Families Find Comfort at Camp Carousel

by Lane Foster, Volunteer Coordinator – Community Partnerships & Special Events at Kansas City Hospice

Camp Carousel is a weekend camp held each year in September for families who have been affected by the death of someone close to them. It is made possible by Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care, but it isn’t just for people who have experienced hospice-related deaths. Families at Camp Carousel have also lost loved ones to medical emergencies, accidents, suicide and murder. They come together to grieve, process, connect and find ways to honor the memories of their loved ones.

At Camp Carousel, KCH&PC staff members hold support groups for adults and kids, leading them through discussions, writing exercises, art therapy, and other activities to help them process their grief. Volunteers assist with activities and escort children to fun outdoor activities such as trail rides, archery, and challenge courses. At night, families stay together in comfortable, air-conditioned rooms.


This year special visitors came in for recreation time. A local Star Wars group from the 501st Legion joined the kids (and kids at heart) for photos and play.



The Half-Pint Heroes miniature horses made another appearance, too. The kids love to brush and braid their tails, accessorize them, and lead them around. 


Adults enjoyed massage therapy from volunteer massage therapists. A volunteer yoga instructor led yoga on Sunday morning.



Many generous people donated salads, desserts, and snacks to help feed campers, staff, and volunteers. And what camp could be complete without s’mores, songs, and skits around the campfire?


At Camp Carousel, kids see that it’s okay to talk about the death and their feelings. Adults learn how to support their kids even as they struggle through their own grief. It takes a lot of planning and work to host this annual camp, now in its 24th year, but it’s worth it because families tell us about the meaningful moments at camp that impacted their lives and helped them grieve, cope, and even heal.


To learn more about Camp Carousel, click here.

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