With help from a Smart and Caring Community Grant, The Salvation Army Cascade Community Ministries (The Salvation Army) offered two camp programs for Abbotsford youth this past summer. The purpose of the Smart and Caring Community Grants program is to provide funding to programs or projects addressing at risk children and families in our community.
The first program was a one-week overnight camp at The Salvation Army’s Camp Sunrise on the Sunshine Coast for children aged 7 to 12 years during the month of July. Due to COVID-19, this was the first time in over two years that The Salvation Army was permitted to offer overnight camping opportunities. With grant funding and other donations, the Camp Sunrise program was significantly subsidized to $50 per camper with additional subsidies offered. Although The Salvation Army was still determining how parents would feel about sending their children to an overnight camp after COVID-19 restrictions have eased, they shared that the level of interest among parents was strong. They had no difficulty reaching their goal of 55 children registered for Camp Sunrise, with a total of 53 children attending in the end.
The second program was a five-week day camp for children aged 5 -12 years in July and August. The Fun Day in the Park Camp At Home program was provided free of charge at Delair Park. Each week, the camp program had a different theme. Campers engaged in activities that supported physical and emotional health and social interaction, such as sports, games, arts and crafts, stories, baking and meeting special guests. For this program, The Salvation Army turned to a drop-in format, allowing children to come on select days rather than booking a week at a time. They reported that 54 children participated in their Camp At Home program.
During career week, Abbotsford Police Crime Prevention Department members visited the group to share some important safety tips. In addition, staff from The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services taught camp participants how to be prepared for a natural disaster and what to do during an earthquake. According to The Salvation Army, partnering with other community agencies was another highlight for this year’s Camp At Home program. Campers could also interact with bunnies, chickens, sheep, goats and a miniature pony when Cinemazoo brought their mobile petting farm to the day camp program. With an emphasis on education, campers learned about animal husbandry and anatomy through engaging displays and real animal bones.
The Salvation Army’s main goal for both camps was to provide youth with fun and safe opportunities during the summer school break by offering them positive interactive engagement for their physical, mental and social well-being. They were also looking to give parents some respite during the summer, remove all barriers to participation, offer meaningful employment for students, build community, and address community needs. They reported that eight children attended both programs, so they connected with 99 children and their families in total this summer.
On top of subsidizing the overnight camp program and offering the day camp for free, They used grant funding to hire an additional student worker and purchase program supplies.
The Salvation Army shared that they are incredibly grateful to the Abbotsford Community Foundation for supporting their Camp Sunrise and Camp At Home programs this summer through the Smart & Caring Community Grants program. Thanks to our generous donors, they continue to make a positive impact on children and families in our community.
To learn more about the Smart and Caring Community Grants program, click here.