Summer camp is going virtual this year for kids across the Division

Summer camp is going virtual this year
by Alberta
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The Salvation Army’s Pine Lake Camp is hosting a free virtual summer camp for kids of all ages. Due to COVID-19, all overnight summer camps have been cancelled, but this way kids can still be a part of summer camp, just in a different way.

“Summer camps are important for kids to get away from their daily lives, have new experiences, and make new friends,” says Lieutenant Erin Metcalf, Divisional Youth Secretary for the Alberta & Northern Territories Division. “We believe camp changes lives and has such a positive impact that we didn’t want them to miss out on it for a second year, so we decided to go virtual and bring camp to them.”

For many kids, camp is a breathing space where the pressures of home and school are off.  At camp, they have a chance to feel good about who they are and what they can do. Our camp programs aim to meet health, spiritual, educational, social, and recreational needs through creative, safe, and fun experiences. Campers of all ages are encouraged to be creative and be themselves in a non-competitive environment.

The past year has been challenging for everyone involved with camp. It has come with uncertainty as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continued to rise throughout the year. The move to virtual summer camp was a no-brainer and continuing to connect with the staff and kids involved was important.  We wanted to provide kids with the summer camp experience but through a safe alternative.

Once registered, kids will receive a package that will include camp swag, snacks, canteen items, a devotional book, and a zoom link to participate in this year’s online event. At the end of summer, kids will receive a personalized tie-dye pillowcase as a farewell gift.

It has been challenging to reach kids right now, and everyone involved with camp did not want to miss another year of creating a connection as they would have at an overnight camp. This year, camp staff will live on-site at Pine Lake and perform sketch routines for 60-minutes running from Monday-Friday. The camp leaders will provide the creative content and allow the kids an opportunity to participate at home with singing, games, and crafts.

“We were concerned about losing touch with those young adults and young teens,” said Lieutenant Erin. “If we can get them excited about working at camp, it gives them another way to be part of The Salvation Army and gets them excited about being part of their church. It’s a real leadership ground for them.”

Camp staff will work together and create a solid foundation based on leadership. The mornings will consist of creating, producing, and directing the online zoom event; the afternoons focus on leadership and spiritual development for the staff.

Pine Lake Camp is open to children and youth all over the Alberta and the Northern Territories Division. In a typical year, it would be an overnight camp with certain weeks dedicated to different areas of the division. The camp would offer wall climbing, canoeing, archery, pottery, swimming, photography, and much more.

Pine Lake Camp gives children living in low-income households an opportunity to enjoy overnight summer camp at a low fee. Many of the kids come from The Salvation Army’s social services and ministry units all over Alberta and the Northern Territories. This experience is a once in a lifetime for these kids, and your support to makes it possible for them to have the best summer of their lives.

Registration for virtual camp is free and is open until early August. Kids can sign up for multiple weeks but will only receive one registration kit. Register today at PineLakeCamp.ca

Virtual Camp Dates:

Week 1: July 12-16
Week 2: July 19-23
Week 3: August 2-6
Week 4: August 9-13

If you would like to donate and help keep Virtual Camp free, please call 780-423-2111 or 403-410-1112.