As we continue to celebrate National Salvation Army week, we want to tell you Anita’s story.  Anita looks back to the three years when she was able to attend Salvation Army camp in the summer and what lasting impressions camp had on her.

Growing up in a poor, dangerous neighborhood, Anita and her brothers were not allowed to play outside because it wasn’t safe.  Their mother worked hard supporting the family and caring for their ill father.  “I remember my father being sick all the time…we spent a lot of our childhood in hospitals.”  When the boys started having trouble in school, a social worker suggested Salvation Army camp to Anita’s mom — a great benefit for the kids at no cost.  Going to summer camp opened a whole new world for eight-year-old Anita and her brothers.  At camp they were able to run outside and experience nature for the first time.  They learned to swim and fish, and Anita’s favorite activity was arts and crafts.

Summer camp letter from Anita to parents

Camp letter from Anita to her parents

Anita and brothers, with camp counselor at Camp

Anita and brothers, with camp counselor at Salvation Army camp

Anita and brothers at Camp

Anita and her brothers at Camp


Anita now owns her own business in Austin, and credits her time at camp for setting her on a path to success.  Years ago she received a Salvation Army appeal in the mail, and has faithfully donated since.

She said, “With the hope and joy that I still carry warmly in my heart for The Salvation Army, I decided thirteen years ago to pay it forward.  I donate to help send other children to camp so they can experience new adventures, grow, and have a little joy just as I did.”

Anita and her mom

Anita and her mom

“I’m grateful for what The Salvation Army did for my family.  It gave us hope…It made me the strong person I am today.”




Anita Rodriguez; Katrine Formby - Licarione Photography

Anita Rodriguez; Katrine Formby – Licarione Photography

Anita enthusiastically supports the work of The Salvation Army in our community and recently joined us, along with her friend, Katrine Formby, for our Doing the Most Good Luncheon.  Her faithful support ensures that many children like her and her brothers can have happy times attending camp even in the midst of challenging times for their families.  If you would like to help send a child to camp, click below to learn more.