Waiting to Exhale

The New Jersey Newsroom is running a four-part series on the New Jersey Salvation Army.

The third installment talks about Camp Tecumseh, a sprawling, 400-acre facility in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Entitled, “Camp Tecumseh Brings Salvation to New Jersey Kids,” the article follows the experience of a 19-year-old Newark man who believes the camp saved his life.

“I had just completed my first year of high school, and 29 of my classmates were killed that summer, murdered,” Darell Houseton said. “Most of it was gang-related. But some people were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent bystanders. Twenty-nine is a lot. And I like to think that since I was at camp, I wasn’t No. 30, ‘cause some of these people were my friends.”

In addition to its youth camp, Tecumseh also opens its doors to veterans and seniors throughout the year for camp experiences catered to their needs.

Indeed, Camp Tecumseh is a respite that the Army endeavors to share with as many as possible.

We all need a break from time-to-time.  Stress at work, the neverending responsibilities of home, and all of the stuff in the middle can wear anyone down.  The monotony of routines.  The auto-pilot we often find ourselves working and living in.  Every now and then we all feel the need for a break.

Now what if – for whatever reason – there was no break to be had from your worries?  No vacation days.  No partner to pick up the slack.  No support system to help get you through rough times.  No moment to just slow down, take a minute and breathe.  Then what?

For so many – especially those who are able to enjoy Camp Tecumseh and the hundreds of similar Salvation Army camps across the country – there is no respite from their troubles.

The homeless, the disadvantaged, the neglected.

Through our youth camps, Kroc and recreation centers, veterans and senior programs, and Community Cares programs, The Salvation Army offers thousands of opportunities to escape, if only for a moment.  The services that we offer echo our belief that only once people have inner peace – no worries for food, shelter or immediate needs- can that peace be reflected in their lives.

For those very reasons the work that the Army does is so much more than saving souls.  Sometimes people just need to be saved from one nightmarish week, one day.  So while eternal salvation is our ultimate goal, salvation from isolation, despair, frustration and being overwhelmed are equally as important.

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