Children's Summer Camp Reflection

The 1st Annual New Friends New Life Children's Summer Camp offered New Friends New Life’s Children & Youth Advocates and Counselors time to spend with the kids to address areas of need already known, as well as much-needed time to further assess and determine immediate areas of needed growth, not necessarily visible on Wednesday nights.  The approach to the camp was one of holistic education.  Learn more about the children’s camp experience. {link to blog}

Everyday each student had a time of academic, emotional, social, and Biblical studies, and still plenty of time for good old-fashioned fun.   The staff was able to observe the students in different settings, in various roles, completing a range of activities.  Valuable information was gained to further hone the New Friends New Life tutoring program by seeing first-hand the academic challenges of each child.  The daily therapy sessions illuminated the reality that these children are dealing with emotionally. Through team building activities and games, a healthy sense of trust and family was organically developed, adopted and honored throughout the entire week.  Through the Bible study on prayer, the hope to plant seeds of faith and further develop the students' understanding of the loving relationship with God through scripture reading and application activities was accomplished. 

New Friends New Life Academic Specialist, Ashley Belcher, Children's Program Coordinator, Dr. Michelle Woody and Exxon Mobil Intern, Selena Montelongo at camp.

New Friends New Life Academic Specialist, Ashley Belcher, Children's Program Coordinator, Dr. Michelle Woody and Exxon Mobil Intern, Selena Montelongo at camp.

For the first time ever, and with great result, 7 of our children attended five days of a resource development therapy group based on a prominent trauma treatment. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.  The children came in needing to hear that are just like everyone else and they are in charge of their feelings not victims.

Post group responses from the children included statements like:

  • I learned feeling stuff is ok, 

  • I need to talk to people instead of try to forget,

  • I have more ideas of what I can do when I'm angry.

Finally, the fun of being kid, acting silly, and feeling carefree was celebrated by all.  Dressing like pirates, building with blocks and playing outside reminded us that these kids are just that, kids.  New Friends New Life’s ability to offer them the opportunity to grow holistically, but also enjoy childhood proved to priceless.

Author: Ashley Belcher