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Camp Hidden Lake Is Back In Session!

Camp is back in person for summer 2021. Things were different last year due to COVID-19, and camp was delivered to camper’s houses so that everyone could celebrate the joys of camping in the safest environment possible. Thankfully, The Salvation Army ALM can offer a traditional summer camp setting in 2021 so that kids can get to camp and spend time with peers. Campers will arrive at Camp Hidden Lake Monday, June 14, and three two-week sessions will run through July 16. Camp adventures will include swimming, archery, music electives, games, many more activities for kids to express themselves and form a community in the process.

A COVID-19 protocol is in place. Masks and social distancing will be required where feasible. All campers and staff participate in a prescreening so that everyone is in a safe and healthy bubble when they get to camp.

“For a year like what we just had, it’s vital for us to make this summer as normal as possible. Our music programs are starting up, our pool will be open, recreation facilities will be open, and they’ll start archery. There’ll be fishing, pathfinding, camping outside, building fires, smores; We’ve moved a lot of events outside this year as a COVID-19 safety precaution,” said Captain Michael Good, Divisional Youth Secretary.

“We’ve also planned daily evening events, sort of like they do on cruise ships, so there’s never a dull moment. Everything from Junk Yard Wars, Drive-in Movie, Battle Lip Sync, Culture Night, life-size game nights, messy games, and lots of other fun activities for the kids,” Captain Good added.

Favorite Part of Camp

 

 

Everyone in a leadership position at Camp Hidden Lake was once a camper. They all have established careers both with The Salvation Army and elsewhere and contribute time to summer camp each year.

“This year, I think my favorite part will be that these kids will be normal for the first time in a little while. Camp is a place where these kids can come and get three meals a day, snacks, and never have to think about what they’re going to eat. They know that no promise will be broken when something is promised at camp (fun programs, recreation, etc.). A lot of our kids receive a lot of promises in life that never come true. For the time that they are here at camp, that’s not going to happen,” Captain Good shared.

“I get so excited that for the first time in many of their lives, especially after the year that we just had, these kids can just be kids. There comes the point at camp where you’re just standing there, maybe in the center of camp, and you hear the noises of camp. The splashing and yelling from the pool, or you hear the archery instructor saying “Pull!” and then arrows shooting, or you hear kids dribbling balls on the basketball court. You start to hear the sounds of camp, and you realize that, for that time, they’re safe, they’re happy, they’re full. That’s what matters. That’s what I’m really excited about.”

Camp Hidden Lake happens once a year, bringing peace and joy to children who often don’t get to just be a kid. For a few weeks out of the year, they are allowed to live in the moment and make friends in a safe and inviting environment. We believe every child should get to experience summer camp—exploring nature, learning new skills, developing confidence, and building life-long friendships in a fun and nurturing environment. We provide that experience for campers every summer at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hidden Lake, but we need your help. Camp Hidden Lake is funded through donations to make the summer camp experience available to all children. Visit SalArmyCamp.org to send a kid to camp.

 

 

 

Faces of the Army: Captain Michael Good

Reclaim: A Gathering of Young Adults

The Salvation Army ALM Youth Department hosted a weekend of fun and faith with its Reclaim: A Gathering of Young Adults. The Reclaim weekend retreat took place at Camp Hidden Lake, October 23-25, 2020. The young adult’s retreat is an annual summer event but was pushed into late 2020 due to the novel coronavirus. Young adults ages 18-35 spent the weekend with Salvation Army officers, reclaiming their purpose amid the hardships of 2020 and looking to the future. The retreat had a 40 person max to enforce social distancing and other COVID-19 safety precautions.

“The theme is “reclaim,” as in reclaiming everything we feel has been stolen from us this year. COVID-19 created many limitations, and we’re trying to get into the mindset of reclaiming our peace, joy, and security. That’s why we’re doing recycled woodwork projects and reclaiming my finances courses during the retreat,” stated Captain Michael Good, Divisional Youth Secretary.

