Florida Camp Keystone Conservatory Dedication

For three decades, The Salvation Army has hosted the Longino Music Conservatory at Camp Keystone for children across the state of Florida, centrally operating in a building constructed in 1990. In late June 2019, current leadership joined forces with dignitaries from the past in dedicating a new, state-of-the-art facility.

“Today, we dedicate this house of glad remembrance for the youth of the Florida Division to gather to do three things,” said Commissioner John Busby, retired national commander and former divisional commander. “First, to improve their musical ability; second, to draw closer to their Heavenly Father; and third, to surrender their enhanced musicianship, developed here, to his honor and glory.”

The new building, constructed on the site of the old structure, includes purposely dedicated space for creative arts, percussion, vocal training, brass instrumentation and recital/concert hosting. In conjunction with the opening of the space, the final concert of The Salvation Army’s Florida Music Institute (FMI) took place, with six bands, five choruses and three creative arts ensembles comprising nearly 200 young people performing in a moving and uplifting way.

Within the dedication ceremony, thank-you messages were distributed to those who took part and FMI delegates commemorated the event with an artistic tribute. Stirring testimonies came to light, citing the impact that the division’s music programs have made and looking ahead to what is a bright future.

“I believe with all of my heart that this is a life-changing program,” said Major Elizabeth Birks, divisional secretary for business. “I can attest to the personal impact it had on my children and what I’ve seen myself. It’s an incredible blessing to see these young people rehearse, perform and grow, and we’re so grateful to all who made this project a dream come true.”

“As a product of The Salvation Army’s music programs myself, I’m excited for the opportunities this new facility will open up for our young people,” said Darryl Crossland, assistant divisional music director. “When children see an investment being made in their future in such a way, it gives them confidence to keep pursuing their dreams.”

The division’s Longino Senior Conservatory program began just hours after completion of FMI and the new facility is being utilized in continuous fashion, all with an eye toward the glory of God and worship through the arts.

“It’s a red-letter day for the Florida Division,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Luyk, divisional commander. “We’re here to celebrate the progress being made but, really, what it’s about is discipleship through musicianship and artistry. All of those are expressions of worship unto the Lord, and that’s why we’re here.”

To learn more about the programs offered for children in your local community, click here to find the location nearest to you.


By: Brad Rowland

As the Director of Camp Keystone, it is a high honor to see the campers that come through our gates each summer. I try to make it a point to get on the buses as they prepare to leave Camp Keystone and head home and say farewell to all the campers.

One day I asked a camper sitting on the bus what his favorite thing was about camp. “Was it swimming?” No. He only shrugged his shoulders and said it was just okay. “Was it fishing? Canoeing? Crafts? Bible Class? The night programs?” All of these were just met with the same tepid, ho-hum, it was okay I guess, responses. Finally, I said, “Man! You got to tell me what your favorite thing about camp was?” With a huge smile, the boy finally came to life and said, “I got to eat three meals in one day!”

It was in that moment that I remember why we exist. This kid thought a day with breakfast, lunch, and supper was the best thing to ever happen to him.

This little boy teaches us to be grateful for everything that we have. As Camp Keystone opens for the summer, we remember the nearly 1,200 campers who will come to us grateful for the small things that you help provide.

God bless.
Captain Matt Satterlee
Divisional Youth Secretary

Do you want to sponsor a child for a lifetime experience? It isn’t too late:

Support The Salvation Army’s Summer Camp Program

Introduce A Needy Child to a World of New

The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command has a goal of sending dozens of local, underprivileged children to camp this summer.

Long hot summer days, a dip in the pool, star-filled nights, campfires, roasted marshmallows, pillow fights, cabin devotions, emblem work, seeing old friends, making new ones, expanding horizons and creating memories. Summer is fast approaching and The Salvation Army’s Camp Keystone located in scenic Keystone Heights, is gearing up for the hundreds of at-risk kids who will benefit from annual camping programs this year.

The Salvation Army’s Camp Keystone in Keystone Heights, Florida, provides a gorgeous setting, a caring environment and activities that enrich life. Whether learning to swim, baiting a hook for the first time or discovering new wonders while hiking a nature trail, learning is a big part of the camp experience.

Along the way, children learn about themselves, gaining self-confidence, enthusiasm and courage to try new things. They also begin to understand the importance of working together for a common good, pulling together for something bigger than they are. And they learn about God and the difference He can make in their lives and in their world.

More than 100,000 people of all cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic levels visit Salvation Army camps each year. The camps are conducted by dedicated staff members who serve throughout the summer and are committed to making the camping experience special for each individual.

The Salvation Army Tampa Command also offers a low-cost summer day camp for a limited number of local at-risk children.

To send a needy child to camp or provide snacks or camp necessities for campers, please contact Moira Hinson at 813-224-9119, email her at Moira_hinson@uss.salvationarmy.org or send your donation to: The Salvation Army Tampa, Summer Camp, P.O. Box 2839, Tampa, FL 33601-2839.

I decided to spend my quiet time at the Cross at Camp Keystone in Starke, Florida. I came because this place has such tangible, beautiful memories for me. I have arrived just as the sun is peaking over the trees across the lake. I pulled out my Bible and flipped to Isaiah 61 – as I had been studying the Scripture the night before. While starting to read through chapter 61, I was drawn to the beginning of chapter 60 (verses 1-2)

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord arises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

Often times, I am drawn to only watch the sun rise (but mostly sun set, as I am not a morning person). As I sit here, I realize I do not often enough look at the creation around me and witness the beauty of the light gently revealing the leaves, the dew of the grass, slope of the land. The sun’s rays pick up the beauty unaware to the beholder until its in just the right light…

“…but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

As I sit and ponder this small, yet impactful revelation, the sun reveals itself fully. Brightness is a bit too much – I am now squinting as I write…

Can the Lord’s glory be too much?

I mean, we are (I am) only human – weak and wandering. I can only take on so much before I crumble. Now there is a glare disturbing my view of the lake and its peacefulness. As I shield my eyes, I am reminded that we are not only meant to bask in His glory. We are also called to turn around, face where the sun is illuminating the landscape…and go! Christ tells us,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 msg

The sun’s brightness eases and I can see the lake again. The chill of the January air is evident through my sleeves. I conclude by writing this simple reminder to get me on my way…

Turn around,
Make certain the landscape He is revealing
and go in His strength.

Questions for the Moment:

1. As you turn around and look at the “landscape” before you, what does it look like? Are you to befriend and “be Christ” to the homeless, the cashier clerk at your local grocery store or someone in your neighborhood? Do you feel there is something more the Spirit has been prompting you to do? 

Maybe it is time. 

2. Journal your thoughts about where you see the Lord leading you. Ask Him to go before you and give you wisdom as you take the first step.


Written (while on this very journey) by: Kim Touchton, Divisional Women’s Ministries Program Assistant