Camp Allegheny Provides More Than Fun in the Sun

Jan 24, 2023

Each year, more than one thousand children from across Western Pennsylvania enjoy fun and excitement, while also learning valuable life skills at The Salvation Army’s Camp Allegheny. To ensure a positive and unforgettable experience for each child, The Salvation Army added Camper Consultant positions as a response to mental, emotional and behavioral health concerns for youth following the pandemic. Camper Consultants work one-on-one with campers who show these types of concerns at camp, and work with other staff members on a plan to assist and support that camper so they can enjoy the positive benefits of Camp to the fullest.
This past summer, we had a camper that had significant mental and emotional difficulties due to past trauma. The first week they were there, we had to provide a lot of extra support to the counselors and to the camper. They were able to stay the whole week, but frequently got into trouble because of poor behavior related to their mental and emotional difficulties. This camper came back multiple times and made progress each week. We implemented various strategies to support the camper but found as the weeks progressed, they required less support. By the last week the camper was with us, they were handling their emotional and mental difficulties more independently, appeared to be happy more often and demonstrated better behavior in general.
More than specific activities or programs, simply having the support of the counselors is one of the best parts of the experience for our campers. That constant support and guidance helps campers handle their emotional and mental difficulties. Some of our campers do not receive this at home. Even more important, the staff is able to provide campers with strategies that they can take home with them to help them better handle their emotional and mental issues without the need for adult support and guidance. This work is not possible without your support. God bless you for helping create a brighter future for the next generation!

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