How did you spend your summer vacation?
More than any other season, summer provides Salvationists with outreach opportunities beyond their familiar corps’ walls. Following are reports from several divisions and Territorial Headquarters on how some Army units spent their “summer vacation.”
Each summer, in what often is a life-changing experience and a confirmation of God’s calling in their lives, young Salvationists from throughout the Western Territory travel in teams to various locations, domestic and foreign, sharing God’s love through service corps.
This year 25 young adults from the West participated in summer service corps, along with five South Africans who served alongside the West’s two Las Vegas team members, in an exchange with their country. This exchange was an exciting, new addition to the service corps program.
The teams worked in Germany/Italy, Las Vegas, Pacific and Marshall Islands, South Africa and Taiwan.
Sierra del Mar Camp
Nearly 1,000 campers participated in the weeklong camps at Sierra del Mar Camp in Ramona, Calif. One highlight was Music Camp, with over 100 young musicians from every corps in the division as well as young people from New Alternatives foster homes. Classes ranged from percussion to timbrels and from drama to chorus.
Awards were given in every music category and the top award winners were Deryn O’Brien for Best Musician and Amanda Webb for Best Camper.
Leslie Mora, from El Centro, thrilled the audiences with her flute performances and singing. Because Leslie cannot see, Music Director Jason Burn recorded the flute music for her on a small tape recorder and she memorized it during the week. This was a great accomplishment because the band rehearsed eight musical pieces.
Nine-year-old Community Service camper Emmree Poole aptly described the impact music at camp had on her, “The songs at camp really helped me. You learn the songs and then the songs are in your head and your heart and you know them forever. It felt like God was the one who made the songs. He was the one playing the music…the one singing along with me!”
Golden State provides enrichment for children of low income families
Children from San Francisco neighborhoods go to camp
Nearly 100 children gathered at Doughboy Park in Golden Gate Park for The Salvation Army’s eighth annual camp send-off picnic. They enjoyed sandwiches donated by Subway Restaurants and joined in face painting and volleyball. Campers came from various San Francisco inner-city neighborhoods. Following the registration picnic, the children were taken on buses to the Army’s Camp Redwood Glen in Scotts Valley for five days of outdoor fun and activities.
Each year more than 1,200 children from San Francisco and Central California attend summer camp programs organized by The Salvation Army to provide inner-city children with the opportunity to leave their urban environment and experience the outdoors in safe and nurturing surroundings. Costs are subsidized by donations from service clubs, private individuals and the Army’s annual campership mail appeal.
Eighth Annual Back-2-School Program
More than 1,500 children, ages 5-16, from low-income families participated in an integral and exciting part of going back to school—shopping for school supplies—at The Salvation Army Service Center “Store” in San Francisco. Pre-registered families arranged an appointment with a “personal shopper” and selected various free, new items they needed to be prepared for the new school term.
Del Oro: Hayward kids enjoy day camp and shopping spree
Fifty children enjoyed day camp at The Salvation Army’s Hayward Corps, Calif., each weekday for five weeks during the summer. Captain Kitty Lui-Granat, corps officer, organized the program; Cadets Dean and Hannah Lee, on summer intern assignment in Hayward, headed a team of staff and volunteer workers.
The day camp concluded with a week of vacation Bible school presented by the Del Oro divisional VBS team, with Mrs. Desiree Firl of Child Evangelism Fellowship leading morning devotions.
In another successful event, The Salvation Army after-school kids joined with hundreds of other children for a “shopping spree” at the Hayward Mervyn’s store. The event was co-sponsored by the “Kid’s Breakfast Club” and the Hayward Rotary Club.
Intermountain: High Peak Camp and back to school
High Peak Campers reach new heights
Over 500 kids from the Intermountain Division enjoyed an adventurous time at summer camp in Estes Park, Colo.—over 9,000 feet above sea level. Campers played “Olympic” games, rode paddleboats, hiked, climbed the ropes course, swam, fished, watched High Peak “Idol,” (with counselors as Idol competitors), and took respite in God’s awesome Rocky Mountains.
On Sundays, Divisional Youth Secretary Captain Gwyn Jones encouraged kids to come forward and pray to have Jesus come into their hearts. This summer over 221 campers prayed to receive Christ.
