Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis tornado not last word

Food and fellowship helps State Fair dining hall survive

The deadly tornado that hit north Minneapolis on May 22 affected the lives of many people. Homes were lost; businesses destroyed; neighbors relocated.

Often forgotten in the midst of a disaster, however, are children. Lutheran Social Service’s Camp Noah was designed to pay special attention to the lingering effects of a disaster on children. The program will hold three camps in north Minneapolis in August for the benefit of those children.

Camp Noah volunteers offer a safe place for children to talk about their concerns and fears after a disaster. Photo provided by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

“Since Camp Noah was established in 1997, more than 300 camps have been held,” explained Nancy Beers, director of Camp Noah and LSS Disaster Services. “They’ve been held in response to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, immigration raids, and even the [Interstate] 35 bridge collapse.”

Camp Noah is a unique program that has received national recognition. It provides an opportunity for children to process their disaster experience in a loving, supportive environment. “We know that resiliency skills need to be taught or re-enforced. … The children can tell their story, grieve their loss, and find hope for the future,” Beers told Metro Lutheran. “Camp Noah can offer the gift of hope.”

The camps will be held August 8-12 at three north Minneapolis sites: St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Salem Lutheran Church, and Jordan New Life Community Center. Each camp costs $10 per child and runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday to Friday, with curriculum in the mornings and recreation and fun in the afternoon.

“I stress the fun,” said Beers. “Out of 365 parents we surveyed last year, 100 percent said, ‘My child had fun.’”

For more information about Camp Noah, go to www.lssmn.org/disaster or call 612/879-5312.

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