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Salvation Army soccer and VBS camp lifts youth

Published 10:34 am Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finding affordable and healthy entertainment for children is the concern of many parents during the summer months. The local Salvation Army did just that this week for nearly 100 children with their Kicks for Hope Soccer Camp and Vacation Bible School. It is the third year of the program that combines a soccer camp with vacation bible school for children ages 6-12.

Each day from 8 a.m. to noon, the children play soccer on the fields by the Salvation Army. They have volunteer soccer coach Carlos Lee teaching the children along with local teenage and Salvation Army volunteers. Along with soccer skills they are being taught how to listen and work as a team.

Volunteer Michael Watson, 16, enjoys the opportunity to help his community.

“It’s really fun and I love helping them. They’re good kids. I plan on coming back next year,” said Watson.

Each child is given their own soccer ball and cleats donated by local businesses. At the end of the week each child will be able to keep the soccer ball they played with all week.

Many of the children come unprepared to play soccer.

“Some come in flip flops and without breakfast. It’s heartbreaking but also uplifting at the same time knowing we can help them,” said Shaheena Hague, founder of the camp.

After soccer, each child is given lunch, before volunteers with Triumph church come to teach vacation Bible school for the children. The entire program is free and both lunch and snacks are provided by community donations. They have received so much that each day the parents of the children bring food home with them.

“I think it’s wonderful. They get outside and are learning to work as a group. I love seeing the kids enjoy themselves,” said volunteer Linda Jackson.