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Salvation Army seeks community's help to send at-risk kids to camp

STAFF • Jun 17, 2019 at 9:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Hiking in the woods, making crafts, singing songs by the campfire: some of our fondest childhood memories come from summer camp.

For the most needy children in Kingsport, these simple joys seem unattainable. Local Salvation Army officials say these at-risk kids will spend their summer wandering the streets or hanging out with other idle kids. But with assistance from the community, the Salvation Army can help struggling families avoid this outcome for their children.


Last year in the United States, thousands of children attended some 48 Salvation Army residential camps.

“It’s an experience not to be missed,” said Kingsport Salvation Army Major Joseph May. “Time spent at camp can be a life-changing experience for kids. It can instill feelings of self-worth, open up the world and offer hope for the future.”

May reports that last summer the citizens of Kingsport gave the gift of camp to 26 children, some of whom had never in their lives experienced being in a safe, caring environment 24 hours a day. Through these donations, underprivileged Kingsport kids got to go to a weeklong camp where they played sports, swam, explored the outdoors and made crafts. And beyond the recreation, with the help of trained counselors they received a Bible lesson each day and learned how to live together with a diverse group of neighbors, dealing with the troubling issues and concerns that challenge them in their daily lives.


May is currently seeking sponsorship for 30 children for summer camp this year.

“School is out,” he noted. “There are lots of spots left and not enough money to fill them. I hope the community will come through for these deserving kids. For many of them, it’s the highlight of the whole year.

“We are so grateful to our friends who sponsored these children,” he said. “What a difference their generosity made in these children’s lives. The kids got to interact with caring adults who listened to them and showed them love and concern. Our campers not only enjoyed nutritious meals and explored the great outdoors. They learned important new life skills, like anger management and conflict resolution, that will stand them in good stead for their future.”

To donate to the Salvation Army, you can mail your gift to P.O. Box 2280, Kingsport, Tennessee, 37662 or make a donation online at salvationarmytennessee.org/kingsport.


The Salvation Army in Kingsport serves the communities of Western Sullivan, Hawkins and Scott counties, and it provides food, shelter and financial assistance to an estimated 5,500 people each year. The Salvation Army also conducts weekly religious services and provides character-building programs and fellowship opportunities to the Kingsport community. The Salvation Army is a United Way of Greater Kingsport partner agency. For more information about Salvation Army programs, call May at (423) 246-6671. You can also friend the organization on Facebook at the Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport Tennessee.

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