Camp helps kids cope

By Erica Quednau |, Anna Carrera

Published 06/23 2014 06:40PM

Updated 11/12 2014 03:45PM

Update: 4:10 pm, 6/27/14, Friday
GIFFORD -- After a week of camp, kids are feeling better about the tornado which hit town in November. Friday was the last day of Camp Noah.

Kids listened to his story about the storm he survived and learned lessons about moving forward. They also played games and did crafts. The kids say it really helped get their minds off what happened.

By the way, Rylee said Monday, her friend Gigi's house, wasn't going to be rebuilt. That's because she moved into a new one.
Original: 6:40 pm, 6/23/14, Monday
GIFFORD -- A week-long day camp is helping kids cope with the aftermath of November's tornado. Some kids are still trying to make sense of everything that happened.

A lot of people have talked about the storm that night, but hearing it from a kid gives you a whole different perspective. That's why volunteers with this camp want to help them understand better.

When you think about life through the eyes of a child, you'll find they see what adults see, but sometimes in a very different way.

"My birthday was November 16 and the tornado was November 17," said Mattie Kennel, who is 10 years old.

"I keep on having these dreams, bad dreams," said Rylee Shields, who is six years old. Her dreams are about tornadoes.

There are no signs of tornadoes at Camp Noah. Instead, the kids are learning about what makes them special.

"We got our minds off the tornado because we were having fun and you could tell they were trying to get it off our minds," said Paige Willard, who is nine years old.

"You really get to see these kids have fun and grow and recover from what they've been through," said volunteer Tessa Dahlgren.

They've been through a lot already. And you can tell it's still on their minds.

"Every time I wake up in the morning and I go outside and get the mail or play outside, you hear construction working and it brings back bad memories of the tornado," said Mattie.

"What's scaring me about the tornado is some houses never got built, like Gigi's," said Rylee. "Do you know who Gigi is? Her house is never going to be rebuilt."

But this is a new opportunity.

"Specifically focused on where children are at and their needs," said Erin Hatzung, who is a youth minister. "Share their story and help them process the disaster and it's kind of like a week of healing."

They listened to Noah's story, about the storm he survived. Through the week, they'll learn more lessons about how they can move forward, which will add new perspective for the future.

Camp Noah is being put on by the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Volunteers from there, who aren't hanging out with the kids, are also spending the week in town. They're helping with siding, roofs and cleaning debris.

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