Hiking in the woods, doing crafts, singing songs by the fire – some of our fondest childhood memories come from summer camp. For Kingsport’s most needy children, these simple joys seem almost unattainable.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dream of having a carefree summer full of fun activities and new friendships seems a long way off.
However, with the support of the community, The Salvation Army can help create a transformative summer camp experience for children at risk.
While their 42 residential Salvation Army camps were suspended last year due to the pandemic, summer camps for 2021 are looming on the horizon.
“After such a difficult year, the kids are really looking forward to returning to camp this year,” said Joseph May, Kingsport Salvation Army Major. “Time spent in camp can be a life changing experience for children. It can instill feelings of self-worth, open up the world, and offer hope for the future.
For children who have never in their lives experienced being in a safe and loving environment around the clock, the opportunity to attend summer camp is an invaluable gift. With the support of the community, disadvantaged children in the Kingsport area will have this opportunity.
They will be playing sports, swimming, exploring the outdoors, and doing crafts. Beyond recess, with the help of trained counselors, they will have a daily Bible class, learn to live with a diverse group of peers, and deal with the troubling issues and concerns that challenge them in their daily lives.
Kingsport is currently seeking sponsorships for 30 children for a summer camp.
“School is out,” May said. “There are still a lot of places and not enough money to fill them. I hope the community will do well for these deserving children. For many of them, it’s the highlight of the whole year.
To donate to The Salvation Army Kingsport, you can send your gift to: Salvation Army, PO Box 2280, Kingsport, TN 37662. Donations to The Salvation Army Kingsport can also be made online at salutarméetennessee.org / kingsport.
“We are very grateful to our friends who sponsor these children. What a difference their generosity makes in the lives of these children, ”said May. “Children have the opportunity to interact with caring adults who listen to them and show them love and concern. Our campers not only enjoy nutritious meals and explore the great outdoors, but they learn important new life skills, such as anger management and conflict resolution, which will serve them well in their future.
The Salvation Army at Kingsport serves western Sullivan County and Hawkins County, Tennessee, and Scott County, Virginia. It is a partner agency of United Way of Greater Kingsport. To learn more about Salvation Army programs, call Major Joseph May at (423) 246-6671. You can also find them on Facebook at The Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport Tennessee.