The earliest recorded camp programs operated by The Salvation Army were conducted in England in 1898. Subsequent years saw the development of ‘Poor Children’s Picnics’, an extensive program where large numbers of underprivileged youngsters from the city streets were given a day in the country.
As time went on, camps were organized, extending the outing period to a week or 10 days. The purpose was to build up the children with good food and lots of fresh air. Each child was weighed at the time of arrival and again at departure, with success of the program gauged largely on the weight gained.
In Canada, the Army’s first ‘fresh air’ camp for less fortunate children was held in Winnipeg in 1900. Today, close to 4,000 children attend Salvation Army week-long and day camps each summer.
Salvation Army camping programs aim to meet health, spiritual, educational, social and recreational needs through a creative, safe and fun experience. While children are surrounded by the wonders of nature they develop socially, learn new skills such as canoeing and rock climbing, and increase their competence in swimming, crafts and music (to name a few).
Some kids arrive at camp afraid. Others arrive with poor social skills. Some have few clothes to bring up, while some are loaded down with worries about problems at home. At camp they accomplish things they never thought were possible.
For more information on Salvation Army camps across Canada click on the links below.
For many kids, camp is a breathing space where the pressures of home and school are off. At camp, they have a chance to feel good about who they are and what they can do.