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Camp Noah to bring new hope to children affected by flood

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news Cloquet, 55720

Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

When last June's flood devastated much of Carlton County, in its wake were water-filled basements, ruined belongings, displaced residents and a mountain of debt. In the hustle and bustle of trying to mop up, it would have been easy to overlook the smallest of casualties -- the children whose lives were disrupted in a very real and significant way.

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Enter Camp Noah, a free week-long day camp for children in kindergarten through sixth grade designed to provide extra support and resiliency skills, particularly for those who have been through last summer's flooding to help them cope with the stress involved.

Last August Carlton County applied for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) to help flood survivors in need of behavioral health support. A $120,000 grant was awarded to the county in February, part of which will go toward funding four sessions of Camp Noah. Sessions are planned for June 10-14 at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carlton, June 24-28 at Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake, July 8-12 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cromwell and July 15-19 at the Barnum Elementary School in Barnum.

"The camps will provide a great opportunity for children to have fun together, learn new skills, make new friends and, most importantly, know they are not alone in some of the feelings they may be having as a result of the storm," said Carlton Camp Noah coordinator Ginny Korte-Castle.

The Camp Noah concept got its start in response to the massive flooding in the Red River Valley of northern Minnesota and North Dakota in 1997. Since that time, Camp Noah has developed into a nationally recognized program for children affected by natural disasters. Camp Noah sessions have been held in 22 states as well as Puerto Rico, and more than 200 camps have served over 8,000 children since 2006.

The program is run primarily through a trained staff of local volunteers using a proven curriculum designed to help children process their disaster and/or trauma experience through creative activities and play.

Korte-Castle explained that children at the camp will enjoy arts and crafts, storytelling, puppet shows, games and other recreational activities.

The Carlton camp, which will kick off the summer's schedule, will be held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and breakfast will be served starting at 8:30 a.m. Lunch and snacks will be included as well.

"Our goal is to teach coping skills to children -- and that their community cares for them -- no matter what happens," said Bethesda Pastor Mike Fossen.

The church will host a kick-off event for the Carlton community on Sunday, June 9, at 5:30 p.m., including a casual dinner, a slide presentation from County Auditor Marci Moreland and a chance to visit with the national staff and local volunteers who will be hosting the Carlton camp. For more information on the event, or on Carlton's Camp Noah, contact Korte-Castle at 218-384-3896 or vircastle@gmail.com.

For information on Moose Lake's Camp Noah, contact Wendy at 218-310-4391 or wendyathope@gmail.com; in Cromwell, contact Donna at 218-341-1031 or donna.frank@lssmn.org; or in Barnum contact Roxy at 218-380-8195 or rolsen@barnum.k12.mn.us.

"The support and resiliency skills that are part of Camp Noah will give campers the confidence and hope they need to face challenges now and in the future," summed up Korte-Castle.

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