Death and Dying
3:52 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

'Camp Lloyd' Helps Grieving Kids Process Loss

As we've explored so far in our death and dying in the 21st century series, adults, frankly, don't like to talk about dying. So it comes as no surprise then that most adults avoid the topic of death with children - perhaps even going so far as to think kids don't know what death is.

Camp Lloyd's big buddies and little buddies on a trip to Bay Beach amusement park.
Credit Photo courtesy of Camp Lloyd

That's only true for children up to around age 3. By age 6, kids get that someone who dies isn't coming back and only a few years later, come to understand that death is universal. Sadly, some children learn about death by experience - through the loss of a loved one, a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend.

Not surprisingly perhaps, the way children grieve is quite different from how adults handle a loss. Yet Dr. Illene Cupit says there are often few resources targeted specifically to teaching kids about how to handle their grief. Cupit is a Human Development professor and founder of the the Institute of Dying, Death, and Bereavement at UW-Green Bay. She's also the president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the founder and director of a week-long summer day camp for grieving children called "Camp Lloyd."
 

Founder of Camp Lloyd, Dr. Illene Cupit gives a presentation on how children grieve.

What started in 2006 with less than a dozen kids, this past summer boasted nearly two dozen college student counselors and five grief therapists and served about 50 kids. Cupit says the growth in the program shows how much need there is for help with children who have experienced the death of a loved one. She tells Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci why a camp like this is so important for grieving children.