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Unique Camp Serves Social Service Clients

The Mt. Crags Experience

In addition to the many hundreds of children who passed through the summer camps at this year, something very special also took place in the Southern California Division–the first ever “Social Services Camp.”

This innovative program was aimed at meeting the needs of 120 men and women from the Los Angeles Social Services units, all in various stages of recovery from drugs and alcohol. “We wanted to offer them all the excitement of a summer camp, while making it relevant and meaningful to their situation,” stated Steve Allen, director of Social Services, who headed up a staff team.

During the five-day stay at Camp Mt. Crags, the residents were introduced to the week’s theme, “Principles for Living.” Each day commenced at 6 a.m. with an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a time of praise and worship, and plenty of coffee! After breakfast, the men separated for “The Masculine Journey,” which was a series of workshops led by Roy Snapp-Kolas, executive director of The Haven, examining ways in which men are tempted to use their sexuality and competitiveness in destructive ways.

“The Feminine Journey,” led by Sharon Allen, Harbor Light; Patricia Bauman, Safe Harbor; and Estella Wilson, The Haven, facilitated sessions for women dealing with relationships, parenting and co-dependency.

Many biblical references served as examples in order to illustrate the character qualities involved when God calls men and women to develop as they journey through life.

The residents particularly enjoyed having opportunities to participate in first time experiences involving teamwork exercises, swimming, basketball, volleyball and the high ropes. Hikes up to the “little cross” also made a big impression, with times of prayer often resulting.

The highlight was the Sunday morning worship. Following a time of praise and worship, led by the Harbor Light Worship Band, and with a contribution from the Safe Harbor Gospel Choir, Capt. Don Gilger and Allen led a testimony time, involving one minute testimonies. Forty-five minutes later, there was not a dry eye in the chapel. People shared from the depths of their heart, as to how God had dramatically changed their lives, many of whom were sharing victories that had happened during their stay at camp.

Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef spoke powerfully, and addressed the challenges lying ahead for the residents as well as their need to be totally reliant on God’s power as they stepped off their “mountain top” experience and back to their own situations. Van Cleef made the appeal while Barbara Allen sang “Someone Cares.” More than 100 knelt by their own chairs, many making prayers of affirmation or rededication, while others made first-time commitments.

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