Full Circle: A Story of Kids Grief Camp

I am Madelyn Cuartas, and I was a grief camp participant in the year of 2020. In January of 2020 my dad passed away from stage four Glioblastoma brain cancer. I was 16 when he died, and that following summer I got the opportunity to participate in the Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions Kids Grief Camp. During this camp I learned good coping mechanisms for my grief, and I got to meet other people who were in the same boat I was. Because of this experience I was able to meet the director of Reach 4A Star Riding Academy and start volunteering with horses. Officially after two years I have around 200 hours of volunteer work with them.

Madelyn with mom and dad, Henry & Ginger Cuartas

In 2021 I was asked to come back to Kids Grief Camp as a teen mentor to connect with the incoming campers. I truly believe I learned more from all the kids than they did from me, it was an amazing opportunity to come and support other kids dealing with the loss of a loved one. In 2022 I wanted to come back and be a teen mentor for one last year. I was able to connect with all the kids and again they taught me so much more of how to process my grief and how to live in a lost loved one’s light. I hope I have made an impact on the 60 kids I got to spend my four camps being a teen mentor for.

“Being a camper at grief camp saved my life and kept me going when everything was so bleak.”

Being the teen mentor reminded me why I keep fighting. I am writing this right now in my dorm at the University of Wyoming and I probably wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions. I am eternally grateful for these experiences that this camp has given me and to the staff at CWHT, especially Grief Care Coordinator Todd von Gunten. 

Written by: Madelyn Cuartas


Grief Camp is designed for children and teens, ages 6-16, who have suffered the death of a family member or friend within the last three years.

We provide this camp free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the Gertrude Kamps Memorial Foundation

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Grief Care Coordinator Todd von Gunten at: Toddv@CentralWyomingHospice.org.