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Manitoba Nurses Union provides $13,450 in support to Interlake-Eastern RHA’s childrens’ bereavement camp

Manitoba Nurses Union provides $13,450  in support to Interlake-Eastern RHA’s childrens’ bereavement camp 

April 27, 2018 – Today, the Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program celebrated the donation of $13,450 from the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) in support of Camp Stepping Stones. This generous donation will fund an entire weekend of a unique camping experience for children who have experienced the death of a loved one.

According to Tammie-Lee Rogowski, clinical team manager for Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care, this donation will make a big difference for children attending this year’s camp, “In the few years I have personally attended camp I have seen children transform over the weekend and leave with tools to help them through their grief and build connections they will likely maintain for life. The children who attend camp never cease to amaze me in their strength and resilience; for many this is the first opportunity they’ve had to grieve and say good-bye and actively create many memory keepsakes.”

The MNU’s donation was initiated through fundraising efforts organized by the Interlake Eastern MNU chapter members who selected Camp Stepping Stones as the fundraiser recipient at their last Annual General Meeting. “MNU’s Interlake Eastern Nurses are pleased to support Camp Stepping Stones.  As caregivers, we recognize this worthy cause that allows kids who have suffered the loss of a significant loved one, to experience the benefits that this camp has to offer.

This June, the Interlake Eastern RHA’s Camp Stepping Stones will enter into its 15th year of providing a supportive camp experience for children who have suffered the recent loss of a loved one. Each year since 2004 approximately 50 kids have come to Camp Stepping Stones, a children’s grief camp for ages 7 to 17 held the first weekend in June at Camp Arnes.

These young people have experienced the death of a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a special relative or a good friend and may have endured multiple significant losses; their grief often isolating them from their families and friends. Camp creates the opportunity for these young folks to connect and spend the weekend with others who are also grieving, they learn that it’s okay to laugh, have fun and just be a kid again while remembering their loved one(s). 

The weekend long camp program has changed very little over the last 14 years -- a combination of memorial activities and traditional camp activities fill the weekend from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. What makes each year different are the campers’ individual journeys that have brought them to camp. Last year, the average age of the campers was 10 years old out of the 52 who attended, 54% of the kids had experienced the death of an immediate family member and 40 of them resided within the Interlake-Eastern RHA catchment area. 

If not given the opportunity to cope with their grief, kids can experience low self-esteem, depression, academic failure and deterioration in relationships with family and friends. If grieving children are to heal, it is important to provide them with a safe and accepting environment. Camp Stepping Stones provides grieving kids and their families hope for the future, as one mom wrote: 

“It’s amazing what a few days and the love and compassion and care of beautiful people can accomplish in such a profound way. Your program truly has made a huge difference to my sons and daughters lives. Thank-you so much. ” Camp promotes healthy lifestyles and helps children and adolescents to develop lifelong coping skills for dealing with loss and grief.

Camper applications for this year are due April 27th. For more information or to find Camp Stepping Stones camper applications, visit the Interlake-Eastern RHA website at under Palliative Care/Additonal Services in Communities or contact Camp Stepping Stones directly at 1.855.494.7369 or

CSS and MNU donation

L to R: Sandra Milotte (Palliative Care Volunteer Coordinator/Community Liaison, Interlake-Eastern RHA), Kathy Nicholson (President, Interlake-Eastern Chapter – Manitoba Nurses Union), Joan Marr (Secretary Treasurer Interlake-Eastern MNU - Stonewall) and Christine Boychuk  (Vice-President Interlake-Eastern MNU -  Beausejour – East Gate Lodge)

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