Regardless of what their backgrounds are, kids are kids and they respond to camp, to the counselors and to the whole experience in similar ways and leave camp with more confidence in themselves and the tools to help them make the right choices in life.
Each year in Southern California, nearly 2,000 deserving low-income children ages 8 to 17 experience the great outdoors at Salvation Army summer camp. Camps Mt. Crags and Camp Gilmore are nestled amongst 500 acres of old oaks and sycamores in the beautiful Malibu Canyon, land donated to The Salvation Army decades ago by American entertainment icon Will Rogers.
The camp’s challenge course includes various elements and levels of difficulty. Our high ropes and climbing wall at Camp Gilmore include a rock climbing wall with a couple different routes to test your skills. There is a leap of faith, where the climber takes a giant leap in hopes of catching a trapeze bar. Our vine walk challenges your balance skills as you make your way across a single wire while grabbing the ropes hanging from above. The highlight of the course is our zip line that runs through the challenges course. At Camp Mt. Crags we have a natural rock climbing wall with several routes for campers to climb depending on their level of ability.
The pool is a great place for campers to cool off and some even learn a new swimming skill. Each week program directors put on an afternoon event called Pool Olympics where campers run through various activities like finding sinkers at the bottom of the pool, swimming through hula hoops and racing each other.
Each day campers get a chance to explore different activities the camp has to offer. They can learn something new like learning to shoot an arrow with a bow. They can also explore the nature that surrounds camp by going on a hike or participating in a scavenger hunt. Our arts area is fully stocked with daily crafts for campers to try their creative hand. Camp is also equipped with Mountain Bikes for trail rides. Campers are given an introduction lesson on how to properly ride the bike and more importantly to stop safely. Once they master basic skills they get to enjoy some of the local bike trails with their leaders.
Sports are also a great way to keep campers active and we have a wide variety of sports available for campers to learn new skills. Our sports activities include basketball, volleyball, whiffle ball, soccer, road hockey and even golf!
Camp enjoys welcoming The Salvation Army Divisional Music Department each summer. These staff and volunteers help run our Jr. and Sr. Music Camps as well as our Musical Theatre Camp each summer. Each week campers participate in classes learning to play instruments and the necessary skills to put on a music production and at the end of the week for parents and friends to enjoy.
The dinning hall can be a great place for campers and staff to build relationships as well as enjoying some great food. We have an awesome food service team that knows a balanced meal for campers and staff to maintain a high energy level. Campers enjoy three well balanced and delicious meals a day and two snacks to keep them fueled to be active all day long.
Another favorite among campers is the food - not because it’s gourmet, but because it’s plentiful. Many of these children know what it’s like to skip dinner because their cupboards are empty. Every year, we catch children stockpiling food in their backpacks toward the end of camp, so they can share with their brothers and sisters back home. It’s heartbreaking to see.
Each year, there are a handful of children that are seeing the ocean for the very first time, despite the fact they’ve lived within miles of the Pacific Ocean all their lives.
Hundreds of campers come from neighborhoods where many would-be friends are “off limits” because of the street they live on, what they wear, or family gang ties. Camp provides a safe place to make lasting friendships, regardless of where you live, or what family you come from
When children at The Salvation Army’s South LA program were asked if they’d ever seen anyone be shot, nearly every hand in the room went up. Camp is a safe haven where they relax and just be kids
Camp counselors pour their heart and soul into these kids for a week – helping shape them into the person they want to become
Campers learn skills that last a lifetime, like teamwork and cooperation