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‘Camp Courage’ Kids Learn Healing Through Art


The loss of a loved one can be tough on anyone, especially for a young child.

But this week, a program in Bend is showing Central Oregon kids how to heal through expression and art.

Nine-year-old Nicholas is one of the 35 kids attending “Camp Courage” this summer. He lost an aunt and grandma last year, and playing the guitar is his way of expressing himself.

“The music just makes me feel a lot better, and it makes me feel like they’re still here with me,” Nicholas said Wednesday.

The week-long summer program for kids ages 8-14 serves as a place for those who have lost a loved one to learn to heal.

“A loss is very hard and for kids,” said counselor Eileen Grover. “It’s hard to express, and it’s hard to feel normal. And so when you have someone close die, you feel like you’ve changed, but you haven’t changed on the outside.”

“And when everyone goes back to their world of their normal living, this provides them with a place that their still working through that grief piece,” Grover added.

Counselors, local artists and volunteers help children express their grief through music, art, and expression.

“This is my Uncle Travis, showing what he would look like if he was on a horse, because he was a cowboy,” said 6-year-old Tucker. “And it makes me feel better, now that I’m at Camp Courage.”

“This is my mom’s dad,” said 6-year-old Olivia. “He died a very long time ago, because he got old. And I made it for my mom, because she misses her dad a lot.”

In it’s fourth year, Camp Courage is a program that many kids have benefited from, and some who have been in the program before are now back to help.

“First time I went through this, not this but the experience of losing someone, I was completely alone,” said Taylor a camp counselor who previously attended the camp. “So I really don’t want anyone to ever go through that again.”

Kids like 9-year-old Nicholas won’t have to go through it alone.

“It makes me feel like I’m just with lots of friends,” he said. “And never had this many friends before.”

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