First Campers

Apr 10, 2018 | by Captain Jared Arnold

As the children stepped off The Salvation Army bus, the look of both exhaustion and excitement resonated from their faces. It had been almost a week since heading out to Camp Kuratli at Trestle Glen, and the kids were eager to share their adventures and sing their newly learned camp-songs to the parents waiting to pick them up. One of the girls runs to her mom and proudly shows the first-place medal she received earlier that week for the fastest runner; another begs her mom to go to the store and get some paper and envelopes, to start writing to the cabin mate she befriended. Every kid has a different story, a different memory, a different experience they will keep forever. However, none of this would have been possible if not for The Salvation Army - Clackamas Ministry Center, located at the Cascade Division Headquarters, in Clackamas County, Oregon.

The Clackamas Ministry Center is a new initiative started in the Cascade Division. Its mission is to discover the needs of the community surrounding the Divisional Headquarters and to meet those needs in the name of Jesus Christ. Although the Ministry Center’s doors are not yet open for regular services, it is already making an impact in the lives of those living around Clackamas County through The Salvation Army summer camp programs. Many of the homes surrounding the center are low-income or transient housing. Single-parent homes are common; and with school out for the summer, parents struggle to find activities for their kids that they can afford.

“Camp is really expensive, and it’s not something that really fits in our budget.” Says Andrea, one of the moms picking up her two children: “So for The Salvation Army to help us out with a cost we can afford, our kids get to have a great time and I don’t have to worry.”

Sending kids to camp is the first of many programs coming to the Clackamas Ministry Center, and each program is crafted and implemented to meet a specific need in its community.

“Camp holds a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to be able to help coordinate the camp experience for this new group of children. I am excited to see how God is going to use the Clackamas Ministry Center in the future.” - Captain Christina Arnold

As Captain Arnold helps load the kid’s luggage into their parent’s vehicles, she waves goodbye to the families with a smile on her face. A sense of relief and satisfaction adorn her. Relieved because everything went fine and the kids returned safe and sound; and satisfied, because lives were impacted, and relationships made. The first ever group of kids sent to camp from the Clackamas Ministry Center were on their way home; and in a few weeks, the second group would be off to Camp Kuratli to share in the experience.

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