Happy Birthday, Camp Hidden Lake!

May 8, 2024

Ask almost anyone affiliated with The Salvation Army about Camp Hidden Lake; you will likely hear them sing its praises. The reason is that, for over forty years, this small parcel of the Mississippi Delta near Lexington, MS, has been providing a safe and nurturing environment for children every summer.

"This camp has a special place for many of us because we attended here as kids," stated Captain Michael Good, Divisional Director of Youth Services, "I first went to camp when I was six. Until I was thirteen, I was a camper like the children we serve today. Later, I worked on staff as a teenager, and now, as an officer in The Salvation Army, I have the privilege of being its Director. After forty years, it's grown a lot."



In 1984, The Salvation Army Division of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi decided to build a new camp on a 310-acre land near Lexington, MS. The new camp had originally been a hunting lodge with only four buildings, but it was located amidst the rolling hills which offered a perfect refuge for children to explore. Over the years, the camp has witnessed significant growth and development as new buildings and structures have been added, but the serene location continues to shine through.


"For more than a century, there has been a camp presence for these three Gulf States. Our division started its summer ministry program at Camp Bena Lea in Louisiana in 1924," Captain Good stated. "In the early eighties, we realized we needed more room to grow, so we moved to Lexington, Ms. This year we are celebrating Camp Hidden Lake's anniversary and a hundred years of camp ministry."


Camp Hidden Lake has seen plenty of changes over the years. New cabins, dining facilities, a pool, and even a ropes course are just a few of the improvements that have taken place. Every development has helped to accommodate the growing number of children who flock to the camp every summer. Today, the ministry serves approximately 3,000 children and youth from communities across the South.


As you might expect, the activity schedule is packed with fun-filled days for campers. Whether it is afternoon swimming, starry nights near a roaring fire, or even the excitement of catching a first fish, the goal is to create an environment of love and acceptance.


"We want to empower kids to build hope for the future." Captain Good stated. "We believe that camp has the power to break the generational cycle of poverty in the lives of our campers," Captain Good said. "It may seem unlikely, given that it's just a one-week summer camp, but so many of our young people have realized that they are capable of much more than their current circumstances."


Over the past forty years of ministry, much of the success Camp Hidden Lake has enjoyed is a direct result of the trained and dedicated staff and volunteers who serve each summer. The staff seeks to engage each child, offering emotional and spiritual support by building lasting relationships.


"We want the camp to be fun, but even more, we want to help each child learn about God's love and purpose for their lives,"

"We want the camp to be fun, but even more, we want to help each child learn about God's love and purpose for their lives," Good explained. "That's the role our staff and volunteers have."


This year, the theme for the Camp is "Passport To Adventure," with three separate week-long camps for children ages 6 – 17 from each of the Gulf states: Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In addition, there will be a life skills camp and music conservatory for select campers to participate in.


For more information about Camp Hidden Lake and its program, please visit the CampHiddenLake.Org.

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