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Camp Noah helps children cope with disaster

In the Bible’s book of Genesis, Noah faced trials and tribulations in the face of a menacing storm, and was forced to evacuate with his family and animals for forty days.

This week, the First Christian Church of Port Arthur is hosting Camp Noah, put on by the Lutheran Social Service. In place of the church’s annual vacation Bible school, Camp Noah is a counseling camp, and as it states on its literature, where children have fun and experience hope again after the storm.

“We are hosting it due to our area directly facing the disaster,” camp co-director Meredith Brawner said.

“There is a counselor on site to discuss with the children the experiences they encountered during the hurricane. They are on hand to help.”

Tuesday, the children were visited by several area first responders, including the Port Arthur Police and Fire Departments, and Stat Care EMT’s.

“It was a way for the kids to see the people who were here taking care of things while they were gone,” Brawner said.

The camp is free, though those wishing to attend were required to pre-register before the camp began. The camp ages run from three and four years old through sixth grade, and this year 50 area youths are participating with 30 youth and adult volunteers to accomodate their needs.

“We learned about God and about Noah,” Kiara Baker, 9, of Port Arthur said.

“Noah had to prepare for the flood and evacuate just like we did,” Baker added. “At our house, we had just a few shingles missing and a pole fell on my momma’s car.”

According to Brawner, many of the kids attending the camp are still in temporary housing. Camp Noah is only hosted by the church, and has a goal of helping children cope with disaster while hearing and comparing their experiences to the story of Noah.

“We’re doing Camp Noah this year instead,” Brawner said. “It’s just more relevant this year.”