//Winnersville Camp Cocoon Returns in March

Winnersville Camp Cocoon Returns in March

PruittHealth Press Release:

VALDOSTA – The Pruitt Cares Foundation and PruittHealth Hospice of Valdosta announces that the 5th Annual Winnersville Camp Cocoon will be held on Saturday March 24, at Camp Tygart, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Winnersville Camp Cocoon is a separation camp designed to help children, in South Georgia, ages 5-17 learn to cope with separation due to death, divorce, incarceration, deployment, abuse, bullying, or anything else that would create emotional instability or “normalcy” in their lives. These children are brought together in a safe fun environment where they can participate in several activities.

Once again this year our Sports Therapy part of the program is being run by the Valdosta State University Girls Basketball team. “These girls are amazing and bring a whole new level of passion and dedication to these kids. We could not do this Camp without them.” In addition to sports therapy we also have, two forms of art therapy, music therapy, horse therapy, and a fun zone with games, slides, festival snacks, and balloon painting. The end of the day celebrated by releasing hundreds of butterflies into the sky.

“The butterfly release is really something to witness. It symbolizes these children who have spent the day in their cocoons growing and becoming stronger. By the end of the day they emerge as butterflies, hopefully armed with the tools and resources to help them fly. I love watching the children smile as they each watch their monarchs fly away.” There is never any cost for a child to attend, and transportation is provided from one location in Valdosta and one in Moultrie. “Our goal is to make sure that any child who wants to attend camp can.”

Funding for Winnersville Camp Cocoon is done entirely through local fundraising efforts. Each year, on the second Saturday in August, the Winnersville Camp Cocoon Clay Shoot brings together community members from all over for a fun filled event. This past August the Clay Shoot raised over $10,000 for Camp. All of the money raised is used locally, not only for Camp, but also for bereavement programs within our school systems, and a scholarship program for local graduating seniors.

Winnersville Camp Cocoon is a spinoff of the PruittCares Foundation’s Camp Cocoon that takes place every summer in Toccoa, GA. Hosted by the Athens 4-H center, this weekend camp is designed for children who are experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one. While the larger camp is a wonderful event, and people from all over the state travel to attend, it is 5 hours away from South Georgia. We felt like the distance was just too far for our small children to travel and to be away from their families.

“My ultimate goal is to make Winnersville Camp Cocoon bigger than the Toccoa Camp. Turning Winnersville Camp Cocoon into a one night and eventually weekend camp is within reach. The facilities are available, but we need to increase our fundraising levels in order to make this dream a reality.”

We are now accepting applications from both campers and volunteers. To request more information or if you have additional questions please contact Alice Thrasher Popielarz by phone at 229-588- 9093 or via email at winnersvillecampcocoon@gmail.com. You can also call the PruittHealth Hospice Valdosta office 229-242- 1187, or check us out on Facebook @winnersvillecampcocoon