CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For Mark, Camp Happy Valley was a life-changing experience.
"I was a shy kid," he wrote after attending the camp in Scott Depot. "I was afraid to try new things or even meet new people."
On his first day, though, he made two new friends. "We stuck together the whole time and are still close friends today. They already knew how things worked there because they had been there before."
He hiked, fished, learned to swim and, by the end of camp, was taking charge of his group.
"It taught me discipline and respect for others," Mark wrote. "It also showed me how much I can help others. It directed me toward the Marine Corps."
Children also learn boating and archery, hear guest speakers and take Bible lessons during the three weeklong sessions that start this June at the 167-acre faith-based camp.
"I believe every child should go there," Mark wrote. "The friendships and knowledge for me will truly last a lifetime."
The Salvation Army, which runs the camp, hopes to find sponsors for up to 300 children from low-income families, at $100 each. Kids from 6 to 14 are eligible to attend.
To help a child attend Camp Happy Valley or others like it, mail your donation to the Gazette Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301. To donate online, go to www.wvgazette.com and look for the camp fund logo.
Every penny donated goes to camp scholarships. The Charleston Gazette covers all administrative costs.
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.