Following Missed Year, Summer Camp is On!

May 31, 2021

What a difference a year makes! This time last year, the pandemic had a strong grip on Spokane and the rest of the world. We literally saw most of the world close. With vaccinations, though, life is slowly opening again!

With the reopening of life as we know it, it means the 99th year of summer camp at The Salvation Army’s Camp Gifford in nearby Deer Lake. What does that mean? It means the sounds of laughter and chatter by children, ages 7-17, while they participate in numerous activities. Oh…how that was missed last summer.

For a young girl named Cassie, it almost means going to heaven on earth. Two years ago, at the age of 8, Cassie came to Camp Gifford for the first time. She told her counselor how scared she was at home because she witnessed her daddy hitting her mommy several times. One time, Cassie tried to step in-between her parents only to be pushed to the couch by her father.

Being at camp allowed Cassie to escape the reality of home, meet new friends, and just be a little girl. She cherished her time at Camp Gifford, which is why she cried last year when summer camp was cancelled due to the pandemic.

However, 2020 wasn’t a total loss for Cassie. Her mother got the strength to leave the father and get into their own apartment. They are struggling some, but both mom and Cassie are safe. The Salvation Army’s Family Resource Center in Spokane has helped with food several times, and even provided utility and rent assistance when the mother was temporarily laid off from her job due to COVID-19.

And what was the topic of conversation when Cassie came with her mother to get food or other help? Summer Camp, of course. All Cassie asked was when is camp going to open again? She kept saying how much fun she had last time!

Fortunately, for her, and other local children, summer camp at Camp Gifford begins next month! Per state laws, camp will be open at 50% of capacity. However, half is better than none.

In a typical summer, Camp Gifford serves more than 1,000 young people each summer, 80% of whom would not be able to attend without scholarships. While at camp, children learn new life skills, and leave with memorable, life-shaping experiences, newfound friends, and a revived sense of purpose.

Camp Gifford encompasses 112 acres of land at beautiful Deer Lake – just 45-minutes outside of Spokane, WA. It includes A-framed cabins, a miniature golf course, zip line, archery, climbing wall, lake activities such as swimming, kayaking, and sailing, and much more!

If you believe in the importance of summer camp and the lasting impact it can have on young children, please consider giving a financial gift to Camp Gifford so other vulnerable boys and girls can enjoy camp. To help 'Send a Kid to Camp,' please visit 

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