JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health will host a camp dedicated to helping grieving children.

Camp Firefly will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Warriors’ Path State Park in Kingsport.

The goal of the event is to help children and teenagers who have experienced the death of a loved one.

“If someone’s old enough to love, they’re old enough to grieve,” Sarah Hale, volunteer and bereavement coordinator for Ballad Health Hospice, said in a release. “Grieving can be an isolating experience, and this camp provides a safe and supportive environment for young people to come together, share their stories and find hope and healing.”

Ballad said the camp will provide a “safe, fun, and caring atmosphere” where campers and their families can:

  • Develop an age-appropriate understanding of death
  • Form relationships with peers who have experienced similar losses
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduce feelings of isolation
  • Strengthen coping skills

The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children will be accompanied by trained volunteers as they participate in activities led by social workers, counselors, and nurses.

“We have one-on-one and group sessions; we have quiet times that allow for reflection and busy times with vigorous activities,” Hale said. “But everything we do has the intention of helping kids cope with their grief.”

Lunch will be provided and the day will conclude with a memorial ceremony.

The camp is free and open to children 4–17 years old. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend. Separate sessions for adults will be held to help them respond to their child’s grief.

Pre-registration for the camp ends on Sept. 22 but day-of registrations will be accepted as space allows, according to Ballad.

More information can be found online or by contacting Ballad Health Hospice at 423-431-6146.