SOUTH SIOUX CITY — The Omaha-based Salvation Army Western Division has purchased the nearly 90-year-old Camp Goodwill from the Sioux City-based Goodwill of the Great Plains for nearly $2 million.
Goodwill of the Great Plains President and CEO John Hantla presented the keys to the 113-acre camp to Maj. Lee Ann Thompson of the Salvation Army Western Division during a news conference at the camp, located off of U.S. 20, west of South Sioux City.
The camp will temporarily be named the Salvation Army Western Division Camp while officials establish a permanent name.
Goodwill had offered summer camp for children from low-income families, allowing them to enjoy campfires, canoeing and swimming in Crystal Lake until 2017, when it was put up for sale.
According to Hantla, Goodwill's core mission is to help individuals with barriers become more independent through employment and education.
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"While the camp is a great facility, it is no longer a core mission program for us," he said.
However, it was part of the core mission of the Salvation Army Western Division, whose 75-acre Camp Gene Eppley near Bellevue was destroyed when the Platte River flooded last summer.
"This is the perfect opportunity at the perfect time," Thompson said. "We had been hoping and praying that we'd find a suitable replacement for Camp Gene Eppley and we ended up finding it in South Sioux City.
"We're honored to carry forward the community-focused spirit of Camp Goodwill as the facility entered the next chapter of its history."
Children from the Salvation Army Western Division's three-state area of Nebraska, South Dakota and western Iowa will be able to attend camp each summer.
In addition, youth-focused activities and programs will continue and the camp's meeting, lodging and dining facilities will be available for large- or small-group rentals.