After being unable to fully operate due to COVID, followed by 2022’s low registration, The Salvation Army’s camping ministries were back in full swing this past summer. Jackson’s Point Camp and Newport Adventure Camp, both located in Ontario, embraced the bustling summer that the improved local and global situation allowed.
Not only were the camps back at full capacity but the Army’s international reach and community were reignited. With travel restrictions behind them, the Army’s camping ministries were able to recruit and be blessed by international staffers. Here are just six:
Josh Dakwa, from England, quickly embraced Jackson’s Point. His first time working at camp, he began helping with maintenance. However, his outgoing, upbeat and encouraging personality made him a perfect fit to fill the much-needed and important role as a leader in the Timothy 1 young adult leadership program
Beyond having a lot of fun helping run the program, Josh feels “it was an honour to be a part of the summer experience and see the campers grow.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he says. “Probably the best summer I’ve ever had, too.”
An activities leader at Jackson’s Point, Amelia Neri, also from England, says she felt closer to God than ever before while working in this spiritual community and felt fulfilled knowing she helped kids grow, have fun and become more confident.
“I set out to gain experience, push my limits and excel,” she says. “I also wanted to help kids grow into their personalities.”
Tess Redden travelled from Australia to work as a lifeguard at Newport. Reflecting on her “amazing time,” Tess says she felt God within the community and camp activities.
“Working at Newport was an eye-opening experience,” she reflects. “I connected with the kids and the other staff and saw personal development within myself.”
Millie Honiball, leader of the ropes course at Newport, was a returning international hire from England who began working for The Salvation Army’s camping ministries in 2016.
“My brother applied through Camp Canada,” she says. “Two years went by, and he was able to convince me. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Millie was excited about making positive changes in children’s lives.
“It’s all about planting the seed and then letting it grow throughout the year and watching them come back the next year bloomed.”
Despite “always loving working at camp,” Millie was unsure if she was going to return for the 2023 camp season. However, after being dissatisfied at her full-time job, she investigated and found out her previous position was still open. From there, “everything just fell into place!”
Newport welcomed Ruth Sinai Henriquez Valero from Spain, and she jumped into her role with a positive attitude.
“I came with a vision of improving professionally and spiritually,” Ruth comments. “I feel that, little by little, God is working in my life.”
Ruth’s position as a cabin leader, though certainly stressful and demanding, fulfilled her. “I love people, and I believe working with children is an opportunity to introduce them to an unconditional friend.”
Californian Jeshua Holmes, another Newport cabin leader, wanted an opportunity to “grow in his faith and have a positive impact on others.”
When asked how he felt God’s calling during his time at camp, he replies, “I felt like God was seeking to rebuild my spiritual foundation and bring me people who could relate to my testimony.”
“I love people, and I believe working with children is an opportunity to introduce them to an unconditional friend.” Ruth Sinai Henriquez Valero
Finding Out About the Army
Beyond being from different countries, the Army’s camping ministries international staff had another thing in common: little to no experience with The Salvation Army prior to working at camp. However, after applying for jobs through agencies like Camp Canada, each was excited when they found out the Army was considering them.
“I appreciate The Salvation Army’s open-mindedness and inclusivity,” says Jeshua, while Ruth investigated the organization’s faith and activities.
“I saw that we had the same beliefs and I felt comfortable working here,” she says.
Amelia believed Jackson’s Point “checked all the boxes in terms of placement dates and position and seemed like a nice community.”
Clearly, Millie’s brother’s experience wore off on her, making her decide to seek out the Army.
Whatever the reason, these young people were drawn to Ontario’s Salvation Army camps and contributed to a positive summer experience for campers and staff members alike.
Getting to Know God
With a couple of years under her belt, Millie encourages others to apply, no matter if they are set in their faith or not, because it’s a community of good people wanting the best for one another.
Tess says international workers should “definitely do it. Working here was an eye-opening experience and a great way to travel—and also make a little money!”
Amelia encourages others to “go for it” because, besides her accent often “being playfully made fun of,” she felt welcomed.
Josh is adamant he will return after the impactful and positive relationships he formed, as well as the spiritual and personal growth he felt in the community.
And Ruth sums up her experiences perfectly, how it is not meant to be just another job, but something more meaningful and personal.
“It’s a good opportunity to grow, meet people and, above all, get to know God.”