Knowledge is a ticket out of poverty Image

Knowledge is a ticket out of poverty

The Salvation Army creates opportunities to grow and learn
for the youth in our communities


Youth Programs and Camping Programs

We offer character building programs, as well as summer camping to empower and train kids, and give them a chance to recreate in a safe environment.

How we help empower youth

The Salvation Army has been actively serving America?s youth for over 120 years. Salvation Army corps community centers offer religious and character-building programs that can include Sunday school, youth troops, music classes, athletics and sporting events, arts and crafts, camping, and more.

Many inner-city youths who participate in such programs do not have access or opportunity to have these experiences otherwise. They have not experienced the peace or safety of camping in the rural countryside. Many have never had the opportunity to play a musical instrument, or to make crafts and play competitive games in a protected setting.

The Salvation Army gives all youth a chance to experience educational enrichment, life skills development, and spiritual and physical wellness. Such experiences allow these at-risk children and adolescents to envision and pursue better futures.

These youth enrichment programs are offered in conjunction with other family services that promote positive living. By offering helpful alternatives and hope, The Salvation Army assists at-risk youths and families to avoid social dysfunction and crime.

Salvation Army youth programs place special emphasis on activities that encourage character and life skills development. Through mentoring and education, disadvantaged children and teens are shown the possibility of a better life. Please contact your local Salvation Army for information on youth programs available in your area.

1. Character Building Programs

Operating every Tuesday during the school year, children in grades 1st through 12 can participate in specialized programs that teach kids life skills and instill positive character.


  • The Salvation Army Adventure Corps is a Christian education program designed for boys Grades 1-12. It is divided into two sections: Explorers for boys in grades 1-5 and Rangers for boys in Grades 6-12. Each section takes members through a series of achievement awards and levels, helping boys to develop their individuality and potential.


  • Guarding opens the door to adventure. As a Girl Guard, you will find many exciting new experiences awaiting you. With each experience you will discover things about yourself and the world God has created. Girl Guards is open to all girls in grades 6-12.

  • You will belong to a large family with thousands of members in every part of the United States and in many other the countries where The Salvation Army is located. Girl Guards is one of many youth groups sponsored by your local Salvation Army corps. Girl Guard meetings may be held at the corps center, at community buildings, or schools.


  • Moonbeams are members of a national character-building program sponsored by The Salvation Army for boys and girls in grades Preschool (age 4) through Kindergarten.

  • Moonbeams should try to help others whenever possible, even before being asked. Moonbeams are encouraged to attend Sunday school or church every week. If not a member of a Sunday school, the Moonbeams are invited to attend at The Salvation Army. There they?ll meet friends and have fun learning about Jesus.


  • The Guarding Program is sponsored by The Salvation Army. It includes girls in grades 1 through 12, divided into two groups: Sunbeams (grades 1-5) and Girl Guards (grades 6-12).

  • If you do not have a Sunbeam program in your local Salvation Army, you may join Girl Guards in grade 5. If you do not have a Girl Guard program, you may remain a Sunbeam through grade 6.

  • All Sunbeams are members of the Guarding Program. Any girl may join the program.

2. Summer Camping at Eagle Crest Camp

Located near Peoria. Illinois the camp provides a chance for kids to be outdoors, learning new skills and enjoying the recreation a summer camp like Eagle Crest can offer.  Eagle Crest Camp is a ministry of The Salvation Army, that exists to provide an opportunity for all to encounter Jesus Christ and enrich their lives through exposure to God's Word, His Creation, and His People.

We send many children from ages nine to seventeen to various camps lasting from 5 to 7 days throughout the summer months.

3. Day Camp

The summer day camp provides an atmosphere where children can develop or enhance social, emotional, and physical abilities through a variety of activities. Operating from June through August some of the activities include: educational guest speakers, swimming, arts and crafts, usa of the computer lab, music, picnics, and tours of area businesses. This day camp service is available only to children whose parents/guardians are employed or are continuing their formal education on a full-time basis.

Sign up for our 2021 Day Camp here

4. Upward Sports

Organized basketball happens in January, February and March every year.  The Salvation Army participates and sponsors Upward Basketball, a Christian oriented sports program.  

Click here for details.

Other Ways We Meet Needs