‘They don’t have to be scared’: EKY camp to help kids with trauma after floods last July

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Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 2:54 PM EDT
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KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - As the one-year anniversary of the historic July 2022 flood inches closer, kids in Knott County are getting the opportunity to unpack some of the trauma they may still carry months later.

It is a camp called Camp Noah and it’s designed to bring hope and healing to communities that have been impacted by disaster.

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“Camp Noah is just a camp that is for children that have been affected by the flood. Just to give them extra support,” said team leader and Knott County native Heather Smith.

The weeklong camp is spent acknowledging that the flood changed lives and it gives kids the opportunity to process what happened.

“Each day they learn something about themselves. That they’re special, they can be prepared. They don’t have to be scared,” said site coordinator Regina Terry.

The kids are given a safe space to talk about their flood experience. 9-year-old Kellan Bates shared some of his story but said the week reminded him to always be grateful.

“My mom and a friend of my mom had to pack us out of the house because the flood water. It would have been over my head if I would have gone in the water,” Bates said.

Counting their blessings while also having fun and hugging Crisis Response Canines along the way. Handler Teresa Brick said they traveled from Ohio, and her dog Rory sat next to each kid as they had the opportunity to talk through their trauma.

“It makes a difference, and you could see every one of them reaching down to grab an ear or you know just rubbing their hands through her fur as they were talking. Just petting her and you could almost just see them kind of melt with it. It really makes a difference for them,” Brick said.

A camp for the kids and reminding the community that kids like Kellan are not losing hope.

When he was asked what he was grateful for he said, “surviving the flood.”

Camp Noah is owned by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and operates nationwide.

However, Knott County volunteers were trained and received the curriculum to be able to host the event this year.