This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Camp Solari Helps Young Hearts Heal
Published on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 (9:35 a.m.)Las Vegas, Nev. – Feb. 6, 2013 – Healing a broken heart is never easy, but when that heart belongs to a child or teen who has lost one of the most important people in his or her young life – a parent or sibling – the recovery can be even more complicated.
Camp Solari, a weekend-long bereavement camp sponsored by Solari Hospice Foundation, provides children ages 6-17 and their surviving caregivers with an opportunity to learn healthy coping strategies while still honoring the memory of their loved ones. The next Camp Solari will be held from May 3-5, 2013, at Mt. Charleston Lodge, located at the end of Highway 157 and about a 35-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. Applications for Camp Solari are accepted year ‘round, but must be completed by March 11, 2013, to be considered for the Spring 2013 camp.
All weekend activities – including lodging, meals, counseling and materials – are free to camp participants. This year’s camp will be funded in part by a grant from Cox Charities, along with other grants, fundraisers and charitable donations from the community. Solari Hospice Foundation is also proud to partner with Las Vegas-based Clear View Counseling, who will be orchestrating and leading all camp activities.
Statistics shows that one in seven Americans lose a parent or sibling before the age of 20. Often, this can leave children vulnerable to making poor choices and put them at higher risk for depression, delinquency, crime and school dropout. Children who lose a parent can also have trouble forming healthy relationships in life.
“Camp Solari provides a positive, nurturing and supportive environment where children are taught to express their feelings of anger and sadness, share their fears, and work through their grief,” says Candis Armour, R.N., executive director, Solari Hospice Care. “We reach out to bereaved children at a pivotal point in their lives, and open a dialogue to talk about the uncomfortable subject of death. They learn that everything they are feeling is normal, and that others their age are struggling, too.”
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Debora Jette, owner of Clear View Counseling, notes that one of the most important benefits of Camp Solari is the opportunity connect with others who have experienced similar losses.
“Children can feel isolated and alone – like no one really understands the powerful range of emotions inside them – and yet they’re often afraid to ask for help,” Jette explains. “At Camp Solari, our professional counselors guide them through techniques and exercises to explore these thoughts and feelings in a relaxed, non-intimidating way.”
Among the many planned activities at Camp Solari are art, music, talk therapy, drumming, dancing and nature walks.
“Getting out of the city and away from the everyday demands of school, work and extracurricular activities can be a nice change of pace for families as well,” says Jette. “It’s therapeutic and calming to be at a camp in the mountains, surrounded by nature. Because children attend the camp with their surviving family members, we often see wounds healed and family unity restored as everyone comes together to remember and move forward. The friendships formed between participants at Camp Solari can last a lifetime.”
One mother who attended the May 2012 Camp Solari with her three children put it this way, “Thank you Camp Solari for making a difference in me so that I can make a difference for my children. I left with strength, new friends, and left behind fears I was afraid to reveal.”
Hundreds of children and families have participated in Camp Solari bereavement camps since the first camp was held in Las Vegas in 2004. In 2012, Solari Hospice Foundation was able to raise enough funds to hold two camps, in May and October, with more than 100 campers in attendance.
Camp Solari is the brainchild of Gary W. Polsky, president and founder, Solari Hospice Foundation. Says Polsky, "My goal is to assist in eliminating potential dysfunction in these children who have suffered such devastating loss in their lives. I'm grateful for and passionate about the opportunity to help these kids learn how to process their grief in a constructive way so they can again embrace life with confidence, enthusiasm and joy."
Camp Solari attendees are chosen based on need. To request an application for Camp Solari, please call 702-870-0000 or visit www.solarihospicefoundation.org. You are also invited to follow @CampSolari on Twitter and Facebook. To learn more about Clear View Counseling, call 702-254-4883 or visit www.clearviewcounseling.com.