One at a time 34 children bounded off a coach bus at The Salvation Army Ottawa Citadel after a full week at Salvation Army summer camps in the Muskoka on beautiful Skeleton Lake.
Perhaps a little tired after a long ride but the children aged 6 to 15 were excited to see their families and tell them about their fun week in the great outdoors.
A BBQ event for parents and children was set up at the Ottawa Citadel to greet the families as the children arrived home from Jackson’s Point and Newport Adventure Camp.
Over 2000 children from Ontario attend Salvation Army summer camps over 8 weeks in the summer.
Captain Graciela Arkell is one of the officers at The Ottawa Citadel who was there to greet the children and their families.
“Many of the children expressed they really liked story time, swimming and sitting by the campfire but the most common thing we heard was about how much they loved the food and the friends they made at camp,” said Graciella. “One of the children expressed that with the snacks offered in between meals they never had time to be hungry.”
As she picked up her son from the bus one of the parents said “It’s great that he can go to an away camp. I did when I was a kid and some of my best memories are from camp.”
“The good-byes to their new friends were very touching,” said Graciella, “There were lots of high fives and the kids exchanged contact information. I know they are building really good friendships.”
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores across Canada raise funds every year to help send more kids in need to summer camp. This year nearly 10 thousand dollars was raised for the region.
Funds raised through the Christmas Kettle Campaign also help send kids to camp.
Diana Javier, Director of Community and Family Services, who registers the children for camp joined the group on the bus to and from camp.
“Some of the younger children are a bit emotional on their first trip to away camp but we’re prepared for that and we also see anxious parents,” said Diana. “But coming home they talked excitedly about the activities they enjoyed.”
When asked what they thought of camp one of the teens replied “It was awesome! I kayaked did the rope course, went swimming and did archery!”
“We want to be able to give kids a good experience for building relationship, developing leadership and life skills while getting them into the outdoors running around, playing, swimming and making friends,” said Diana, “We also teach them about Jesus Christ and the basics of God’s love.”
“On behalf of The Salvation Army and the families we are so grateful to those who help make these experiences possible. You are helping to enrich these children’s lives and expand their horizons,” she said.
To learn more or to register your child for camp please visit www.ilovecamp.ca