Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
All programming is offered at no cost to grieving families. For Support Group and/or Camp, we do request a refundable deposit in the amount of $35.00 per individual with a maximum of $100.00 per family. Donations are always welcome and help keep our services free of charge to all families.
Yes. Amanda the Panda serves grieving individuals of all ages.
Grief Camp and Support Group are for children (Kindergarten – 12th grades), young adults, and adults of any age. Friends and Family Nights and Fun Days are for everyone in your family, with no age limit! Childcare is provided upon request for families with children preschool-aged or below during Support Group. We encourage families to attend all programs together.
Although we encourage families to attend together, we understand that this is not always possible. Your children can still attend Grief Camp and Support Group if you are unable. An adult is required to attend Friends and Family Night and Fun Days with children.
Amanda the Panda strives to serve all individuals who need our help. Our staff and many of our volunteers have experience in working with participants who have learning or developmental challenges (ADD, Down’s syndrome, Autism, anxiety, etc.). Please make an appointment to tour our space, so you and your child will feel comfortable the first time your group meets, and we can find the best person to serve your child while you are here.
Childcare is available for children preschool-aged below during Support Group. Please inform us of this need when you register for services. Childcare is not available during Camp Amanda.
Yes. Your child is welcome to attend when they begin Kindergarten.
Support Group is divided by grade level for children in Kindergarten – 12th Grade (K-2nd, 3rd – 5th, Middle School, High School). Adults are in groups separated by type of loss (partner, child, parent, etc.). If you have concerns about how groups are structured, please contact us.
Yes. We’ve had many campers attend near the one-year anniversary and several who attend two, three or five years after; there is no time limit on grief.
We have volunteers who provide translation services. Please let us know ahead of time if you need a translator, and we will provide one for you.
No. Amanda the Panda is designed to offer peer support, facilitate connections with others who have “been there”, and fun. No formal counseling will take place in Amanda the Panda’s services. We do, however, provide referrals to participants who express a desire and/or demonstrate a need for counseling or therapy service. If you would like more information about therapy, please let us know.
No. Amanda the Panda services are designed to assist all grieving individuals in our community, and is therefore not connected to any particular religious affiliation.
Currently, we serve people who are grieving after the death of a loved one, but we are working to expand our services to support those experiencing anticipatory grief. If you find yourself in a situation of needing support prior to the death of your terminally ill loved one, please contact us.
Grief Camp – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Camp is held at Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center in Indianola, Iowa.
No. Children, teens, and adults will be sleeping in separate cabins and rooms, which are divided by age and gender.
A list of suggested items to bring to camp can be downloaded here.
Campers arrive at camp at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Our closing ceremony begins at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, followed by lunch. Families are packed and on the road by 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
We reserve Camp for families who have not previously had the chance to attend. If your family experiences another death, then you are welcome to come back to camp.
The primary advantage of attending adult camp is to gain support from other adults to assist you in your own grief journey. That is why the adult camp is separate from the children’s camp. All campers gather together at the end of camp for a meal and closing ceremony.
Secondly, for those who are a significant presence in a grieving child’s life, camp offers ideas for understanding the unique nature of children’s grief and learning ways to support the children. Families that attend camp at the same time have the advantage of a shared experience that tends to open the door for additional sharing and support at home.
A medically qualified volunteer will be present to dispense medications at Camp. Please bring all medications in original containers with your child’s name printed on them.
Camp offers a variety of activities designed to offer children and adults the opportunity for indoor and outdoor play, music, art, team-building and periods of quiet small group time to share memories and feelings surrounding the death of your loved one. All activities are tailored to the particular ages of the children and abilities of adults, and remain flexible and relaxed.
We welcome volunteer Camp Counselors, Activity Coordinators, and Staff from a variety of backgrounds. Some were former campers who have a desire to give back, while others are professionals in the field who wish to give of their time to help others. No matter what, all Camp Counselors submit a volunteer application/profile, attend a small group facilitators training with Amanda the Panda staff, and submit to a formal background check (required of all volunteers who work directly with campers). First-time Camp Counselors are assigned as “helpers” to our more experienced Counselors.
Many children return home excited to share all about their camp experiences. It is very normal to see an increase in the expressions of grief such as crying, talking, and even anger. This is a healthy sign that they have understood that grief is okay to share and they are progressing forward. Some children are, by nature, more quiet and reflective and may need more time to process their camp experience before they are ready to share.
Please contact us if you did not find the answer to your question(s) here.