Camp Noah is a therapeutic day camp for kids who have experienced loss and trauma because of a natural disaster, helping kids develop resiliency skills. Immanuel has sent Camp Noah teams to Baton Rouge, LA and Pearlington, MS (Hurricane Katrina), Dunkerton, IA (tornado), North Minneapolis (tornado), Moose Lake, MN (flood) and Menahga, MN (wildfire), Norman, OK (tornado).
Camp Noah is a ministry of Lutheran Social Services. The goal of the free day camp is to teach resiliency skills to kids who have experienced a natural disaster. The week long camp helps kids know that they are special because God made them, that we all have a story to tell, that feelings come and go, that they are uniquely gifted, and that there is hope for the future!
A team of 16 (mostly) Immanuel members staffed a Camp Noah experience for 37 children aged 5-12 in San Marcos, TX over the week of June 20.
The people of San Marcos experienced floods in May, 2015 and again in October, 2015 that forced many families from their homes. Some of the children were at school when their homes were flooded and they weren’t able to return to their homes until after the floodwaters had receded.
Ralph Garton and I led an active group of eight 2nd graders through the camp week. We used stories, art projects, and short writing projects to help them see that they were each special in their own way, that they each had their own flood story, that they could be prepared if another disaster affected them, that they could use their talents to help others, and that they had hopes and dreams for the future.
Even though the local disaster relief team wanted this camp experience to be secular, God showed up again and again in the words of the children as they told their stories of their faith and their recovery from the flood. They may have had to leave their homes and lost their belongings, but they shared that they knew God kept them and their families safe. May we all be as resilient as these children if faced with life’s disasters.
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America