On Thursday, June 30th, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were invited to spend time with children attending Camp Reunite in Campbellsport, Wisconsin. Camp Reunite is a week-long summer camp for children who have a parent incarcerated within the Wisconsin prison system. This year approximately 50 children attended the camp.
It's a camp like any other with fun activities all week long, but they also focus on the mental health of the child, offering ways to cope with the loss of a parent to the prison system. During the time the children are at Camp Reunite and in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, they have a chance to reunite with their parent at the correctional facility, to participate in camp games and activities, to share a meal together and have meaningful and special one-on-one time together.
Once the children have concluded the visit with their beloved parent, the bus trip back to camp can bring up many feelings. LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Charity (Brookfield Lutheran - Brookfield, Wisconsin) and LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Rhoda (Prince of Peace - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin) were present to greet the children as they arrived back at camp.
Some were tearful, and some wailed at having to say goodbye to their parent; some kept in their feelings and remained silent. The LCC K9 Comfort Dogs met these kids and staff with a calm, sweet demeanor as they came over the hill. Some of the frowns turned to smiles as the children gently pet Charity and Rhoda. Some kids buried their tear-stained faces into the dogs' fur as they held on tight and processed the day. Some gave hugs and rested their heads on the top of the dogs' heads for just a moment in time to feel better.
It was an honor for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to be with these amazingly resilient kids in their time of need to offer unconditional love, peace, and hope.