Camp Lighthouse is a two-day camp for children and teens dealing with the loss of a loved one. Trained professionals and volunteers help children and their families explore issues related to grief, walking beside them as they take the steps needed to heal.
The camp is for children from kindergarten through teens and young adults who have experienced the death of a close family member or loved one in the past two years. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are also encouraged to participate in their own adult group.
Dates and Locations
Hampton Roads - Peninsula
Saturday and Sunday, March 2 - 3, 2024
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day
Jamestown 4-H Educational Center
3751 4-H Club Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hampton Roads - Southside
Saturday and Sunday, October 14 - 15, 2023
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day
Triple R Ranch
3531 Bunch Walnuts Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Future date to be announced.
Hampton Roads - Southside: 757-553-3330
Hampton Roads - Peninsula: 757-736-0709
What activities will take place during the two-day camp?
In addition to a fun-packed weekend of team-building games, crafts, making of memory boxes, music therapy and archery, children will be encouraged to discuss their grief in small group sessions. They'll see Camp Lighthouse as a place where they can open up, where they can see they're not alone, where they don't have to feel different. The camp's activities conclude with a special memorial service for the children and their families. Families leave with new tools to help them cope.
Who organizes the camp?
The camp is organized by Sentara Hospice Services. Camp Lighthouse helps children, teens and families of the community and not necessarily those of hospice. This camp is open to anyone who has lost a family member or friend within the last two years.
Who will be leading the camp?
Camp Lighthouse is facilitated by trained professionals and volunteers from Sentara Hospice Services, Sentara Home Care Services, Sentara Healthcare, and from the community who will provide a safe environment for the children.
How can I help?
Volunteers are needed to help make the camp successful. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Volunteer Interest form located above. Depending on the volunteer role at Camp Lighthouse, there will be varying lengths of training, up to all-day for those working directly with campers.
Where did the idea of a "camp for grieving children" originate?
Similar camps have been held all over the country in an effort to help children dealing with grief and help them understand that they are no different from other children. This is the only two-day camp in the Greater Hampton Roads and Peninsula areas.
Why the name "Camp Lighthouse?"
The camp's name comes from a real-life story of a former hospice patient by the name of Cheryl, who had a 14-year-old daughter. For numerous years, she had saved many of her daughter's clothes and planned to make a quilt to give her daughter on her wedding day. Cancer got in the way.
As Cheryl was dying, a Sentara hospice nurse listened to her talk about her dream and offered to work with volunteers in making the quilt a reality. They immediately said yes and started their work on what would be a special gift. She was able to use the last energy of her life designing the quilt for her beloved daughter. Cheryl died knowing volunteers would finish the work she had started. The design Cheryl had picked out for her quilt was of a huge lighthouse.
As a result of their work with thousands of families, the Sentara hospice staff developed Camp Lighthouse to help children dealing with their grief. Camp Lighthouse is dedicated to people like Cheryl and her daughter.
How is the camp funded?
Camp Lighthouse is partially funded by donations from the community and local businesses.
Where can I send donations?
A camp like this requires caring people like you who are willing to provide funding. Your financial support will help with the cost of a camper's stay, including meals, art supplies and additional training for volunteers. Your help in making this camp a success will sustain the program for years to come.
For the Hampton Roads area, please donate online (on dropdown list of funds, choose "Hospice" then "Camp Lighthouse") or make check payable to The Sentara Foundation - Hampton Roads (write "Camp Lighthouse" in the memo line), and send to:
The Sentara Foundation - Hampton Roads
6015 Poplar Hall Drive, Suite 308
Norfolk, VA 23502
For the Harrisonburg area, please make checks payable to The RMH Foundation (write "for Camp Lighthouse" in the memo line), and send to:
The RMH Foundation
2010 Health Campus Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Visa and MasterCard are also accepted.