A Music Camp that’s Life Changing
By Alan Tolcher
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono
There is no place where this is truer than The Salvation Army’s music camp. Every year, near the end of June, I have had the privilege of attending music camp; first as a student and now as a teacher. As a student, I was able to spend a week not only learning more about music, but also growing in my faith and having an incredible time at The Salvation Army’s Echo Grove camp in Leonard, MI. I couldn’t believe all the things that I was able to do at camp on my own. I could climb the rock wall or navigate the high ropes course, swim in the pool, boat, play basketball, play soccer, play on the playground, go to the snack shop, or make something at the arts and crafts shop. I was never bored at camp! And today, there’s even more options for kids.
I also had great music classes from great teachers that volunteered their time. Some of these people were music teachers by profession, but the majority of them are musicians that have been brought up in The Salvation Army’s music programs themselves. There were three times a day when I would go to my band class and the choir kids went to choir, and another time of day when I would learn about music theory. While I loved playing in band and learning about music, the best thing about camp was the friendships I made.
I made so many new friends from all over Eastern Michigan. Some of the strongest relationships I have to this day were made at music camp. As a matter of fact, I met my wife at music camp. However, the best relationship I made at camp was with Jesus Christ. I met Jesus at a Salvation Army music camp. The camp staff and volunteers were instrumental in teaching me about who Jesus is and how all the things that I was experiencing at camp were because of His love for me.
Now I have the honor to volunteer at music camp. It’s such a blessing to be able to get to know these kids who are going through the same thing I went through when I was their age. The best part about this camp is that you don’t have to have a lot of money to attend. It costs a child $10 to come to this camp for a week. That is only possible because of people supporting The Salvation Army.
Bono couldn’t have been more right about music. It has changed my life and it’s largely because of The Salvation Army’s music camp.