Hiking in the woods, making crafts, singing songs by the campfire − some of our fondest childhood memories come from summer camp but for at-risk children in Hampton Roads, these simple joys seem unattainable. These children instead spend their summer’s wandering the streets or hanging out with other idle kids, too often a recipe for trouble.
The Salvation Army can help struggling local families avoid this outcome for their children. Last year in the United States, thousands of children attended some 48 Salvation Army residential camps. “It’s an experience not to be missed,” says Captain Brett Meredith of The Salvation Army. “Time spent at camp can be a life-changing experience for kids. It can instill feelings of self-worth, open up the world and offer hope for the future.”
Captain Meredith reports that last summer the citizens of Hampton Roads gave the precious gift of camp to 100 local children, some of whom had never in their lives experienced being in a safe, loving environment 24 hours a day. Through these donations, underprivileged Hampton Roads children enjoyed weeklong camps where they played sports, swam, explored the outdoors and made crafts. And beyond the recreation, with the help of trained counselors they learned how to live together with a diverse group of neighbors, dealing with the troubling issues and concerns that challenge them in their daily lives.
The Salvation Army is currently seeking sponsorship for 200 children for summer camp 2013. “School will be ending soon,” Captain Meredith points out. “There are lots of spots left and not enough money to fill them. I pray the community will come through for these deserving kids. For many of them, it’s the highlight of the whole year.”
Beginning in June, The Salvation Army hosts fun, educational, and enriching youth summer camps at Camp Happyland in Richardsville, VA. Donor support makes it possible for families to send their children to these camps for a cost of just $50 to the family.
To donate to The Salvation Army, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, mail your gifts to PO Box 388, Norfolk, VA 23501, or make a donation online at SalvationArmyHRVA.org/Camp.
“We are so grateful to our friends who sponsored these children,” Captain Meredith says. “What a difference their generosity makes in these children’s lives. The kids get to interact with caring adults who listen to them and show them love and concern. Our campers not only enjoy nutritious meals and explore the great outdoors; they learn important new life-skills and positive self image that will stand them in good stead for their future.”