West Palm Beach, FL – More than forty-five children and
teens from Palm Beach County gathered recently for a weekend
of sharing stories and paying tribute to those they have
loved and lost. Camp Sea Star, held annually at the
Everglades Youth Conservation Camp in the
J.W. Corbett Wildlife Center, is an adventure-based
bereavement program facilitated by Hospice of Palm Beach
The weekend retreat welcomes South Florida children ages 5
to18 who have experienced a loss and received bereavement
support through Hospice of Palm Beach County. The Camp
allows time for sharing, support, celebration and fun,
offering children a secure space and environment where they
can meet other children like themselves who have lost a
loved one, and realize they are not alone in their feelings
of grief. Camp Sea Star is provided at no charge thanks to
the generosity of donors.
"There's a tremendous curative factor in this group
modality, in the sheer numbers. It really helps," said
Regina Di Pietro, Hospice of Palm Beach County’s Senior
Director of Clinical Services. Due to HPBC’s recent
expansion into Broward County, the camp will also be offered
to children living in the Broward community this July as
part of Hospice of Broward County’s Bereavement Program.
While it may look like a traditional camp
with children fishing, canoeing and toasting s’mores over a
bonfire, every activity at Camp Sea Star has been designed
with a specific purpose and cumulative effect towards the
children’s healing process. “The counselors who created this
program are highly skilled at integrating counseling support
into the activities so that the process is virtually
seamless to the children,” said Di Pietro.
Upon arrival, campers are asked to pick a personal totem of
an animal that represents traits or goals that they hope to
work on during the weekend. "I drew a moose and a bear,"
said 10-year old Brooke Dixon. “The moose is for confidence
and the bear is for strength in myself.” Three years ago,
Brooke's mother died suddenly of a heart attack and Brooke
came to this year’s Camp Sea Star to again face her grief,
but this time, a support system embraced her as never
before. “I’ve made so many friends here,” said the fourth
grader on her favorite camp memories. “All the other kids
here lost someone, too. It makes me realize I’m not alone.”
Over the course of the weekend, music therapists visited
with campers in their cabins to compose songs that paid
tribute to the loved ones they lost.
For more information about Camp Sea Star and Broward Camp
Sea Star, contact Supportive Care Manager, Chelsea Johnson
(561) 227-5178 or email
About Hospice of Palm Beach County
Hospice of Palm Beach County is the leading provider of
hospice care in our community. Since 1978, our expert staff
has cared for nearly 70,000 patients nearing end of life.
When a cure is no longer an option, we put the needs of
patients and families first - committed to doing whatever it
takes to provide compassionate care and ensure the highest
possible quality of life.
As a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, we care for all who
want and qualify for our services, regardless of ability to
pay. We offer the physical, emotional and spiritual care
that brings comfort and dignity to those with terminal
illness and their loved ones. Our multi-cultural staff
respects all religions and cultural traditions. For families
who need emotional support, we offer bereavement services
including individual and group counseling.
For more information, visit