Hardin County youngsters who live in communities affected by Harvey, or any disaster, were given the opportunity to attend Camp Noah.
Camp Noah is a “nationally acclaimed resiliency camp” brought to Hardin County by the Hardin County Strong long term recovery group and the Rebuild Texas Fund.
Michelle Brewer, Disaster Recovery Director, says they received two grants to pay for two weeks of camp through the Rebuild Texas Fund.
The name of the camp is “tied in to the story of Noah, because of the flood and because of the hardships that Noah and his family faced in the flood,” said Brewer.
The first camp is being held in Lumberton at Woodcrest Methodist Church during the week of July 16 and the second camp will be in Sour Lake for the week of July 23.
The campers receive t-shirts and they make crafts that are symbolic of the mission of the camp, along with other activities. All of the meals and snacks are centered on the theme of the camp.
There is no cost to attend this camp. It is volunteer-driven and they are housed at the volunteer headquarters in Silsbee. “It takes about 40-50 people to run the camp. The whole concept is amazing,” Brewer said.
Shelley Angell, the Camp Noah team lead, said 40 plus children have attended the Lumberton camp so far, as of Tuesday. She and her fellow volunteers, including her two daughters, came from Naperville, Illinois and have been volunteering for Camp Noah since Hurricane Rita. Their first camp was in Lake Charles in 2006.
On Tuesday afternoon, the campers were outside enjoying snow cones and water balloons. Angell said, “This is their chance to let it all out and have fun.”
During the closing ceremony of the day, the children and volunteers sang songs of worship joyfully. “My Lighthouse” was a song that seemed to be popular with the campers. “You will lead us through the storms,” one of the verses of the song, seems very appropriate for this camp.
Siblings, Steven and Dakota Romero of Vidor, seemed to enjoy their second day of camp, especially the water balloons. Mom, Tabitha, described their experience with Harvey.
Their home is on the Neches River and it took on six feet of water during Harvey. “It was probably knee-deep when we left. We had to be rescued. That was not fun in the middle of the night. We had a tornado hit our house about two years before that,” said Tabitha.
She is grateful they are back in their home. “My husband has worked really hard. God really came through. Everything fell together, said Tabitha.
Two of Elizabeth Anderson’s children, Garrett and Gabby, attended Camp Noah this week.
“It’s really fun and the people there are really nice. And you get to do things like water play, and art, and they provide lunch and breakfast,” said Garrett.
Gabby says they are learning about God and there are other kids like her at camp.
They live on Keith Road and got about six feet into their house and they are living in a trailer now, Elizabeth said. This camp is relatable for the kids because they are with others who have been through similar circumstances. “It helps them to have as sense of normalcy. That’s what they need. The new normal is not normal. It never will be,” she said.
Details regarding Camp Noah can be found on Hardin County Strong’s Facebook page.