ELCA Cluster helps children recover from disaster
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Members of the Hazleton/Lehighton ELCA Cluster who attended the "Women of the ELCA Fall Cluster Meeting" at St. John's Lutheran Church on North Street in Jim Thorpe are, seated from left : Mary Ann Hazel and Josephine Rhyder, Co-Coordinators Hazleton/Lehighton WELCA Cluster; rear, left to right : Ruth Doty, Disaster Recovery and Preparedness Coordinator Lutheran Congregational Services and Pastor of St. Johns Lutheran Church; Angela Blum, Camp Noah Volunteer; Diane McElwee, Northeast PA Synod WELCA Mentor; and Kathy Heller, President of the Christ St. John's WELCA Group.
Members of the Hazleton/Lehighton ELCA Cluster attended the "Women of the ELCA Fall Cluster Meeting" at St. John's Lutheran Church on North Street in Jim Thorpe.
The theme of the meeting was learning about a program called Camp Noah which is run by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
Camp Noah is a day-camp style program specifically designed for children in kindergarten through sixth grade that is designed to help them process their feelings and fears following a traumatic event in their lives.
The program uses national teams which are groups of volunteers around the country that they train and those teams go to an area impacted by a disaster.
Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, they have sent out 12 teams in the past five years.
This past year, they went to Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in Montana which was hit by major flooding that destroyed roads, houses, and their medical clinic.
The program allows the children to take an emotional break from recovery through play and recreation.
Disaster processing is incorporated into Bible studies, crafts, and play to let them know God's loving care surrounds them through disaster and recovery.
The curriculum includes such stories as Noah and the flood and helps children relate their experiences with Noah and other Bible characters.
Helping children learn resiliency skills is also a major part of the curriculum and Camp Noah is the only program of its kind that seeks to address the long term needs of a child.
Those privileged to serve with Camp Noah report their lives are forever touched and a count it a blessing to have worked with these children.
For those interested in more information about the program, they can visit their website at www.CampNoah.org or call 1-800-987-0061.