The retreat was designed around this Bible verse:

“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; He’ll have compassion on you; He’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there.” – Deuteronomy 30:3-4

 

“COVID-19 delayed this year’s retreat, so we decided to host one with a Halloween theme to reengage the young adults and get them back into the swing of being hands-on at their corps,” shared Captain Malaika Good, Divisional Youth Secretary.

“The retreat is a way to engage young adults who grew up in The Salvation Army as well as inform 730 members on how to become officers,” Captain MalaikaGood added.

730 is a group of people that have shown interest in becoming a Salvation Army officer. It takes 730 days to train to become an officer, hence the name of the program.

The retreat was filled with fall festivities, including a fire pit praise, reclaimed woodworking, DIY pumpkin spice lattes, and a murder mystery dinner. The woodworking class was a lesson on finding beauty in unlikely places by taking the time to make something new out of something old. “Reclaiming My Finances” was a course offered to help young adults understand how to create financial stability in today’s economy. “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice” was a course offered at camp where young adults could carve pumpkins, enjoy a mug of coffee or hot apple cider, and discuss the steps to becoming a Salvation Army officer. The retreat ended with the murder mystery dinner, a fun game night where participants wore their best Halloween costumes and enjoyed a meal with friends; just another way of reclaiming peace amid the unparalleled year that is 2020.

 

 

 

 

Camp Hidden Lake: Backyard Edition

Each summer, with the help of donors in the community, we send kids to our summer camp near Lexington, Mississippi. The Salvation Army’s 300 acre Camp Hidden Lake helps disadvantaged boys and girls in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi open their eyes to a whole new world. Summer camp is much more than a vacation for these kids. Camp Hidden Lake teaches new skills, healthy attitudes, and high values. Long hot summer days, a dip in the pool, canoeing, star-filled nights, campfires, roasted marshmallows, pillow fights, cabin devotions, emblem work, seeing old friends, and making new ones. Expanding horizons and creating memories: That’s what camp is about, and this is what the kids are missing out on during summer 2020.

Camp Hidden Lake was canceled this year due to the novel coronavirus. Since so many of our corps are no longer able to host the Evangelism Campaigns, The Salvation Army Youth Department wanted to find a way to still get Jesus to kids throughout our division. This was done by providing “camp in a bag,” a modified camping experience. Camp Hidden Lake: Backyard Edition is a 3-day resource bag that provides a camping experience for 700 children at home, complete with all the items and directions they need for the daily activities.

Each day followed the following schedule:

  1. Morning Manna (Bible Story with questions)
  2. Daily Camping Experience
  3. Camp Craft
  4. Recreational Activity
  5. Daily Wrap up

This year’s camp theme is “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made,” with the scripture Psalm 139:14 being a focus in the daily “Morning Manna” readings and provided Bible stories. The focus will be on “making and creating” as the youth are encouraged to engage God’s creation and look at their ability to create. Each bag will have three packets for three days of the modified camping experience and a smores kit, complete with instructions on making the camping dessert via microwave. A postcard from Camp Hidden Lake and the Youth Department will be included in each bag as well. This resource will also allow for the children to earn an “Ecology Badge” in character building if they participate. Officers and service center staff are encouraged to use these bags to engage the youth in their localities and think outside the box on evangelism.

“The kids in our division come from all walks of life. You have kids whose parents have an internet connection, but many of our communities don’t have that capability. And even more so, there are still parents who have to work, so teens are home by themselves,” Captain Michael Good stated.

“Helping these kids is our ministry, so we’re trying to figure out how we can help them during this crisis. It also gives officers in our division the opportunity to think outside of the box and meet kids where they are. They get to go to the homes, shelters, and foster homes where these kids reside and give them Camp Hidden Lake,” Captain Good added.

Camp in a bag provides all materials with instructions for a three-day camping experience. Officers are encouraged to check in with the kids to check their progress. The campers learn everything from ecology, boating, camp crafts, and devotions so that this summer feels as close to any other summer at Camp Hidden Lake.

