This past weekend, the folks of Frederick County’s hospice program hosted Camp Jamie at our farm. This camp is a yearly one-day grief camp for local children who have lost someone close to them. The day was jam-packed full of healing experiences for the children, who ranged in age from 7 to 18. The children all got a chance to love each of our horses, goats, chickens, and cows. In the group, there was an eight-year-old girl who ended up being quite the talented chicken catcher. She picked up a great many of our hens and roosters, too!
In other moments on their day, the children crafted masks to explore their inner and outer emotions. The face of the mask reflected what they feel that they are putting out into the world, while the interior of the mask was meant to represent their inner emotions. To elaborate on these feelings, our circle of dawn redwood trees in the arboretum provided sanctuary for the sharing circle, in which the children had the chance to share their experience with grief and to hear that they are certainly not alone in feeling this way.
Afterward, we all took a hike down our Coffee Hollow trail, ending up at our stream, where the kids selected rocks to bring back with them. Gathering together afterward in the pavilion to rest, they all painted their rocks in tribute to the person they lost. While this was going on, the families of these children had arrived in the homestead barn to create their own masks, which they later shared with their children around our willow pond.
The day ended with a catered dinner in the homestead barn, after which the campers and their families made ceremonial pouches, filled with a prayer and herbs to cast into our fire pit during the remembrance ceremony. The night ended here with everyone making s’mores and strolling back to their cars in the starry evening.