Healthy, hearty meals, Bible lessons, canoeing, tight ropes and campfires. That’s what close to 4,000 children will experience at Salvation Army camps this year.
Captain Rick Zelinsky, Executive Director for Ontario Camping Ministries, used to attend Salvation Army camp as a child. He says if kids are looking for a fun, well-rounded summer camp experience, this is it.
“Camp gives them freedom to be a kid,” says Zelinsky. “It’s a great opportunity to meet friends and there’s immediate comradery. It’s a friendship that moves beyond the borders of our camp property.”
Eleven-year-old Sebastian will be attending Salvation Army camp for a third consecutive year. “I look forward to seeing my friends, learning about God and all the different activities,” says Sebastian.
The ultimate goal is to give kids the tools to succeed in life–courage, empathy, positive attitude and how to be part of a team, which Sebastian has really come to enjoy. Sebastian says Salvation Army camp has given him more self-confidence, responsibility, knowledge of God and music. He loves to play ball hockey but archery is where he really shines.
“Camp leaders listen to you and answer your questions,” says Sebastian. “They’re happy, make me laugh and cheer me on.”
One of the areas Sebastian has become more comfortable with is performing. In the evenings, skits are acted out and there’s even stand-up comedy.
“I feel comfortable going on stage, and performing in front of everyone,” Sebastian says.
The camp operates with lots of empathy. There are many staff who have attended Salvation Army camp at a young age. They feel that working at camp gives them an opportunity to influence the lives of children and youth, for good.
“I hope kids leave camp with the understanding that God loves them and there is a purpose for their life,” says Zelinsky. “That’s one part of the program. Another aspect is that Salvation Army Camps strengthen families and are a place of retreat and respite for the kids.”
To donate to The Salvation Army’s camping program, click here.
By Shannon Wise