WOODRIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Summer camps resume at full capacity for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for the first time in two years and camp counselors are now receiving trauma-informed training as part of their standard preparation.
"Our campers are going to be walking in with experiences that have hurt them that are challenging for them," said training manager Melissa Landfield.
Some counselors at Camp Greene Wood went through the trauma-informed training which will help them respond to campers who may be stressed, grieving and impacted by violence.
"Our job is to respond and we are preparing our staff to respond to those needs," said Lesley Kennedy
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana chief equity officer. "We understand we need to double down on that commitment to girls to show up as a safe emotional space, especially because of the times we all have been living in
The training is part of a partnership with Lurie Children's Hospital Center for Childhood Resilience.
Having mental health professional available for every child experiencing trauma from violence or other situations is not realistic, so the center is training those who already have direct access to young people, like the Girl Scouts camp counselors.
"Making sure we are a listening ear someone they feel like they can turn to is really important and I think the trainings have helped a lot with that," said Maddie McNab, camp counselor.
"Before it might have been oh this is a troublesome camper but now it's like this is a camper who is going through something," said Mel Kumrow, camp counselor.
"Our hope is that the outdoors will be a healing space," Kennedy said.
While the trainers emphasize trauma-informed training, does not equip camp counselors to be therapists, they hope camp can be a safe place for young people to begin recovering from life's difficulties.