Camp Noah Seeks Host Partners to Bring Hope and Healing to Children Impacted by Disaster

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

For children, the emotional impact of disasters last long after cleanup has ended, and rebuilding has begun. Many experience sleepless disturbances, unusual aggression, and exhibit regressive behaviors such as thumb sucking and bedwetting. They may have lost their homes, their own personal treasures, a daily routine, and friends and family members who may have moved to another community. Even if a child did not experience the loss of their home or family members, they may still experience long-lasting effects of the tornados.

To help children recover from the devastating tornadoes in December of 2021, Camp Noah received a generous grant from the American Red Cross to bring hope and healing to children living in tornado-impacted communities in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee through a day camp filled with music, games, and fun. These activities enable children to process their feelings and fears, develop resiliency and coping skills, make new friends and receive support from caring adults. Camp Noah organizers are currently seeking partners to host a week-long camp in the community, including local congregations and community organizations that serve children.

 “Camp Noah provides children a safe place to talk about the disaster,” said Kim Dettmer, senior director of Camp Noah and Disaster Services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. “Children need to express their worries and often have learned to keep them to themselves because they can sense their parents are already stressed and they don’t want to burden them further. We bring fresh new ears to listen. By providing this camp, we also want to offer a break to parents who may be tending to rebuilding efforts, insurance concerns, or their own emotional recovery.”

Camp Noah, a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, started in 1997 after the Red River Valley flood in the Midwest. Since then, this unique camp has served more than 16,000 children and their families across the country, and internationally, who have experienced major natural disasters, including floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and human-caused disasters.

With a special curriculum developed specifically to help children recover from a disaster, Camp Noah invites children to share their stories and develop important resiliency skills such as self-esteem, problem solving, stress management and preparedness for their future.  Camp Noah serves kids who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade to help them process their trauma, recover emotionally, learn resiliency and preparedness skills. Day camp activities include skits, music, outdoor recreation, puppets, and crafts.  

“This is a great opportunity for kids in our area to meet new friends, have fun, and tell their own disaster story,” explained Grace Alworth, Camp Noah program manager for Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri. “There are many personal ‘storms’ we all face in life. Our goal is to give kids special support and teach them skills they can use to face challenges now and in the future with confidence and hope.”

The American Red Cross has generously awarded Camp Noah a grant to serve 450 children through 10 Camp Noah events by August 2023. If your organization can help children by serving as a host partner, please contact Grace Alworth at For more information about Camp Noah, visit