kids of every age group. From the tiny five-year-olds who had no clue who the players were to the 17-year-olds dreaming of following in their footsteps to Auburn, every camper smiled when they saw the boys and Aubie get out of their car and head toward them at lunch.
Auburn University students in the Social Work program as well as anyone interested in volunteering their time for these amazing children for one day of the year, please check out more information here.
Camp Good Grief will come back around next year for its 14th annual camp. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being part of this great day!
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