Ted E. Bear Hollow is the region’s cornerstone for grief support, as well as provides free peer support programs as well as training, education, and consultation throughout Nebraska and Iowa.  Along with many support groups, activities and events, Ted E. Bear Hollow hosts a couple teen grief camps throughout the year. The 402 Arts Collective had the opportunity to attend both the fall (2015) and the spring camp. Sydney Chase was the 402 Artist Instructor who attended both events.

“Both camps were an amazing experience.  It was really neat seeing some of the students return in the spring.  Some of these students return year after year.  I think this speaks volumes to what Ted E Bear Hollow is doing,” describes Chase.

The camps are centered around fun activities, community building but most importantly grief and the act of coping. From breakout sessions to horseback riding to meal time, Ted E Bear Hollow has carefully constructed these camps to not only be a safe environment for the students but also a place the students can be vulnerable and open.  These camps are free to each and every student.

“The camp counselors play a huge role in creating that open safe environment for the students.  Not only did I recognize a lot of returning students but almost all of the counselors also attended the fall camp.  Their dedication and patiences that they show to the students is inspiring. Nothing feels forced or fake.  Some students want to talk and some don’t and that is okay,” describes Sydney Chase.  “I had the opportunity to design a couple art projects for the fall and spring camp.  The students at the spring camp worked on two projects: Role Model Portraits and Encouragement Chains.”

The Role Model Portrait was centered around the main question: Who has had the most impact on my life?  This person could be someone the students still know or knew in their past.  Once the students thought of that particular person they then answered the following statements: Think of 5-7 things that your role model enjoys or did enjoy, think of 3-5 things that you admire about this person and finally write 1-2 sentences as to why they are your role model.  

“I was so impressed with how much time the students took working on this project.  You could definitely tell that these students were taking this project very seriously.”

The Encouragement Chains project was centered around the idea that we are not alone in our grief.  Each student wrote out a specific encouragement for each other.  Once all encouragements were written they were passed out and each student had the opportunity to read what others wrote about them.  

“It was awesome to see their faces when they read what others wrote about them.  You could definitely tell they felt special and valued.  Some of the counselors also wrote encouraging thoughts and words to the students. Very neat,” describes Chase.

“I was very fortunate to have been able to spend a couple of hours with these students,” describes Sydney.  “I think a lot of us forget how fragile life is as well as the extreme impact lose has on our lives.  Ted E. Bear Hollow’s camps aren’t about sadness but about the celebration of life. I would highly recommend these camps to any student who finds themselves dealing with grief.”

The artwork created at this camp will be on display at the 402 Gallery for the entire month of May.  Stop by and check out the students' work. 

the 402 gallery

The 402 Gallery is a professional space located in downtown Benson.  Serving multiple purposes, the 402 Gallery is a space for local artists as well as national artists to showcase their work.  We have the privilege in sharing our spaces with local coffeeshop Aromas Coffeehouse.