Sending a child to an overnight camp can be seen as a luxury, but Salvation Army donors across New York State make it possible for hundreds of children to attend Salvation Army camp, free of charge.
The Salvation Army’s residential camp, Long Point Camp, on Seneca Lake, is a respite from city streets for many children. Each summer, more than 150 children from Syracuse attend Long Point Camp, situated on 138 acres of wooded hills and shoreline on the western side of Seneca Lake.
Parent Marianne Jackson agrees that sending her children to any other camp would be impossible. “I am truly blessed to have a child to camp and have a good time,” she said. Her 11 year old son attended last year and had a blast. “Camp can be not only a good time, but gives kids a sense of independence being away from parents and encourages learning and growing. My son was surrounded by camp counselors from all over the world, which he loved. I’m happy that my daughter will also be attending this summer along with my son,” she explained.
One parent from Syracuse drove out to Long Point Camp’s open house to visit the facility so she would be comfortable sending her son there. This year, he will be attending for his third year. “Yes, he was nervous the first time, but I didn’t realize how much Long Point Camp has to offer. My son loves the counselors, the drama classes, dancing, sleeping outside in a tent, swimming and kayaking. Now, he wants to return as a counselor when he gets older,” said Carrinda Bacon.
Amanda Patrick agrees that residential camp teaches independence. “It’s a Christian camp and they make it fun even with Bible study. My 8 year old son attended and was able to select two clubs he was interested in, science and soccer clubs. I noticed when he returned from camp that he was more independent, he would make his bed and do little chores around the house,” she noted.
“The communities that donate to the Salvation Army can’t see the kids have fun at camp, but I can, and I witness the strong impact camp has on a child, the joy and fun they have at camp. It means so much to children who carry many family responsibilities at home, a place where they can be a kid,” says Captain Dorothy Budd, co-director of The Salvation Army’s Long Point Camp with her husband, Captain Shane.
“It is such a different experience than their home which can often be in a troubled neighborhood. We provide a high quality program that provides each camper opportunities to grow spiritually, emotionally, socially and educationally,” said Captain Shane.
As kids get ready to come to camp, many children arrive without the necessary clothing, towels, toiletries, pillow or footwear to last a week at camp. Camp counselors go out the evening these children arrive and purchase needed items for them to have an ideal camp experience.
Captain Dorothy relates a story from last summer of a young boy who kept asking for duct tape.
“He needed the duct tape to tape up the bottom of his sneakers and he was afraid that if his shoes fell apart, he would have to go home. We got him a new pair of sneakers and he was able to enjoy camp,” she said.
You can help us provide the necessary items by donating brand new items that children will need for camp such as soap, shampoo, towels, beach towels, or bathing suits. You can drop off new items at The Salvation Army Worship and Community Center at 749 S. Warren Street in downtown Syracuse during weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or at radio station 93Q, Cumulus Broadcasting offices on James Street, weekdays during business hours.
Help us to provide a life changing experience for a kid to be a kid for a week.
Here’s a list of items that can be donated for male and female campers, children sizes 5-16 or adults small to 2 XL: