By Joanne Anderson
Special to the Advocate
The day-camp was held July 24-28 at
The camps, guided by trained and caring staff, were offered at no expense to 50 campers. “Children from throughout our Katrina-torn communities participated,” said First UMC Children’s Minister Sherry Judy, who coordinated the project.
Judy pointed out that
“Many children believe that they did something bad to cause the disaster and that God may be punishing them for their behaviors,” she said. “It is important for them to learn that nature caused the disaster and that God loves them deeply – no matter what!”
The curriculum for the camp is based upon the Old Testament story of Noah and the flood. “Hearing the story of Noah and comparing themselves to it gives the children the platform to talk about the various phases and emotions of their own disaster experience,” Judy said. “Children and their families gain support by discovering that their peers share similar feelings and fears and that, through faith in God, there is strength and hope for the future.”
Children, many of whom lost their homes, toys and pets, enjoyed skits, games, music, crafts, skating, and singing as they learned how to process their feelings in the storm’s aftermath. “They were able to relate to the Bible story in which Noah prepared for disaster, evacuated to the temporary housing of the
“We were wonderfully blessed by our efforts to provide a
First UMC Program Minister Gerri Pierce, whose 8-year-old granddaughter Maria attended the camp, was pleased with the results. “Maria had never talked about her losses from the storm,” she said. “After the camp, she opened up about her feelings and we were able to talk things out. I know it was a healing experience for her.”
Funding assistance was provided by Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Christian World Service and Disciples of Christ. Other funds were provided through grants and donations of many others.
Dantzler Memorial UMC in
A creation of Lutheran Disaster Response,