It’s a popular holiday tradition that dates back to at least 1871 when a young man who didn’t have much money left his hometown to head to the mountains to work for the Salvation Army.
Since then, thousands of Christians from around the world have come to California to work with their local churches to help raise money for the needy.
The camps have been in use in many countries since the 1970s, but for some reason, the idea of traveling to a different country for a few weeks to help out with the homeless in the Pacific Northwest is getting a bit of a push in the States.
“I don’t know what it is about the Pacific that attracts people,” said John Hines, a former Christian Light camp worker and author.
“I mean, it’s not like it’s a different climate.
It’s not even like it is a different culture.”
Hines has been to a few of the camps in Oregon and California, but the idea that he’s visiting another place in the United States is something he’s never done before.
He said the experience is different than a traditional trip, but he does see a connection with the campers he knows.
“It’s a very warm and welcoming community, and you get a sense of camaraderie,” he said.
“You know they really appreciate each other.”
Hine said the camp workers and volunteers are passionate about helping people and that he was pleasantly surprised at how much they cared about helping others.
“You see a lot of compassion and caring, and I think that’s the main reason I go to camp every year,” he added.