From Grieving to Giving: When Former Bereavement Campers Return as Volunteers
Social Work and Human Services
This study examines the lived experiences of bereavement camp participants who return to camp as volunteer counselors. Participants in the study were eight bereavement camp counselors who once attended camp as bereaved participants. Using a qualitative case study design, the participants were interviewed by the researchers, and data collected from these interviews were analyzed using the constant comparison method. The findings revealed a variety of personal meaning-making themes and subcategories described by the study participants. These themes were compared between the bereavement camp camper experience and the returning bereavement camp volunteer experience. This analysis uncovered a personal growth development that facilitated a continuing progression for participants through their individual grief and growth process. Implications for the further development and staffing of bereavement camps using returning campers as volunteers and the enhanced therapeutic value these returning volunteers can provide to bereavement camps due to their own experience are discussed.
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