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The Salvation Army Day Camp: A Safe Haven For Low-Income Children

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This post was contributed by Allyson Cole, a Salvation Army volunteer.

Each summer, The Salvation Army hosts a summer day camp for low-income children at the East Lake Corps and Community Center.  Not only does the camp offer a fun-filled summer, but it also provides a safe place for the children to spend their time.

Many children who attend the day camp come from rough neighborhoods where crime often occurs.  Unfortunately, some of these children are not strangers to the violence, drugs and gangs that are commonly seen within their community.  Some have even been asked to join gangs.  The day camp gives the children an alternative summer that keeps them off the streets.

The children experience many things at day camp that they might not experience otherwise.  Each day, they hear a Bible devotion, play games, dance, do crafts, exercise and swim in the only pool located in the East Lake area.  Some days the children go on field trips to places like the Chattanooga Zoo or the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Yaleigh (on the left) and her friends at camp.

Yaleigh (on the left) and her friends at camp.

Yaleigh, 9, is loving her first year at day camp.  She said one of her favorite parts of the day is when Capt. Viera does the devotion.  “We learned that Moses had a brother and a sister, and I never knew that,” she said.  Not only is she learning the Bible truths at day camp, but she is also taking them home with her to tell her friends and family.

Yaleigh considers the day camp to be an escape from the neighborhood she lives in.  She loves her camp counselors and considers them to be great role models for her to look up to.   Yaleigh said she’s thankful to God for giving her the opportunity to attend day camp.  “I know that God wanted me to come here,” she said.

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