Penn State Berks students traveled to Detroit, Mich., to hold a summer camp for children who are still recovering from the devastation caused by the flooding that occurred in August 2014. The initiative is part of Camp Noah, and the trip was held the week of July 25-31.
According to Pastor David Hershey, Berks campus minister, the flooding that occurred in August in Detroit was the largest federally recognized disaster of the year, but very few outside the area heard about it. The lack of attention was the main reason for the camp, which seeks to help children who have lived through the trauma of natural disasters.
Under the guidance of Hershey, 11 Penn State Berks students and two alumni helped children ages 5 through 12 cope with the memories, trauma, and ongoing issues associated with poverty and homelessness that linger in their communities.
The week-long day camps are intended to help children build resiliency skills through a carefully designed curriculum that includes recreation, art, song, journaling, discussion and play. The camp curriculum helps the children regain a sense of hope as they recover by processing their loss in a caring and supportive environment.
"Penn State Berks students in the Applied Psychology and Education programs showed that they are able to put their classroom learning into practice as they worked in the trenches with these children,” stated Hershey. “Each of them represented themselves and Penn State well throughout the week. We told the kids at Camp Noah that their future is bright and they are special and the same is true for the Penn State students who made up our team — their future is bright and each one has amazing gifts and talents."
The program is operated and coordinated on a national basis by Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. Camp Noah is a week-long day camp for children whose communities have been impacted by disaster. Camps are held in the disaster-affected area in cooperation with local partners. Screened and trained caring volunteers provide a safe, fun atmosphere for children to tell their stories, grieve their losses, build resiliency skills, and find hope for the future.
For more information on Penn State Berks students’ involvement in Camp Noah, contact Hershey at email@example.com.