Camp Rainbow of hope celebrates 20 years of healing

OSWEGO - The Friends of Oswego County Hospice hosted the 20th Annual Camp Rainbow of Hope at Camp Hollis in August. This three day, overnight camp is offered to children that have experienced the loss of a loved one. Throughout their time at camp, the campers and big buddies learn how to cope with grief and the complex emotions that accompany their loss. They are also able to take part in fun summer camp activities such as creating skits, completing challenge courses, going swimming and creating lasting friendships that are formed in just three short days.

The Big Buddies (age 14-20) and Big Buddies in Training (age 12-13) arrive on Sunday for training and an evening preparing for the campers (age seven-12) to arrive. On Monday, the campers arrive and receive a shirt they will later tie-dye, a water bottle and an afghan. The schedule is packed and after they put their things in their cabins, they are off to their first activity. Throughout the three days and two nights at camp they will take part in healing circles that will assist them in communicating about their loss and provide them with tools to use long after camp is over. Tuesday is also a very full day full of fun and healing. On Wednesday the children take part in an emotional closing ceremony that includes a butterfly release. This camp brings out every possible emotion throughout the three days, but it always ends with happiness and fun. This year even more so, the kids worked hard with the help of Rikki, our healing circle facilitator/dance instructor, to learn a flash mob dance to perform for the parents and guardians when they arrived for the barbecue and to pick up the campers on the last day.

This camp is free for every child that attends and is paid for by the Friends of Hospice with assistance from the Greater Pulaski Community Endowment Fund, the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services mini-grant program and the Oswego Wing-Walk. This camp would not be possible without all of the sponsors, donors and volunteers involved.

“Camp Rainbow of Hope has been a blessing to so many children over the last 20 years and we look forward to seeing it continue for many more years to come,” said Elena Twiss, Friends of Hospice Executive Director.

Sponsors: The Greater Pulaski Community Endowment Fund, The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services mini-grant program.

The Wing- Walk Sponsors and Organizers: Eric Enright, Shandon O’Connor, Vaishali Willis, Novelis, Pathfinder Bank, Eagle Beverage and Bosco’s Meats.

Camp Rainbow of Hope Committee: Betty Dunsmoor, LMSW, Camp Rainbow Director; Ashley Lawton, Lead Healing Circle Facilitator from integrative Counseling Services; Donna DuBois-Taylor, Camp Nurse; Diddy Malone, Lead Fun Facilitator; Zach Grulich, Camp Hollis Director; and Elena Twiss and Chris O’Connor, Friends of Hospice Staff.

Donors and Volunteers: Joann Loci- Blessed Reiki Bears; Volunteers- Afghans for Campers; Lianne Benedict- Mindfulness; Bonnie Savage, Becky Miller and Pete Hagan- Tie Dyes; Geoff Baer- Closing Ceremony; Brian Taylor, Chris O’Connor and Tom & Nancy Gunn- Kitchen; Healing Circle Facilitators; Fun Facilitators; Big Buddies and Big Buddies in Training; Hospice Volunteers; Hospice Staff and Friends of Oswego County Hospice Board of Directors.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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