 

Camp Day #1

Morning Manna: Study of Creation (Genesis 1:1-25)

Camping Experience: Study of trees w/ leaf imprinting & study

Camp Craft: Birdhouse

Recreation: Nature Scavenger Hunt

 Camp Day #2

Morning Manna: Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)

Camping Experience: Study of a plant’s life cycle w/”Grow Your Own” activity

Camp Craft: Suncatchers

Recreation: Miniature Boating Activity

Camp Day #3

Morning Manna: Study of Creation (Psalm 139:13-18)

Camping Experience: Study of Ecosystem’s w/”Make Your Own Ecosphere” activity

Camp Craft: Leather Bookmark Craft

Recreation: Sidewalk Chalk Games

“I’m excited for the kids to experience the science portion of camp. They’ll practice leaf imprinting. It’s the story of leaves and trees to feel like they’re truly at camp. The second day, the kids get to plant their seeds, and the material talks about the life cycle of a plant and what plants do for us. The last day is my favorite. They will be making an ecosphere. Each kid received a mini mason jar, and they can make an ecosphere. It’s a self-supporting ecosystem, and they won’t have to open the jar to feed the insects or clean it,” Captain Good shared.

One of the things that Captain Good and the Youth Department made sure of was the bags were reusable so that campers could keep them as “camp swag”. The bags are branded with the Camp Hidden Lake logo in hopes of the kids being able to bring them to camp next summer.

“I can imagine them coming to camp next year with their bags. Having camp swag at home is a cool feeling because it’s a sense of belonging and togetherness. Some of these kids come from rough home situations. We get to think about vacationing in New Orleans or Memphis, whereas the kids we serve with The Salvation Army don’t always get that chance. Vacation for them is Camp Hidden Lake. For many of these kids, camp is a week they don’t have to worry about life. It’s a week that they don’t have to worry about food. They don’t have to see their parents fighting. It’s a week where they don’t have to take care of their siblings. They can just be kids,” Captain Good shared.

“That’s one of the most frustrating parts of changes within my job in 2020. The kids don’t get that opportunity. We’re hoping that this backyard edition of the camp hidden lake will allow kids to feel like they are at camp,” Captain Good added.

 

“I learned forgiveness at camp”

Camp Changes Lives!

Our newly appointed Assistant Divisional Youth Secretary, Lt. Christmas Hargrove, shares her personal story of how The Salvation Army helped her family and shaped the person she is today. She has a genuine passion for reaching out to young people to show them the life-changing love and compassion that she was shown as a child.

If you would like to donate to offset the cost of this year’s camp, it’s not too late! Donations can be made here: bit.ly/CampHL

 

Camp Spotlight: Jonathan Frelix

 

Jonathan Frelix

Jonathan Frelix is a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a talented musician, and a regular at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hidden Lake. He first attended the main camp three years ago and returned the following two years for the 4-week Music Conservatory camp. Last year he added Ropes Course Instructor to his list of accomplishments, where he made sure campers not only navigated the ropes safely, but also encouraged them and built up their confidence. We caught up with Jonathan for a quick interview about his Camp Hidden Lake experience. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: How did you first come here and why did you come back as a counselor?
I came because, I mean, I don’t have the best home, so this was a great place for me to come to. And I did enjoy the vespers and devotionals. It helps you grow as a person.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a ropes course instructor?
Encouraging kids that are very terrified to do it because they believe that they can’t do it. But after they do it they realize it wasn’t that bad after all. Showing them that fear can’t control your life, it can only control as much as you let it.

Q: What does the future hold for you?
Trying to grow more with music, to be good enough to even start teaching.

Q: What inspires you? What is it about music?
There’s a certain feeling that you can’t explain. It’s kind of like love. It’s not words you can just say, but it’s a great feeling when music flows through and it goes to everyone’s heart.

Q: What can you tell people about what goes on at Camp Hidden Lake?
The primary goal is getting kids closer to God and giving them a safe place to have fun and relax. The people here are great, loving.


Camp Hidden Lake is run entirely by donations and no child ever has to pay for anything during their stay at camp. To give kids like Jonathan the life-changing gift of summer camp, donate here!

Jonathan Frelix