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There is a reason summer camps are so popular in America: they offer an amazing array of benefits to children and families alike. The Salvation Army’s network of free summer camps allows kids of all ages, despite their family’s income level, to have a safe, fun, unforgettable summer camp experience and enjoy outdoor recreation, educational activities, and hands-on projects.
During camp season, The Salvation Army provides a wide range of engaging camp activities for kids, such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, archery, and other sports. In addition, the camps also offer educational and non-sports programs, such as arts and crafts, music, and drama. Kids are encouraged to develop social skills through team-building activities, leadership training, and community service projects. The Salvation Army summer camps provide kids with the opportunity to learn new skills, make friends, and create lasting memories—impactful childhood experiences that too often are only enjoyed by children from higher-income homes.
Play is crucial for the social, emotional, and physical health of children. However, many children who live in areas where disadvantage is concentrated have too few safe, close-to-home parks, natural areas, and recreation sites or facilities. That’s why The Salvation Army’s summer programs for kids from low-income households are so important.
Every year, these summer camp programs provide thousands of kids of all ages with a fresh perspective on life as they meet new friends, discover new talents, and experience the benefits that being outdoors provides. And because children living in stressful social and economic conditions have limited opportunity, resources, and/or access to leisure activities, including arts and sports—summer camp holds special meaning. In addition to the fun camp activities, kids can learn to swim, play sports, make music, create arts and crafts, and participate in scouting—all under safe and supportive supervision by trained counselors. Moreover, The Salvation Army camp counselors are equipped to help children navigate the complicated emotions and struggles that can arise for those who experience poverty and related hardships. More than just a seasonal refuge, summer camp for children can have a positive impact on a child's self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being.
Busy kids are happy kids. The Salvation Army summer camp activities provide a safe, structured, and positive environment, keeping kids of all skill levels active and engaged while also giving them the opportunity to learn about building relationships with peers and the world around them. Camp sessions are programmed with hands-on activities for kids that spark curiosity and collaboration and foster education.
>Poets and artists have long recognized the restorative effect nature can have on us, and science has turned theory into fact. Unfortunately, children from families living in poverty have far less access to nature than individuals and families from higher incomes. Summer camp can provide a beneficial reprieve from nature deprivation. Research shows that spending time outdoors in natural environments can improve a student’s test scores, reduce aggressive behavior and increase positive social interactions, and even speed physical healing for children. Kids at our summer camps benefit daily from the fresh air, exercise, and new friendships they form.
The Salvation Army summer camp experience is more than just a short vacation or rite of passage in childhood. For kids from low-income households, the impact of camp extends beyond the swimming lessons, adventure and scouting camps, arts and crafts, music development, and sports. At camp, kids are mentored by experienced camp counselors. The Salvation Army camp counselors are trained to recognize the effects of the stressors of poverty on children and respond to a child’s emotional needs so kids feel safe, included, and welcome.
In an effort to help more children from low-income households to attend camp, most of our summer camps accept state-provided child care subsidies, and scholarships are also available to help families offset the cost. Parents are encouraged to contact Salvation Army summer camps directly for more information.
In both after-school and summer camp programs and services for children and families, The Salvation Army is committed to accommodating all those in need without unlawful discrimination or harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other characteristic in accordance with our capacity to help.
Each state-of-the-art Kroc Community Center gives families a chance to discover new skills, passions, and hobbies while connecting with friends and neighbors in a safe, supportive environment. Each facility offers after-school programs, recreational opportunities, and community programs dedicated to fostering healthy futures.
With over 400 after-school programs nationwide, we foster an environment of learning long after the school day ends. By providing a safe place to study, read, learn, connect with friends, play sports, and enrich the mind, we give at-risk kids a healthy alternative to less-desirable after-school options.
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Watch how The Salvation Army lets kids experience summer camp for the first time.
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