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PostHeaderIcon What the Kids Are Saying

...about the Support Groups

  • "It gave me a new look at the people around me and opened up my eyes to a lot of understandings about my father that I never saw."
  • "I liked how kind everyone is.  I felt like I could be myself.  Normally, I don't talk about my loss, but in this group I did, and it helped."
  • "The most important thing I learned is that you are not alone and that you have so many people who can help you through this."
  • "I like how you are never pressured to say anything, and I like how I don't feel so alone."

... about camp

  • "At camp I could talk to anyone, because they're all going through the same stuff."  Alexis, age 17, camper
  • "What I learned at camp was that more than one person is feeling the same pain as me....  I am not alone."  Rebecca, age 15, camper
  • "...And no one will judge you."  Melinda, age 15, camper

What did you learn about yourself?

  • "I don't have to act tough."
  • "I'm lovable.  I'm starting to believe in myself and the things I can do."
  • "It's okay to share your story with other people and let your feelings (sadness, anger) out [by crying]."

What would you tell another kid?

  • "Keep your head up, don't lose hope, it's okay to grieve."
  • "[No matter] how you grieve, it's fine.  Letting out emotions is a really good thing."

What do you want to remember?

  • "All the happiness and respect I gave [to other campers]."
  • "The candle lighting [ceremony].  I want to do that at home to remember my dad.  I think that will help me cope better with things."
  • "Pass some skills (not being afraid to reach out) on to my mom and dad.  Especially my dad, when he's ready."
  • "I can go into my stretch zone, but I don't have to go into my panic zone."

 

Chelsea Writes:
  • Published November, 2010
A year ago my best friend committed suicide, he was 15. I didn’t understand why he had wanted to end his life, or why he didn’t love me enough to stay here. Kyle was the 12th person in my life to die, but by far the hardest to handle.

Going to the Courageous Kids summer camp last year was not my idea. I had refused to go and tried to convince my mom that I didn’t need any help getting over Kyle’s death. I didn’t understand why I needed to go to a camp where they taught us how to handle the death, I had been through it before and I thought I just needed time.

Courageous Kids has changed my life in so many ways. Without the love, support, and encouragement that I got from the people surrounding me at camp, I would not be the same person I am today. I have never met a group of people with bigger hearts than the volunteers that were there helping me and 40 other kids. I made life long friends in four days, went outside my comfort zone both emotionally and physically, and learned so much more about myself.

My best camp memory was at the ropes course at Spencer's Butte, the last place I went on a hike with Kyle.

I was already nervous and scared of heights, but then I recognized the butte, and my heart fell. I didn’t think I could go through with it. I stood on the trail looking at the trees and found a tear rolling down my cheek. It was emotional for me to even be there. Just as I was about to tell the counselor that I couldn’t do it, a sun beam broke through the trees and a butterfly flew around me. I knew it was Kyle telling me it would be all right. I knew that I could gather the strength to go outside my comfort zone and do anything. A few hours later, on our final activity, I was very nervous about traveling high up and swinging from a giant rope. But then I thought of the butterfly and what Kyle would want me to do. From the top of trees I sat in the harness waiting to be dropped. Right then the butterfly came again and flew around me. I broke into tears again, but this time, they were tears of joy. I knew he was there with me, comforting me. I had no fear or anger or pain in that moment. I was not sad about his death or mad at him for leaving. I felt only love. I was released and started swinging, I have never felt so free. So much pain and sorrow that had been a part of me for so long, were taken away. That was when I first realized that I was going to make it through this, and I was going to be okay.

Through this amazing program, I can now take this experience and look at it in a new way. I don’t look at the life that was lost, but at the life that was lived, and I am so thankful for the time I had with Kyle. I was so inspired by this program that I decided to become a counselor and help other kids through their time of need. So much support and love was given to me and I hope that I can touch another child like the volunteers at Courageous Kids have touched mine.

I know that I am not alone throughout this, and no one should be. I am so grateful to everyone who has been there for me, and all the other Courageous Kids. I know that this is what Kyle would want me to do, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

Anthony Writes:
  • Published May, 2010

When Anthony's grandma died, Anthony's mother was very worried about him. Grandma had lived with Anthony's family for Anthony's entire 9 years, and she and Anthony had been very tight. Anthony was not crying nor, as far as his mother could tell, expressing any grief. When the family came to Courageous Kids, Anthony's support group brainstormed "feelings kids have when a loved one dies." They used paper lunch bags to put private feelings inside the bag and feelings they showed to people outside the bag. Anthony drew himself on his bag and shared that he only had one feeling inside and outside, "NUMB."

Most of the other kids confirmed that they too, had felt numb for a while after their person died. Anthony shared his "bag" with his mother. In their group, the parent's discussed how it can serve a purpose for kids to be numb . They learned it is a way for kids to brace themselves so they can experience the intense feelings of grief in manageable doses. Anthony was relieved to learn he wasn't doing it wrong. His mom was relieved that Anthony could grieve in his own way at his own pace.

Nichole Writes:

  • Published May, 2010

I am 16. I came to Courageous Kids 2 years ago after my mom died.  My mom‘s name was Rene, and she was my best friend. 

When I was 14 months old, I was injured by a baby sitter. As a result, I cannot use my right arm and my right leg doesn’t walk straight. My mom helped me learn to do everything. When she died, I was afraid I would not be able to make friends and would get teased about my disability, and my mom would not be there to make me feel loved.

When I went to Courageous Kids Camp this summer, I was excited and nervous at the same time. Nervous about being with kids I didn’t know, and worried about not being able to do the activities.  Thinking about what my mom would want me to do, I persisted.

I am happy because I made new friends, proud because I did new things, like the ropes course.  I feel sad, too.  When I saw the other kids crying, I thought about how much I miss waking up and not having my mom there to greet me every morning when I come down the stairs.  I cry more than I used to.  But it’s OK, because I have learned that I am not by myself.

...and some feedback from parents:

  • "This is a really great opportunity for her to honor her dad.  There are not a lot of places in society for you to be able to do that.  I highly recommend Courageous Kids to other grieving families. Lisa Jordan
  • "The kids were hesitant at first, but they really loved it. Now they are begging to go back!" Jessie Cooper