An estimated 6 million children, or 1 in 12 kids in the United States, will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. In Oregon, 1 in 15 or 6.8 percent of children are bereaved. Substance abuse and behavioral issues are closely intertwined with grief. Untreated grief may impact high-risk behavior, trouble in school, and substance abuse. Hospice of Redmond’s annual children’s grief camp, Camp Sunrise, which occurs every June, has expanded its offerings to include helping teens ages 13 to 17 this year. 

Now in its 26th year, Camp Sunrise has earned the reputation of being one of the nation’s finest children’s grief camps. It is also the longest-running grief camp for kids in Oregon. Camp Sunrise is founded on the understanding that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a safe, supportive, and understanding environment. With loving support, grieving children can share their experiences with acceptance and move through the healing process. The camp traditionally served children ages 7 to 14, but seeing a deficit for older teens prompted Bereavement Coordinator Kathline (Kat) Rachman to pivot.

“Due to community losses, I received several outreach calls from area high schools over the past year, which prompted me to open Camp Sunrise to kids up to 17 years old,” said Kat.

Developmentally, there is a significant difference between a 7-year-old and a 14-year-old. The program for younger campers, ages 7 through 13, will run in its traditional format of three days, June 14-16, 2024. The teen program at Camp Sunrise will occur on June 14th from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and will be more age-appropriate, honoring the unique needs of late middle and high school Central Oregon kids. While the curriculum at Camp Sunrise will continue to use expressive arts as its foundation, it will incorporate other activities more appropriate for older teens, such as photography and journaling. Both programs are offered at no cost as one of Hospice of Redmond’s nonprofit services available to the community.

Attending Camp Sunrise is critical for any grieving child or teen in Central Oregon. While the camp focuses on addressing grief from a child’s past, having the ability to process grief is essential for their future.

“Unattended grief manifests in harmful ways for people,” stated Kat. “Many adults who have drug and alcohol problems stem from unaddressed grief in their childhood.”

Before joining Hospice of Redmond, Kathline Rachman, CADCII, had considerable experience helping people with substance abuse, serving as an addiction counselor throughout Central Oregon. She found that when asking clients what led to their substance abuse disorder, the individual would go back to a death experienced during their childhood rather than talking about a more recent trauma. 

Camp Sunrise’s goal for children and teens is to help them process their grief in a safe and individualized manner. Every child is unique, and having different options to experience and process their grief is essential to success.

Hospice of Redmond has recruited input and support from local volunteers, agencies, and community partners that specialize in treating substance abuse and mental health disorders in kids and teens. These individuals will help lead different programs throughout the camp to ensure the kids have appropriate support. Kat and the entire Hospice of Redmond team hope the new addition of a teen program fills a void currently experienced in Central Oregon. Hospice of Redmond is accepting applications for volunteers for different roles in the camp. Interested parties can apply online. They are also accepting applications for those who wish to attend the camp. Both applications are available at You may also read last year’s article on Camp Sunrise to learn more about the program here.