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

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