Did you know The Salvation Army sends more than 232,000 kids to 45 day and summer camps each year? You probably remember that rush of excitement you felt as a kid when that last bell would ring, marking the official start to summer vacation! Was there anything more exciting outside of Christmas?!
For those of you who were lucky enough to attend summer camp as a kid, you understand the value of having time away from home, playing, making new friends and facing challenges. For many kids served by The Salvation Army, annual summer camp programs are a new and exciting experience to enjoy fresh air, exercise and make new friends! About 95% of the children who attend The Salvation Army camps come from low income, section 8, or homeless families who would never be able to afford summer camp experience for their youngsters. Summer does little to relieve the stress of living in poverty, an abusive home, or a troubled neighborhood, but for the kids that attend camp, true peace is found in a different environment. Summer camps provide the opportunity for kids of varying ages to explore the outdoors away from home. Campers participate in a variety of activities that might not be available within the walls of a Salvation Army Community Center. Activities can range from swimming, hiking, boating, playing tennis or basketball, or just lounging around in the sun and talking with friends. All campers attend programs that entertain while also teaching the practical message of God's love.
The Salvation Army hears countless stories about how one transformational week at camp changed an at-risk child’s life forever teaching them independence, confidence, and broadening their life perspective. "When Andy arrived, he knelt down in front of a sad and distraught Brett, and lifted his head so that they would be eye to eye. I will never forget the depth of compassion, grace and empathy these two boys shared that night. The words of comfort, caring, and courage that Andy offered to Brett where only possible because Andy had experienced the same authentic unconditional love here at camp when he faced a similar circumstance only a week earlier. Camp makes a difference in kids’ lives. I saw it with my own eyes and felt it deep in my soul as these two boys embraced and said goodbye. God resides where children are free to love and live—that’s camp. That’s where you’ll find me." -Excerpt from New Frontier Chronice, story here
The camping experience is so much more than just a vacation. Children learn new skills and self-reliance; trained counselors help them to mature, staying in touch even after the children return home. The skills and memories that these kids take with them are priceless. We encourage and invite you to support The Salvation Army Summer Camp programs, enriching the lives of kids in need.