Hi, I’m retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Johnny Joey Jones! Or perhaps more importantly, I’m Camp Southern Ground’s spokesperson and resident veteran advisor Triple J. During our nation’s birthday month we want to let you know how patriotism and military appreciation is a huge part of our mission here at Camp Southern Ground.
From the lyrics of his first hit single, Chicken Fried, to honoring veterans at every Zac Brown Band show today, our founder Zac Brown has always felt a connection to this wonderful country we call home, and the men and women who selflessly defend it. As we’ve built Camp Southern Ground to become an annual place of adventure and personal growth for children who attend our summer camp programs, we’ve also recognized the need to serve those serving us, and their families. We have woven military appreciation and patriotism into the very fabric of Camp Southern Ground.
Camp will serve children ages 7-17 starting summer 2018. Among those campers will be Gold Star children, those who have lost a parent to military service, children of severely wounded veterans and service members, those who have parents struggling with mental combat injuries such as PTSD and TBI, and those who’ve faced the challenge of moving multiple times. We believe the kids that attend camp will learn as much from each other as they will from our staff and curriculum. Military children face a unique set of challenges simply by having a parent serving on active duty – at CSG they’ll get to share those experiences, and hear the experiences of kids from all walks of life.
Camp Southern Ground will challenge and inspire our campers. When looking for ways to physically and emotionally inspire young minds, we didn’t have to look much further than at the traditions and training of men and women in uniform. Our high ropes Confidence Course stands out among the trees and grassy fields as a monument to overcoming obstacles, physical challenges, and teamwork. In the early days of planning Camp Zac and I discussed the unique ways Marine Corps boot camp teaches team work, leadership and personal confidence. From that conversation came our own version of the storied confidence course at Paris Island. Our course is custom-tailored to our campers – and with each new obstacle kids will gain confidence in themselves and appreciation for those around them.
A key focus focus at CSG is to provide a life changing adventure for our campers who visit every summer. However, we expect to stay busy all year long. When the leaves fall and kids go back to school we will provide our beautiful landscape and state of the art facilities as host to our military charity partners. Up to eight months a year Camp Southern Ground will be a place of respite, healing and growth for military service members dealing with PTSD and TBI, as well as those who struggle to transition home from war or back into society as a civilian. Through partners like Boot Campaign and Chris Kyle Frog Foundation we will help Veterans heal their bodies, minds and family relationships.
Camp Southern Ground is a passion for all of us who are lucky enough to be a part of it. The kids who come here are each gifted in their own way. Here, we get to not only remind them, but also show them how amazing they are. We live in a country that celebrates differences, promotes kindness and defends freedom. While you celebrate the birth of our great nation, we’ll be working diligently to provide a one-of- a- kind experience to America’s next generation and the men and women who serve to ensure it!