Rhonda Knotts, the Supervisor of Grief Services and Director of Camp New Dawn for Compass Regional Hospice is an inspiration to many. She has been connected to Pecometh for many years…through her church, The Walk to Emmaus, and Camp New Dawn. Camp New Dawn is her passion, and it shows in her work. Rhonda is calming, reassuring, and has a big heart.
Camp New Dawn is a grief retreat for children which is held at Pecometh every August for a long weekend. It is open to any grieving child, from anywhere, who is grieving from the death of someone close to them; by cancer, drug overdose, suicide, automobile accident, or even old age. This is where Rhonda steps in. She loves children and her calming demeaner helps them through the grieving process. Camp New Dawn is run by a host of volunteers, many of whom were once campers themselves.
Between the Chester River, the Outdoor Chapel, the Challenge Course, the Pool, and beautiful property, Pecometh provides the volunteers peaceful spaces to help the campers start their healing process. The campers enjoy the opportunity to remove and disconnect themselves from the real world. It gives them time to meet new friends, be a kid, and spend time with their volunteer buddy.
These campers don’t necessarily know who the other campers are going to be before they arrive. They arrive feeling isolated, scared, and apprehensive. They leave feeling like they have found a new family, a new sense of belonging, and new people they never knew existed. Once there, they may meet kids from their school, sports teams, and community that they never realized were in the same position they are. They find camp so special because they find out they are not alone in their journey. They have met people in similar situations. They are looking forward to their return to camp the following year.
Rhonda and the volunteers love Camp New Dawn because it gives them a sense of being a part of something big. They have huge hearts and love helping these campers start their healing process. They make a difference in the life of a child. Pecometh, too, is thankful to be a small part of the healing of these campers.
In addition to Camp New Dawn, we have Camp Kesem who also runs a grief retreat at Pecometh in August. Pecometh is offering a beautiful setting for healing to occur. God is good!