Home Lifestyle Camp Spinoza helps children with grief and loss

Camp Spinoza helps children with grief and loss

Scotland Regional Hospice

LAUREL HILL — On Saturday, Scotland Regional Hospice held its 27th annual Camp Spinoza, a grief camp for children and teens. The camp, which takes place each year at Monroe Camp and Retreat Center in Laurel Hill, is offered free of charge to children between the ages of 5 and 15 who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one.

Like many community events in 2020, event leaders were forced to cancel Camp Spinoza last summer due to COVID-19 safety protocols.  In an effort to continue to provide participants with a safe, fun, and healing experience, Scotland Regional Hospice shortened its traditional overnight camp to a single day affair.

Camp Spinoza is designed to help the children find comfort and healing by sharing their feelings about their loss with others who are dealing with the same emotions. It does this by creating an environment where campers bond over traditional camp activities. The trained counsellors then use those connections to encourage communication between the children.

“The goal of Camp Spinoza is to help children understand that they have a support system,” says Tanya Williams, Scotland Regional Hospice director of family support services. “For nearly three decades, we have been bringing together young grievers in a relaxing environment where they can sort through their emotions and be with others their age who are experiencing the same thing.”

This year, participants enjoyed the ropes course, yoga, swimming, a nature walk, campfire songs, and other activities. The children also participated in several guided meditation and communication exercises intended to help them cope with the emotional and psychological pain associated with loss. 


“The campers were engaged and had a lot of fun,” Williams continued. “Each of them — even the shy ones — were able to open up some and identify and share feelings of loss.”

The daylong camp concluded with all staff and campers coming together on the Monroe Mill Pond pier for a butterfly release to remember all of the loved ones lost by the campers and their families.

Each child left Camp Spinoza with new friends, new coping strategies, and a lot of memories. Build-A-Bear also generously donated a stuffed animal to each camper.

For years, Camp Spinoza has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the Scotland Memorial Foundation and the participation of dozens of community volunteers. For information on Camp Spinoza and other services provided by the bereavement department at Scotland Regional Hospice, call 910-276-7176.