Nashville campaign aims to change kids’ lives for better at camp

May 22, 2018 | by Brad Rowland

Nashville campaign aims to change kids' lives for better at camp

By: David Ibata

The Nashville Metropolitan Area Command of The Salvation Army has always encouraged support for its children's summer camp programs. This year, it's launching a new fundraising campaign that refreshes the appeal by stating, "Why?" Simply: "Camp Changes Lives."

"We believe the community still responds strongly to camp appeals," said Major Ethan Frizzell, Nashville area commander. "It's just necessary to re-frame it and make it relevant to the needs and language of the community. Commissioner (David) Jeffrey always challenged the Army to name it so that people can respond. That's essentially what we've done for camp."

The goal is to raise $115,000 by May 15 to send 100 children to summer day camp and the Camp Paradise Valley "sleep away" camp. More than $93,400 had been raised by the second week of May. That amount, Major Frizzell said, included an early gift of $30,000 “from a lady who wanted her gift to go to an evangelistic effort – and we believe camp epitomizes the best evangelism."

"We shared the vision with our advisory board, and one individual on the board gave us another large gift, $50,000," the major said. "We also shared with our Women's Auxiliary. They got very excited, started raising funds and are putting together camper swag bags – a Camp Paradise blanket with the child's name, a hat, backpack and water bottle, all with ‘Change' messaging."

The tagline for the campaign is, "Camp Changes Lives." A presentation posted to the initiative's website speaks of The Salvation Army Red Shield Kids Club Camp providing every child "an exceptional and affordable summer learning experience."

The presentation can be downloaded at:

"The advisory board gave us three priorities," Major Frizzell said. "First, we create a Kingdom Community to share the gospel in; second, we maintain our staff-to-child ratios in order to build relationships that have been proven to reduce the effects of adverse childhood experiences; third, we create experiences to reduce summer learning loss."

With the third issue, for example, the campaign presentation says, "Did you know that the equivalent of one month of a child's overall learning is lost over the summer break, and it takes six weeks of review by teachers in the new year to get a class back to where it was in May?"

"Did you know that it takes as little as two or three hours a week to prevent this loss, and start our campers back to school better prepared than ever before?"

The presentation also speaks of the environment of crime and violence many youngsters face and how camp offers a positive alternative; how camp staff work to change the paths of those whose families are trapped in generational poverty; and how day camp provides healthy meals to children who face daily food insecurity.

"Once camp is re-presented to the community, people respond," Major Frizzell said. "We just had to do so in a way that's relevant today."

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