Eighty young people, all from the Moscow Central Corps, opened officially only 5 months earlier, had learned about the ‘good Army’, as Natasha, a youth leader in the corps called the SA, from Captains Ljungholm and Russian SA soldiers, including recruit, military Colonel Vladimir Landyrev, a member of the Communist Party and lecturer at the prestigious V.I. Lenin Military Academy, and Komsomol leader, Natasha Platonova. Both became Salvation Army officers the following year.
“The church operates within the culture of its times, however countercultural its beliefs and ideals may be, and it adapts itself to changing circumstances.”
Camp Victory instructors included seasoned Salvation Army instructors from Sweden and the USA.
Well-known Salvationist composer and vocal soloist Kai Kjäll-Andersson, (Territorial Music Department, TSA Sweden) shares her experience in this Swedish War Cry article.
Salvation Army Music Camp in a pioneer setting and spirit!
I have just returned from a three-week stay in Moscow as I sit down encapsulating my impressions to share with the Swedish War Cry (Stridsropets) readers.
Last summer the Swedish SA Music Department received an invitation from Captain Sven Ljungholm, the SA commander in Moscow asking Bandmaster Christer Åberg and me to assist in conducting Russia's first SA summer Bible and music school. Chris had been alerted earlier about the expected and impending invitations by Major Goran Larsson, according to Lars-Eric Cederholm. It was an exciting challenge that we just could not say no to! And Sven was a long-time mutually respected friend.
The SA Moscow had contracted for the exclusive use of an established Young Pioneer camp about 60 minutes north of Moscow by bus, and a bit less time by hydrofoil (Raketa), a frequent mode of travel on the Moscow River, with a private dock on the banks across the bay from the camp.
The SA camp program ran through the summer months, offering family camp programs, where by those with many children or disabled family members’ could stay as a break from difficult home conditions. A Junior Soldier camp followed and then finally, a two-week Bible and music camp. We learned when we got there that many of the children had been active in all three camps. Senior soldiers acted as counselors, teachers, cooks and security personnel.
The camp is located on a tributary of the Moskva River, in a village called Oksava, We arrived by hydrofoil and then took a 25 minute hike to the other side of the peninsula, with the campers lugging their belongings in plastic bags or small suitcases. The well-travelled trail was wet and muddy suggesting we might be in for a rainy period.
There were 80 children of various ages. They lived in small huts with 6-7 campers in each with a special "counselor" responsible for "their" children. These were salvation soldiers and leaders, and they would make sure that the kids were on time for everything, and that they went to bed at a decent time and they were reasonably clean, and so on.
For us, two visiting music directors, (with years of camp and seminar experience) it was something of a shock when we arrived at the camp and discovered the lack of hot water, showers and toilets. But, in the early years of SA camping in Sweden conditions were not all that different. Tickets to yesterday – a time to adapt evidently? We learned that they made do with hot water from the kitchen, and a hot water bottle in the room. Some threw themselves into the cold and cleanest part of a murky Moscow River in the morning ....