Rural mental health students have productive week at FARM Camp 2019

Farm Camp Students 2019 

The 7th Annual FARM CAMP (Frontier Area Rural Mental Health Camp and Mentorship Program) was held in Rushville from May 30 – June 5, 2019.  FARM camp combines a college-level course with informal presentations by providers from various mental health disciplines in rural settings. The goal of FARM camp is to provide high school students with information about possible behavioral health careers. 

This year’s camp included 13 new students, ranging from incoming Freshman to graduating Seniors.  The camp also encourages alumni from prior years to attend again and work toward mentoring positions.  Six alumni from prior years attended the camp, including some who had attended three or more past camps.  Alumni assisted with guiding new students but also took on presentation roles in a variety of topics, including mental illness in cinema, art as a therapeutic tool, and many more.  Aside from the college curriculum and presentations by individual providers, the camp included an introduction to the concept of self-care and a variety of techniques to care for one's mental and emotional health.  Community members came to instruct the campers on activities such as yoga, tai chi, photovoice, and art therapy, to name just a few. 

At the conclusion of FARM camp, participants construct a hypothetical community project that is designed to improve the behavioral health of their home community. The camp participants get to present it to the entire camp audience for feedback and suggestions.  This year’s projects included a Narcotics Anonymous group for teens, a running club to improve mental and physical health in a rural town, a project to improve understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth and a community resource for at-risk youth. 

Each year at Farm Camp, students read the book format of Omaha artist Bob Donlan’s play, “Open Door.” This year author, artist and performer Bob Donlan attended FARM camp and performed his one-man show “Open Door” providing camp attendees with a powerful visual testimony of his journey to recovery, living with mental illness.

Students joining FARM camp this year were from Sidney, Broadwater, Rushville, Chadron, Gordon, Howells, Dodge, and Valentine.  After camp concluded, each participant was assigned a permanent mentor from among the staff. The mentors will follow the campers progress to provide additional support and guidance as needed.

“This year’s students were a great group – very cohesive and inclusive,” said Farm Camp Staffers, “They came from diverse backgrounds but came together for a very productive week.”

To find out more information about FARM Camp visit the website: bit.ly/WNBHFARMCamp