Summer Camps Reimagined with Camp in a Box

by rubani
Categories: Divisional News

Traditional summer camps have a new look this year.

When COVID-19 caused businesses and events to shut down for the unforeseeable future, ambiguity clouded even the minds of The Salvation Army, an organization whose mission is to serve the community in times of need.

However, many within the Army saw it as an opportunity to innovate while still keeping the spirit of the past alive.

“We were trying to come up with ideas to do something for the community. With everything closed during COVID, we wanted to do some sort of camp at home,” said Captain Tracy Savage, Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Richmond Hill. “We started off with small packages with Legos, a movie or some sort of activity for families to do together. That’s sort of how Camp in a Box came about.”

Spearheading this wonderful initiative was Madeline Rawlins, Children and Youth Director at The Salvation Army Richmond Hill.

“I wanted to see how we could connect with our community members like we used to, without being able to meet in person.”

Camp in a Box consists of 5 day’s worth of activities, complete with daily devotionals. It includes online videos, activities and even some snacks. Each day consists of an hour worth of activities, all broken down into what you could find yourself doing at an in-person camp. The activities are family oriented, so everyone can be involved.

There’s also a daily challenge: either a game or a craft. All activities and challenges have been based on a superhero theme and have been classified under the umbrella of ‘Zero 2 Hero’.

“We named it ‘Zero 2 Heroes’, for the sole reason that heroes are loyal and that there’s no such thing as small. The messages of hope are abundant and this was a great way to convey those examples,” said Tracy.

Madeline added, “Since we’d been hearing a lot about healthcare heroes, in addition to mentions of it in pop culture (like with The Avengers), we wanted to pose the question of what it ACTUALLY means to be a hero. The idea was to empower kids to be a hero, just like Jesus was a hero.”

“It was really a play off the song from Hercules. We wanted to convey how the main thing that all these characters and important figures have in common is that being a hero means starting at zero.”

The reception to this entire initiative has been very positive.

“Thank you so much for making each camp box for all of our kids. I appreciate it so much- finding time to be with the kids and having something to do,” remarked Melanie, a mom of 2 of the campers. “It’s been so nice since COVID that you have found ways to connect with us, and especially our kids.”