Healing Hearts Camp Frequently Asked Questions
What should parents tell their children about camp? It’s best not to share any information with the child. If information is needed, you might just say, “We are going to stay at a Family Bonding Camp”. Share no info on departure date and time also.
Can I come without my spouse? Both parents in two parent families should come. It is essential that both parents work as a team to be the most effective with the child. The camp is designed to pull the team together. Both parents need the training, the tools and the bonding time to become a more powerful team. The one parent attending camp would be lacking spousal support which is essential. That support is essential. We have tried having one parent attend without the other and found the one parent then has a much higher skill level, insight and motivation. The other parent is left in the dust. Not a good plan.
Can a single parent come to camp with their child? Of course. We have a special time of recharging for those that struggle alone.
Can I leave my toddler at home? NO! Children under five years old, especially three and under, can be traumatized by being separated from a parent. Seven days away from their primary caregiver could cause trauma and a shift in brain development that is harmful. This camp is about helping children to heal. We don’t want to do anything that would harm another child. Little ones need to be with Mom! Sometimes an older sicker child needs to come to camp and a parent feels that it is best to leave a little one. They think it would be better to attend camp with just the older one to be able to focus more on the disturbed child. This can cause bigger problems for the little one.
What age group is this camp for? This camp is designed for children ages one to thirteen. The activities are geared toward this age group. We occasionally have a fourteen year old that is physically small and emotionally young for their years attend as well. Younger ones, ages 1-4, that have mental health or bonding issues have also benefited a great deal from camp but it is for the five to thirteen year old age group.
Should we bring healthy siblings? Yes! This program is designed to pull the whole family together. Leaving the healthy children home to attend camp with just the disturbed child can be destructive. The healthy children, once again, get left out because the “sick child” needs more parental time and attention. We have a special program designed to lift, encourage, support and honor the extreme challenges that these healthy children live with on a day-to-day basis.
If the camp is during the school year, what should be done about schoolwork? There is only about an hour a day that a child could use for schoolwork, if necessary.
Can families bring their pets? NO! This camp has children that can be harmful to pets. The family will be very busy with activities throughout the day. The pet would be left alone in a strange place and stressed. It is not fair to the pet and it is a distraction for the family in attempting to protect the pet from others.
Can families arrive early on the first day of camp? NO! The morning is an important time for the Team to finalize preparations. There will be no one available to greet, welcome and settle in the family by assigning a cabin, etc. The families are exhausted and often stressed by the time they finish traveling with an emotionally disturbed child. It is absolutely essential that they enter into a realm of support, love, relief and understanding. Chaos would ensue, if they arrived early.
Can families arrive late to camp? NO! The orientation is an essential kick-off to the camp. It is when the ball begins to roll. If parents miss the orientation, they have no idea what is going on and why. The action has begun. There will be no Team member with spare time to set aside 30 minutes to do a one on one to catch up a family who has been left clueless. This has caused confusion and major stress for several families in the past. We don’t want it to ever happen again. Families need to know how essential orientation is. Be there!
Can families leave early and miss the end of camp? Yes, but it is not recommended. The final closing ceremonies really wrap up, highlight and finalize all of the events the family has participated in during the week. This time to honor, lift and celebrate these amazing parents fills their hearts for the trip home and the journey as they continue to help their child’s heart to heal. Recognition and acknowledgement for the children and the entire family shouldn’t be missed. It is powerful!
Can families leave late on the last day of camp? You would need to check with the camp facility to see if the family can make arrangements to stay longer. The family needs to be aware that the Team may be gone and not available.
Will there be therapy at camp? Camps have a therapist available for crisis intervention. Arrangements can sometimes be made ahead of time for a skilled attachment therapist to meet with a family before or after camp for personal needs.
Will the camp work with us for our special dietary needs? Yes! Be sure that camp hosts are notified well ahead before supplies are purchased to be sure they can help with allergies, religious beliefs and other dietary challenges. With little to no notice it is impossible.
What about hearing, vision and physical disabilities? Check with the camp facility to organize needs for wheel chair access to parking, cabins, bathrooms and dining areas. If a parent or child is deaf, they will need a signer. Activities can work with disabilities and be very successful for the family.
I’ve heard that some of your camps are Christian camps. Are they going to cram religion down our throats? NO! The camps are for people from all faiths. Our focus is on helping the family to heal. There will be no pressure to changes churches or join one.
Do you have scholarships? NO, But many families have been able to raise scholarship and tuition money to our camps, from local churches, foundations and the community. Occasionally, county and state agencies or adoptions funds can be identified to pay for treatment. We have a 501(c)3, SAVY (Stop America’s Violent Youth). SAVY can receive funds from foundations, grants and donations that need to be made payable to non-profit organizations. Notify the camp host of needs and sometimes they can help with ideas.