Camp Swan helps kids cope with the loss of loved ones

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Camp Swan is a bereavement camp for children who have lost loved ones. It's the fifth year the camp helped comfort children whose lives have been torn by tragedy.

"My note said, I love you mom," said 9-year-old Kirk Calbot.

Kailee and Kirk Calbot prepared notes to send up in balloons for the mother who died 2 years ago.

"No one can do my hair and stuff and talk to me when I feel upset," said Kailee.

Kailee is only 10-years-old and she's already experienced the pain of losing the most important person in her life.

"I miss you, mom," said Kailee.

The three day camp has helped her, and 21 other children like her, express themselves.

As the camp concluded Sunday, writing messages to late loved ones has put a smile back on Kailee's face.

"It says, 'Do you know how to fly?'" said Kailee.

"I wrote my note to my Grandma," said 11-year-old Olivia Kelley.

She had big news to share with her Grandma.

"That I made the cheerleading team," said Olivia.

Camp director Josh Bruce started the camp not out of sympathy, but empathy.

"We started Camp Swan after my mom died and we wanted to give back to the children," said Bruce.

Having lost his mom at a young age, he now wants to help others.

"Kids, the kids are so special. I've never been around so many children that tear at your heart," said Bruce.

Nine-year-old Desiree Carroll had a special message to her daddy.

"I love you so much in my heart," said Desiree.

She said those words will do, until they reunite.

"I'm going to see my dad one day when I get to heaven," said Desiree.

Then they headed down to the water, eager to release their balloons. They released them, blew kisses, and watched them ascend.  And they said they could feel their loved ones smiling down on them.

If you would like to donate or learn more about Camp Swan and Canon Hospice click HERE.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.