THE SALVATION ARMY SUMMER CAMP EXPERIENCE:
FROM FIELDS TO DREAMS
“Star Lake is a children’s ministry that works in the lives of everyone involved.”
― Jon, college student & former Salvation Army camp staff member
Camping and The Salvation Army have long been synonymous. Since opening in 1923, The Salvation Army’s Star Lake Camp has provided generations of at-risk youngsters throughout the Greater New York area with summer-camping experiences of a lifetime. For many of our young campers, though, The Salvation Army summer-camp experience is more than just a week or two in the country―it’s a doorway into a new, more hopeful future.
Every child deserves the chance for a summer-camp experience. For some families, though, even a nominal fee for a session at camp is a deal-breaker. When parents are having trouble putting food on the table or paying the rent, “luxuries” like summer camp are the first to go. Aimless days, boredom, and bad company often become the default alternatives in summer for children of families in these circumstances.
“People were there for me when I was young and I recognize how much of a difference and change they made in my life. I want to make that same difference and change in other people’s lives. . . . Everything I know how to play, I learned at The Salvation Army.”
― Devonte, Salvation Army youth music instructor & Star Lake music camp alumnus
“You’d be amazed how many of these kids had never hiked in the woods or sat by a campfire before. Our camping programs give them plenty of the great outdoors, and so much more. We teach them leadership skills. Kids from our community centers attend our music and creative arts camp. We have a sports camp, a literacy-enrichment camp. We like to think of our camp as a ‘holistic’ program that nourishes the mind, body, and spirit.”
― Captain Rohan Gage, Camp Director & Divisional Youth Leader, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division
“Some of these youngsters come from rough neighborhoods and broken homes. Star Lake often becomes a link to other Salvation Army services that have enormous impact on their lives. After camp, a youngster may get involved in our music-and-arts or after-school programs. Sometimes they bring their families who may get help through our feeding and clothing-assistance programs. Many times these families stay with us and begin volunteering as a way of giving back. And it all started with a session of summer camp!”
― Captain Sheila Gage, Camp Director & Associate Divisional Youth Leader, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division
“Last year, we provided over 3 million meals, over 500,000 nights of shelter, and over 625,000 days of child care to adults and families in need. Our first encounter with many of these families often can be traced to a child’s summer-camp experience with The Salvation Army. It’s a connection that has led to so many open doors and so many life-changing opportunities for both the child and the family.”
― Lt. Colonel Ricardo Fernandez, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division
“It was the best thing I’d ever done. It’s my most favorite place in the world. . . . . I love that place, but I love the ministry more and every child that enters those gates. I treasure my many memories of Star Lake Camp. My life changed forever, and I mean, forever.”
― Ann, former Salvation Army camper & camp staff member