For the first time, all campers had the opportunity to experience the high ropes course; this was a definite faith and confidence builder. After completing the course, Khalia, a camper from Denver, said, “It was fun and scary and the same time! But I thought—I’m going to go all the way to the top!”
High Peak Camp faced a few obstacles that Noah could relate to. Said Jones, “We had some trials this summer, particularly with the rain. During music camp, we endured four straight days of rain pouring down. I went out and bought an entire display of ponchos from Wal-Mart!”
Knowing that their campers come from diverse backgrounds that sometimes lead to unexpected challenges, leaders at High Peak Camp hold fast to their mission to serve the total person: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually—in Jesus’ name.
Metro Denver Salvation Army helps kids prepare for school
For the past six years, The Salvation Army in Metro Denver has helped kids get the necessary tools for school. This year more than 5,300 children received a backpack and school supplies from the Army. These supplies went to over 75 schools that distributed them to children on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. There are more than 60,000 children in Metro Denver who qualify for this program. Many individuals, churches and corporations donated funds and school supplies that will positively impact the children in the community. The Salvation Army especially thanks the volunteers, Walgreens, Office Depot and Kmart stores, and the Colorado Coalition of Faith for their partnership.
Cascade: Local businesses support Salvation Army camp for children of deployed military
This summer, over 100 children waiting for a parent to return from military deployment experienced a week at The Salvation Army’s Camp Kuratli, in Boring, Ore., thanks to AM 860 KPAM radio and several other local
This is the second year that Camp Kuratli has hosted this special camp. As a result of its yearly fundraiser, Operation Santa Claus, AM 860 KPAM supports the efforts of The Salvation Army’s Home Front War Relief, a program that offers practical, emotional and spiritual support to families of deployed military. One of the projects supported is this week of camp.
“The families of our local military deal with stress that the rest of us just don’t know,” explains Major Bob Rudd, divisional commander of the Cascade Division. “Home Front War Relief allows The Salvation Army to reach out and provide for the unique needs that these families have. AM 860 KPAM and their partners, through Operation Santa Claus, are the main reason we can continue to offer help and encouragement to these families.”
The Salvation Army thanks AM 860 KPAM and their partners for helping them to do the most good for Oregon’s deployed military and their families.
Southern California: South Bay Christian Soccer Camp
The Salvation Army Torrance (Calif.) Corps, King’s Harbor Church and Coast Christian Church sponsored a successful first Christian soccer camp this summer.
The idea came out of a pastors’ meeting where discussion revealed that as good as the traditional vacation Bible school program is, it primarily reaches only the “church” kids. Wanting to serve the community, the pastors noted that families in Torrance are heavily involved in sports—especially soccer. They decided to put on a top quality soccer day camp where the Christian message was clear to all participants. After acquiring a permit to use the public high school, they were ready to go.
The theme was playing with HEART: honor, effort, attitude, risk, teamwork. One hundred children registered and were divided into age groups and given a color; they came up with their own team name. On “Wacky Wednsday” everyone dressed up in crazy outfits. Each day started with prayer and then soccer drills. Snacks were served, and at half time the children and staff gathered for a daily devotion based on HEART. The last day the gospel message was presented and an opportunity given to receive Christ. A highlight of the week was two Los Angeles Galaxy players who came and shared their testimony and passed out autographed soccer balls to each child, as well as shirts, shorts and a Galaxy ticket.
The children invited their families to a barbecue on the final day, and over 200 participated. Then the staff put on a demonstration game while the parents watched.
“It was a wonderful experience of Christians coming together as brothers and sisters in the Lord for a common love—evangelism and soccer,” said Captain Ivan Wild, Torrance corps officer. “No church took the credit; only Jesus was given the glory. It was truly the CHURCH in action!”
About 40 volunteers from the three churches gave a week of their time to make the camp a success. “For me,” Wild added, “it was great to work with other pastors who share the same passion. I also found out that there are pastors who are better soccer players than I am!”
Over a hundred children were blessed, some making a commitment, others being exposed to Christian love. Some of the comments from the community were: “This was a wonderful program, I did not realize it was Christian based.” “I am glad we can combine Christianity with soccer.” A Galaxy representative stated, “This is the best organized soccer camp I’ve experienced.” The plan is to hold the camp again next year and even to expand it.