The early twentieth century experienced dramatic changes in the way we lived and worked. Thousands of families migrated to the cities for work and sustenance because their farmlands could no longer support them. Millions of people immigrated from their home countries to seek better opportunities. Both groups sought jobs in the new industrialized sector making pennies a day in manufacturing. Workers often labored for sixteen hours a day leaving children to their own devices. For inner city youth, that could mean unsupervised play and socialization in the streets. In order to protect children, organization lobbied and supervised play places in and outside the city.
The Salvation Army leaders also recognized the need to provide a place away from the pollution of the city and a wholesome experience for children. They declared, “The Salvation Army’s solution for inner city children is to bring sports and games off the streets and into a clean, wholesome, environment,” so began The Salvation Army Fresh-Air Camps.
The popularity of the program encouraged Salvation Army leaders to purchase land so they could host fresh-air camps for evanglestic meetings and outdoor activities. Today, the Central Territory owns and operates twelve camps for children, teens, families, and older adults.
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