The Salvation Army Pine Lake Camp is a special place. Aside from the abundant natural beauty, there is a feeling of community that draws campers back year after year. Kids aged 7-16 come from all over the province to spend a week at camp to visit old friends and make new ones, choose and enjoy activities that peak their interests, and connect with the outdoors.
Every summer Pine Lake Camp hosts 450 kids from all over the province. The camp welcomes kids from all backgrounds, including low-income or marginalized families and foster care families. Often, summer camp is the only vacation they will get.
“We really work to ensure that this is a place that kids feel welcomed and heard. There’s such a variation of campers and our goal is to provide them with a great experience that they may not have access to otherwise,” says The Salvation Army’s Child and Youth Program Assistant, Megan Clarke.
Geoffrey, who is 15, has been attending Pine Lake Camp every summer for the past eight years. His family are long-time church members and have been active participants of camp since moving to Calgary years ago.
“When you hear all the other people’s stories that come to camp you try your best to make friends with them and help them have a good experience,” says Geoffrey.
The camp comes fully equipped to give kids the best experiences they could ask for. From wall climbing and archery, to pottery and sing-a-longs, Pine Lake Camp is a place for kids to just be kids. It sits overlooking Pine Lake and there are benches dotted throughout the camp for participants have a little bit of quiet time and take in the view.
“Whenever I do an activity and people say ‘imagine your safe space’ I always think of camp,” says Geoffrey with a smile before heading off to the archery range.