Campers participate in a magic show during Camp Rainbow last summer. (Photo courtesy of Rainbow Kidz)

Summer camp offers support to grieving children

Posted at 11:57 PM on May 10, 2019


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This semester, 226 children across Iredell County are receiving in-school grief counseling through the Rainbow Kidz Program.

Of those children, 155 have experienced what is known as a complicated loss: the death of a loved one due to sudden illness, accident, suicide, violence or overdose.

With the end of the school year approaching, the in-school counseling groups are wrapping up their semester. But grieving children can still receive support from counselors and their peers thanks to Camp Rainbow, which will be offered free of charge over two week-long sessions in June this summer.

“Camp is such a special experience, and the bonds the children form with each other are incredible,” said Rainbow Kidz Director Leigh Ann Darty. “We provide a safe place for children to express and explore their grief, while mixing in fun activities that you’d find at any camp. The kids love it.”

The campers themselves say those bonds are one of the reasons Camp Rainbow is so helpful with their grief. “Until you go to camp, you have no idea you had so much in common with so many people,” said one middle-schooler who attended camp in 2018.

In addition to grief counseling groups, some of the activities available during camp are:

► Drumming with American Renaissance School music teacher Sarah Rogers
► Canine therapy with Kris Batchelor of Triple Play Farms and Equine therapy with Blue Blazes Farm
► Magic with Glen Yost
► Pottery with Ginnifer Scott
► Karate with Jason Allen of Allen School of Karate
► Yoga with certified instructors Jenayeda and Annarah Shephard of Let it Flow
► Stories with Carol Dennis of the Statesville Public Library for younger campers
► Swimming and rock climbing at the Statesville Fitness & Activity Center
► Arts, crafts, sports and more.

Trained social workers, hospice staff and volunteers lead the grief-related activities to foster sharing and healing. The camp is offered free of charge to children who are rising second-graders through high school age. Each session of camp concludes with a memorial service for children and their caregivers.


Rainbow Kidz is a program of Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County. To learn more, visit

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