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Camp Noah: Keeping kids afloat

Published November 06. 2010 09:00AM

Camp Noah began as a response to the massive flooding in the Red River Valley in northern Minnesota and North Dakota in 1997. Since then, it has matured into a nationally recognized program for children affected by natural and human-caused disasters.

Each subsequent summer, the Camp Noah program has funded, supported and coordinated hundreds of camps in dozens of locations across the United States with the help of a diverse group of faithful partners. In the last four years Camp Noah has held 167 camps, served 7,220 children and youth and over 3,080 volunteers in 17 different states.

There are other organizations that work with children traumatized by disaster, but Camp Noah is unique in these special ways:

· It is local: The camps are brought to the disaster affected community and are typically hosted at a church or community center.

· Trained Teams: Volunteer teams that are specially trained bring renewed enthusiasm and energy into often devastated communities.

· Kids Tell Their Story: The week-long format allows children the time and space necessary to process their disaster experience with safe and caring volunteers.

· Children Learn Resiliency: Our curriculum teaches resiliency skills in a fun play-centered environment, allowing children to interact with their peers who have experienced similar circumstances.

· Families Find More Help: Camp Noah connects families with additional community services that will provide support long after the camp has ended.

· Volunteers Become Advocates: Camp Noah shares a community's disaster story with volunteers who in turn become advocates for those communities.

Source: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

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