Thursday, May 25, 2017


Camp Encourage, State of the Heart Care’s grief camp for children, will be held Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16, 2017. The camp, held at The Spiritual Center of Maria Stein in Maria Stein, Ohio, is run entirely by volunteers. “Because Camp Encourage is funded through donations, we like to maintain all of our help at a volunteer status to keep costs low,” camp coordinator Ashlee Slavin says.

Using volunteers to run the camp also maintains State of the Heart Care’s goal of keeping the camp a community-based event. “We rely on members of our own community, those who feel compelled to help children who have had to go through the experience of losing someone close to them,” explains Slavin. “A lot of our volunteers have also lost someone at an early age and can relate to campers, which helps the kids understand the feelings they are experiencing.”

Hillary Carder, who has volunteered in the past for Camp Encourage, explains what sets the camp apart from others like it. “Camp Encourage is so special because it brings together kids of all different backgrounds who all share a similar experience; they have all lost someone special to them. Regardless if they’ve lost a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, or even a pet, Camp Encourage recognizes that every loss is significant and should be addressed so that the child can grieve and cope properly.”

“The perfect candidate for a volunteer position would be someone with a really big heart,” says Carder. Some of the kids who come to camp have experienced an unfathomable loss and we volunteers play a huge role in their coping, so it is very important to be caring and empathetic.”

Applications for a volunteer position with Camp Encourage are due June 23 and can be found on State of the Heart Care’s website ( For more information, including registration for potential campers, please call Ashlee Slavin at 1-800-417-7535.

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