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June 08, 2023  |  News Category: Hospice News

Camp Spinoza social 2023


LAUREL HILL – On Saturday and Sunday, Scotland Regional Hospice held its 28th Camp Spinoza, a grief camp for children. The camp, which takes place each year during the first weekend of June at Monroe Camp and Retreat Center in Laurel Hill, is offered free of charge to children between the ages of 5 and 12 who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one.

“We are excited to collaborate with Camp Spinoza to help these kids,” said Gene Joiner, the Monroe Camp and Retreat Center camp director.  “We want to be able to serve others and are grateful for this opportunity.”

Campers are typically referred to the family support services department of Scotland Regional Hospice by school guidance counselors, church groups or family members and this year’s campers helmed from four area counties.

The weekend of fun and healing began on Saturday morning with registration, introduction to the camp staff (made up primarily of volunteers) and a visit to the cabins before kicking off a long day of activities.  This year, participants enjoyed yoga, swimming, a nature walk, campfire songs, drum circles, arts and crafts and other traditional summer camp activities designed to help the children bond.  Once those connections are established, they also participated in several guided meditation and communication exercises intended to help them cope with the emotional and psychological pain associated with loss.

“Each of the kids that attend Camp Spinoza understand the hurt and pain associated with losing a loved one,” said Tanya Williams, Scotland Regional Hospice director of family services.  “We get them together to have fun, but we also educate them on coping skills. If they want to talk about their experience, they can. If we notice a child seems to need to some extra support, we’ll contact the parent and let them know.”

On Sunday morning, campers enjoyed breakfast and some fellowship time, a morning worship service with family, and Camp Spinoza concluded with its annual butterfly release.

All camp activities were made possible thanks to a donation from the Scotland Memorial Foundation and the work of many generous volunteers.  Rev. Jeanne Baucom led the labyrinth activity as well as assisted Williams with the drum circles.  Sheila Swift provided the crafts, Jacqui Rodriguez of Ease Body Rest Mind provided guided yoga sessions and Noran Sanford contributed his knowledge to the nature walks.

Cyndy Dial, RN and Char Locklear, RN lent their nursing services to the camp in case any medical needs would have occurred.  Volunteer camp counselors were Mary Sandra Taylor, Mira Ward, Tanya Currin, Erica Locklear, Makailyn Locklear, Tracey Locklear, Gerald Jacobs, Josh Peele and Matthew Bourne.  Jonathan Easterlin provided the campfire entertainment and Heydon Ward led the Sunday morning worship service.

Domino’s Pizza of Laurinburg donated lunch to the campers, Kona Ice of the Sandhills stopped by the pool with their truck and generously gave each of the campers and staff members a cool treat and the REaCH BETA Club donated drinks and stuffed bears for the campers to enjoy.  In the evening, the Krazy Kuzzins’ Concession truck was on hand to cook up burgers, hot dogs and other goodies for dinner and the campers ended the long day with s’mores by the campfire.

Each child left Camp Spinoza with new friends, new coping strategies, and a lot of memories. 

For the first time this year, the children’s grief activities will continue beyond Camp Spinoza.  Looking to make youth bereavement education opportunities a more frequent occurrence rather than a once-a-year activity, the Family Services and Marketing departments at Scotland Regional Hospice will be teaming up with the therapeutic horsemanship program at St. Andrews University for a guided activity with the university’s Ride Like A Knight program called “A Day at the Farm”.

The event will take place at St. Andrews from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16.  Like Camp Spinoza, the event will be free of charge to kids between the ages of 5-12 who have recently experienced loss.  Counselors will align coping education with interactions with the horses and other fun activities.  Lunch will be provided.
For information on Camp Spinoza, A Day at the Farm and other services provided by the bereavement department at Scotland Regional Hospice, please call 910-276-7176.