Campers and UW‑Green Bay student counselors all grow from grief camp experience
Green Bay, Wis. — The 11th Annual Camp Lloyd — the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s summer camp helping children cope with the loss of a loved one — is next week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 20-24. The camp that began with nine children in 2006 is approaching a camp-capacity 50 participants again this year and continues to make a difference in the lives of those attending, as well as those running the camp.
According to camp founder and director UW‑Green Bay Prof. Ilene Cupit, Camp Lloyd is what you get when you combine a traditional summer camp experience with a life-changing event for a child — the heartbreaking loss of a loved one, and the grieving process that follows.
The weeklong day camp for children, ages 7 to14, is held at the Mauthe Center, near the UW‑Green Bay campus. Combined with the fun and excitement of a typical camp experience (including arts and crafts, music, games, swimming, hiking and even a day-trip to Door County for paddle boarding and kayaking), Camp Lloyd also provides time for campers to reflect, explore their own experiences of grief, share and find support from others.
Camp participants are assigned “buddies,” undergraduate students — most majoring in Human Development, Psychology and Social Work at UW‑Green Bay — to serve as mentors and friends of a grieving camper. In addition, they are educated in children’s grief and are able to observe professional grief therapists (UW‑Green Bay alumni who received their master’s degrees in counseling and specialize in grief) giving group support. In all, a staff made up of about 25 counselors, most with UW‑Green Bay connections, works with the children throughout the week.
“There is no doubt this is a special and unique experience for all of us, campers and staff alike,” Cupit notes. “The opportunity to work with these children during such a critical point in their lives is amazing. I’m confident we’re meeting a community need, both in the support we provide campers and the first-hand counseling experience we provide our students.”
This idea for Camp Lloyd became a passion for Cupit, a UW‑Green Bay Human Development Professor, through the inspiration of Lloyd Noppe (a retired professor from UW‑Green Bay) Noppe lost his father at a very young age. Cupit believes that had a camp like this existed for Lloyd he would have greatly benefitted from knowing that other children were dealing with similar situations and emotions. This year, Camp Lloyd is giving back to the community — creating two “Little Free Libraries” that will be donated to the NEW Zoo and the Kroc Center. Each of the Little Free Libraries will contain a book authored by the Camp Lloyd participants about dealing with loss.
“By the end of the week, we’re all transformed. They are not the same kids or the same student counselors they were at the beginning of the week. It’s like a magical transformation, and that is how we know we’ve made a difference,” Cupit added.
More information can be found at www.uwgb.edu/camplloyd.
About the University of Wisconsin‑Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin‑Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.