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Hospice plans outdoor camp for children

BARKER – Niagara Hospice will hold its 15th Camp Hope for grieving children June 26–28 at the YMCA’s Camp Kenan in Barker, and it’s looking for volunteers as well as campers.

Volunteers receive training and may choose to help with activities for a few hours or stay the entire weekend. The deadline for volunteer applications is May 22 and training will be held May 30.

Camp Hope is a free camp for children ages 7 to 13 from throughout Western New York who have lost a loved one through death, regardless of whether they ever received hospice care.

Camp Hope is staffed by professional counselors, trained volunteers and a nurse who is on hand for the entire weekend. At Camp Hope, children enjoy activities such as games, arts and crafts, rock climbing, music, swimming, a memorial bonfire and more.

Children talk together about their losses, share thoughts and feelings with other campers, trained volunteers and professional counselors, and come to recognize that grief is a natural response to losing a loved one, organizers say. Together, campers learn positive ways to cope with loss, they learn to help each other, and they learn that they are not alone.

“Registrations for this year’s camp are still coming in,” said Lori Pusateri, director of the camp. “Camp Hope is staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers who return year after year, but we always welcome new volunteers, especially this year, as we are expecting a larger number of campers.”

Men and women 18 years of age and older are encouraged to apply as activities volunteers, and can choose to volunteer for a few hours or for the entire weekend. Volunteers 21 years of age and older also are needed as cabin counselors to stay the entire weekend, including overnight. Experience in the human services field working with children is preferred for the cabin counselor positions.

“Our volunteers must all go through a thorough background check and training that will be held May 30,” Pusateri said.

Volunteer applications are available by visiting the services tab at Potential volunteers also may contact the Niagara Hospice bereavement department at or call 280-0777.

To make a donation, or to sponsor a camper, contact the Niagara Hospice development office at 280-0780.