Camp in a Box Filled with Fun, Purpose and Adventure

Camp in a box includes t-shirt, glue, sunscreen, snacks and crafts
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COVID-19 continues to shape the landscape of The Salvation Army’s camping ministries across the country. While the 2021 season will look different, staff at Beaver Creek Camp in Northwest Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, are welcoming back campers.

“We are providing a virtual camp experience that children can enjoy during these challenging times,” says Captain Norm Porter, who overseas camping ministries in this region. “Our new online platform, Gather.Town, resembles a gaming/in-person experience.”

Camp in a box, or virtual camp, will be hosted at various Salvation Army locations. Campers will receive a box with crafts, brand wear and games. There will also be a daily challenge for children based on the camp theme for the day.

“Camp is a great opportunity to create a safe space for all children”

“Camp is a great opportunity to create a safe space for all children and show them they are loved, noticed and that people care,” says Porter, a former camper and staff member.

“I started working at camp at age 17, not long after my father passed,” says Porter. “At the time I went through a range of emotions that were often overwhelming. Camp was an embracing, supportive and caring community. As a leader today, I want our campers and staff to have the same experience.”

This summer, the camping program is including leadership development so staff are well-equipped to return to their communities and well-prepared for in-person camping next year.

“This year our staff training will include an Indigenous framework”

“Some of our staff and many of our campers identify as Indigenous,” says Porter. “This year our staff training will include an Indigenous framework based on Indigenous teachings and centred on deep listening. We will also visit  an Indigenous Centre, host Indigenous guests, learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s important that we all learn to walk gently and show respect and honour.”

Meanwhile, Porter and his camp staff are hard at work at Beaver Creek, which is nestled in 100 acres of beautiful woods, creeks and valleys, to upgrade buildings, paint cabins and make the camp as safe as possible for when camp resumes some sense of normalcy.

“It is a privilege to be part of camping ministries, the transformation of lives, and hear youth share their stories of the many ways camp changed them,” says Porter. “Camp adopts The Salvation Army’s mission  to meet human needs, share the love of Jesus and be transforming influences in our communities.”

By Linda Leigh