For almost 30 years, Compass Regional Hospice has been helping children and families navigate the challenging journey of grief from the loss of a loved one.
Every August, Camp New Dawn holds a four-day, three-night bereavement retreat on the grounds of Camp Pecometh outside near Centreville, where children and families attend
therapeutic workshops, age-specific grief support groups, and may participate in supervised camp activities such as swimming, fishing, and arts and crafts.
“Grief is isolating in itself on a very natural level. When they show up here they’re all of a sudden in this amazing community of people who are on a similar walk.” says Camp New Dawn Director Rhonda Knotts.
A haven for those learning how to cope with grief, the camp experience offers a combination of therapeutic activities, group discussions, and individual counseling, as participants are guided towards embracing their emotions, sharing their stories, and learning coping mechanisms.
This summer’s retreat hosted guest artist Josh Robinson, a professional percussionist and drum facilitator, who led an afternoon of drum-making and synchronized drumming.
Robinson, a percussion teacher and member of the Philadelphia-based “Alo Brasil,” a 14-piece Samba group, has spent 20 years teaching the therapeutic benefits of drumming to groups and businesses nationwide.
At Camp New Dawn, Robinson guided children and families through creating and personalizing their own drums out of 20-gallon plastic containers and colored tape. Each unique drum carried a specific message of encouragement or positive wish as reminders of the experience throughout the year.
Robinson sees the drumming experience not only as a physical outlet and stress reduction exercise but as a way to express emotions. Drumming provides a non-verbal means of expressing emotions that might be difficult to communicate through words. The intensity and rhythm of drumming can help individuals convey their feelings of loss and grief.
The Spy visited Camp New Dawn to watch Josh Robinson work his percussion magic and offer a new language to express grief, courage, and a sense of accomplishment.