Nashville brings ‘Camp in a Box’ to families in need

Nashville brings ‘Camp in a Box’ to families in need

“Camp is a great opportunity for kids to really learn, have new adventures in nature, meet new people and just have a good time.”

Starlina Baldwin knows firsthand the positive impact The Salvation Army’s overnight summer camps have had on her daughter Serenity.

“She had become more outgoing, I noticed her grades had improved in school,” Starlina said. Serenity “is becoming more focused on her studies, and her communication skills have improved.”

This year, though, the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on the traditional away camp experience. But that doesn’t mean families like the Baldwins will go without. Things will just look a little different.

The Lord has been preparing The Salvation Army to stretch and further extend its services in new ways, allowing it to continue strengthening families, fighting stress in homes and creating community connections to assist with resiliency in times of trouble.

The answer is what the Nashville Salvation Army calls Camp Paradise Valley Weekly, its “summer camp-in-a-box.” The program was developed in collaboration with Belmont University students and provides engaging weekly activities for families like the Baldwins to take part in.

Each box contains projects and Bible study lessons for family members to bond over; resources to provide meals and continue the fight against food insecurity; and guided lessons presented through video and/or teleconferencing with campers and their families.

All this comes at no cost for financially challenged families. That’s welcome news for a single parent like Starlina.

“It’s overwhelmingly exciting for me as a single parent to have these costs taken care of,” she said. “It gives me hope that in the future, Serenity will be able to continue growing emotionally, maintain a strong relationship to God, and strengthen our family ties.”

Thanks to the support of giving partners, The Salvation Army will succeed in providing a memorable camp experience, at home, for children across the community.

Adapted from the blog of The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command, July 16, 2020