Camp SWONEKY operates under 5 key objectives:
- To promote awareness of God, His love and, through the love of Jesus Christ, aid in spiritual growth and knowledge of basic human values.
To give children, youth and adults a fun filled, healthy, safe, educational and inspirational experience in the outdoors.
To develop an understanding, appreciation and sense of stewardship for nature and all living creatures.
To help individuals grow in understanding themselves and each other, seeing caring staff working together for the sake of children.
To provide a loving and supportive environment where families can learn to cope with and solve the problems they face in their everyday lives.
Camp SWONEKY grew from small beginnings. It all started in 1912 at another site called Camp Glendale, which was opened for underprivileged children, 6 to 12 years of age, who were referred to the Salvation Army by the social agencies of Hamilton County, Ohio. The original Camp Glendale purchase was for two acres with a swimming pool and enlarged facilities. It was then developed with limited accommodations for eating and sleeping while offering ten-day camping periods to a hundred children at a time.
In 1958, under the leadership of Divisional Commander Brigadier William E. Chamberlain and other key camping pioneers, the Army bought a new camp six miles east of Lebanon in Warren County, Ohio. The new Camp SWONEKY thus replaced Camp Glendale after 46 years of use, taking its name from the acronym for the Division, Southwest Ohio-Northeast Kentucky. Today, Camp SWONEKY serves over 1,000 children throughout the summer, and hosts many other groups and events throughout the year!
Hope Begins Here!
Renovations and New Structures
In the early 90’s, a capital campaign called “Hope Begins Here!” was launched in order to raise funds for camp renovations and new construction. Money was raised to renovate and add on to the dining hall, to renovate Chamberlain Hall, to rebuild the nature center, to build a new infirmary and laundry room/bath house, and to build 10 new camper log cabins, in addition to other facilities and grounds improvements.
The new pool was donated by Edyth and Carl Lindner and became operational the summer of 2014.
In the summer of 2016 Camp SWONEKY opened its new Family Conference Center.
Other updates to our camp include; a zip line, a new chicken coop at the farm, a jumping pillow and more!
Check out our rentals page to see all of our facilities.