CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hundreds of kids will have to find another camp or stay home this summer after local Salvation Army leaders announced they won't be opening Camp Happy Valley this year.
In addition, several dozen counselors and other camp employees will be out of a job for the eight-week session, which was to start in June.
Maj. Owen Gilliam, the acting Salvation Army area commander, blamed the closure on a lack of funds to fix a number of maintenance issues at the 167-acre site in Teays Valley.
"It's several years where we haven't had the money -- donations down, economy down," Gilliam said in a phone interview from the campgrounds Wednesday.
"Then you have trees down and water lines breaking ... one water line broken cost $15,000," he said.
"When you have no money -- rope training for a rope course costs $15,000 to $20,000. When we were kids, we had no rope training. Now you have government regulations.
"Our salaries are $91,000 -- 32 employees for an eight-week period," Gilliam said. "We need $200,000 right now to open this camp and we don't have it."
Of that, $80,000 is needed for repairs, some of which date back more than a year, he said.
"Storm damage, pipes froze. The swimming pool [bathhouse] has pipes up along the wall, not in the ground. Gas lines -- leaks. We have one gas leak we're still trying to locate. It's a combination of things."