RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Comfort Zone Camp is now providing online programming for people of different ages dealing with loss during the coronavirus outbreak.
Comfort Zone Camp is a Richmond-based a bereavement camp that traditionally works with children who have experienced the death of a family member. Lynne Hughes, founder and CEO, said the group has provided free weekend camps around the country for 21 years.
The program normally functions like any other camp with bonfires and s’mores, but with some grief counseling peppered in.
Callee Miller, a camper turned staff member, said she got involved with the group when she was 8 years old after losing both of her parents a year apart.
“It got me through a really difficult time in my life and every year I was able to attend I did… And as soon as I saw the job opening, I jumped at it because why not give back to an organization that gave so much to me,” Miller said.
However, the coronavirus outbreak disrupted the world — including Comfort Zone Camp.
“When this happened we obviously had a calendar full of camps and we were looking at the situation like ‘what can we do now?'” said Hughes. “So we’ve been hard at work and created some virtual camps and we’re in the process of rolling that out on a bigger scale.”
This Saturday, Comfort Zone is holding a two-hour virtual camp Zoom session for people who are facing loss due to the coronavirus. That session is for senior-aged high schoolers and older.
In May, the organization plans to open a camp for people experiencing a death due to COVID-19, added Hughes.
Miller said these programs are more important than ever because grief is already isolating and people being stuck inside because of quarantine only exacerbates their grief.
“So we want to give the opportunity for those kids, and even the parents and guardians, to come together and process their loss… And give them some coping skills and… the opportunity to honor their loved ones which they have not had the opportunity to do,” Hughes said.
But Comfort Zone is more than just grief counseling. The organization has also been doing fun camp activities like a virtual bonfire and trivia nights.
“We’ve really been trying to engage people and give them an opportunity to step outside of their loss and reconnect as a community and have some light-hearted moments too,” Hughes said.
“We want to be a resource in any way possible,” said Miller.
Hughes said they are also considering adding Zoom craft workshops to help children under 13 who find it hard to sit still and be by themselves for too long.
Hughes said the most rewarding part of continuing these programs online has been creating a space for people to process their emotions and feel connected during this difficult time, and hearing positive feedback from their clients.
“We feel really encouraged,” Hughes said. “We know that there’s a need, we know people are out there hurting and we know that we are poised to respond.”
Want more information?
The group has an upcoming virtual program about free Life Grief resources at 11 a.m. Saturday, Apr. 2, on Zoom. You can click here to register for the event. They are also hosting a Nerd Night at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 4, on Zoom. Registration is $8; click here to register.