Cape Gazette

Camp New Hope helps children with loss

By Dan Cook | Aug 27, 2014
Photo by: Dan Cook Addie Nelson, right, a camper-turned-counselor at Camp New Hope, snags Liam Healey, 7, during a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Camp New Hope, a four-day Delaware Hospice-sponsored day camp, helps children and teens ages 5-16 deal with the loss of a loved one with activities that promote the healing process. This year's theme was Super Heroes are Forever.

Hannah Roney,15, of Millsboro copes with losing her father every day.

"My dad got sick and died of liver failure in March of this year," she said. "It's a lot easier to be around other people who know what I'm going through. I think what has helped me the most is that I hear all the other kids' stories and then you realize that you are not alone. I've made four or five new friends here."

She helps her younger brother, Elijah, cope with the loss by helping him talk about his feelings.

"I try to show him that opening up and talking about it will help him," she said. "He used to keep his feelings in and not talk about it at all. Now he is starting to talk about it."

Camp New Hope allows children to share their grief with peers in a supportive environment. They are led through activities, games and sports activities by trained counselors and volunteers. Campers also enjoy fun activities, like a water slide, to learn how to enjoy life again after their loss.

Each day the counselors make a tunnel of cheer and love as the children exit the buses that bring them to Redden State Forest from around Sussex and Kent counties.

Since its beginning in 1991, more than 3,500 children and teens have been helped by the support of Camp New Hope.

The camp uses counselors, chaplains, nurses and funeral directors to answer questions they may have about grief and loss. They also learn that their many feelings of guilt, anger and sadness are normal, and they help them to cope.

The camp allows participants to express feelings through activities such as art projects, mementos, small-group discussions, equine-assisted therapy and a special presentation to honor loved ones.

Addie Nelson, a Lake Forest student, attended Camp New Hope last year as a camper after going through the grief of losing her father to colon cancer when she was 14, and now she helps the campers deal with their feelings.

"After my dad died I went back to school and all my friends came up to me and said: 'Addie we know how you feel, and what you're going through,' but they didn't. They hadn't lost a parent. Here the kids knew what I was going through, and they shared their stories with me, and I shared mine with them.

"That has helped me as a counselor because I thought about how I was helped and I try to apply that to helping the other children. Just seeing them smile and laugh again is great. I really enjoy being here and giving back the help that I received when I was here," she said.

For more information about Camp New Hope contact


Jaylah Sewell, 5, makes a super hero star for her loved one. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Hannah Roney, 14, left, gets a cool spray by Abby Cunningham, 12, during the water slide activity. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Elijah Roney, 11, of Millsboro, gives loving touch to a horse from Courageous Hearts Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning Center. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Harley Heck, 8, is welcomed by the tunnel of cheer and love as she arrives at camp new Hope. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Jason Sewell, 9, of Lincoln gets an up-close-and-personal look at a frog he caught at the camp. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Liam Healey, 7, makes a hero star for his loved one. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Sean Griffith, left, gives a loving hug to a horse from Courageous Hearts Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning Center. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Delaware Hospice nurse and Camp New Hope counselor Lauren Davis, right, comforts Harley Heck during the morning opening ceremony. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Delaware Hospice nurse and Camp New Hope counselor Lauren Davis gathers her group after the morning song. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
The campers made special memory stars for their loved ones. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Mason Baynard, left, and Elijah Roney walk a Courageous Hearts horse through a feelings walk. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Jaydah Foote, 12, of Dover and Kristina Shelton,13, of Millsboro sing the camp song, "It's a Brand New Day" at the morning ceremony. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Kristina Shelton, 13, walks a Courageous Hearts horse during the walk of feelings. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Counselor Addie Nelson, left, poses with camper Addie Baynard during a lunch break. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Kanaja Kellam, 15, of Ellendale, gets a cooling ride on the water slide. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Chloe Cunningham, 6, makes a memory hero star for her grandfather. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Addie Baynard, 6, draws a picture of her mother. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Counselor Amanda Meade leads the campers in an opening day circle activity. Meade, a MRI tech, uses her vacation time each year to volunteer at Camp New Hope. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Hannah Roney, 14, gets cooled off on the water slide. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
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