Little kids and their families carted suitcases, duffle bags and pillows down the sidewalk and filed in line at the registration table at The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia’s headquarters. The excitement in the air was palpable as more than 140 youth between the ages of 7 and 12 readied to head out for the summer camp experience of a lifetime.
“It’s a great experience to let them know that there is something outside the city life with the cars and the noise,” said Zelma Carroll of Philadelphia. “They get to see another part of the world,” she added.
Zelma’s 8-year old grandson was among the hundreds of children with The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia that attended Camp Ladore in the Poconos. Owned and operated by The Salvation Army, Camp Ladore is situated among the picturesque mountain ranges of Northeast Pennsylvania consisting of approximately 1,200 acres that surround a 265 acre lake. Zelma attended Camp Ladore as a child herself and so did her children. Now it has turned into a multi-generation family tradition.
“Growing up in the city, it was something you looked forward to – fresh air, trees,” she explained.
The Salvation Army’s one-week summer camp programs take full advantage of Camp Ladore’s natural resources, which contribute to the educational, social, recreational and spiritual needs of every camper. A wide variety of activities are offered, including: nature study, swimming, horseback riding, boating, arts and crafts, sports, fishing, music instruction, hiking, games and more.
Summer camp is a classic and potentially life-changing experience for youth, one that children from low-income families may not otherwise experience without help from The Salvation Army.
“It’s a blessing,” Zelma said.
Soon the children boarded the bus and waved goodbye to their families who had lined the driveway. As the bus passed by, Zelma yelled, “Have fun!” She had no doubt he would.