Case Studies

Cory Lines – The Salvation Army Western Plains Camp 

Bringing dreams to life at Salvation Army camp 

Cory Lines is not just a camp facilities director but a creative leader with a passion for transforming spaces and enriching lives. As the head of camp facilities at The Salvation Army Western Plains Camp in South Sioux City, Nebraska, Lines’ responsibilities extend beyond the traditional duties of managing logistics and operations. He is an essential part of creating an unforgettable experience for campers. 

But what sets Lines apart is his commitment to infusing every aspect of the camp with meaning and purpose. Raised with a deep-rooted connection to the land and a childhood dream of farming, Lines brings a unique perspective to his role.   

With every project he undertakes, Lines ensures that the camp reflects the organization’s mission and values. Whether it’s repairing facilities or fostering a sense of community among campers, Lines’ approach is guided by a deep understanding of what truly matters. He knows the camp isn’t just a place; it’s a sanctuary where memories are made, friendships are forged, and lives are transformed.  

“My goal is to create more than just physical space; I aim to cultivate an environment where every camper can find meaning, purpose and joy. Guided by the values of The Salvation Army, I strive to infuse every aspect of our camp with love, compassion, and a sense of belonging. Together, we’re building facilities, memories, friendships and life-changing experiences,” Lines says.  

Orchestrating innovation 

Last April marked a significant milestone for The Salvation Army Western Plains Camp as it celebrated the completion of the first phase of its most recent project—a monumental undertaking spearheaded by the then Camp Administrator Major Poppy Thompson and the wider regional Salvation Army leadership team, that took 18 months and a $10 million investment. This initial phase focused on revamping existing infrastructure and introducing new facilities to enhance the camp’s offerings. 

One of the standout achievements of this phase was the transformation of the camp’s cabins. Gone are the days of rudimentary shelters; instead, campers now enjoy cozy, year-round accommodations equipped with central air and heat.   

“The upgrade ensured comfort during all seasons and expanded the camp’s capacity to accommodate more guests throughout the year,” Lines, who joined the team towards the end of phase one, explains.   

In addition to cabin improvements, Phase One also introduced a variety of new activities and amenities. Campers can access a wealth of experiences designed to foster personal growth and community bonding from state-of-the-art recreational facilities and enhanced dining options.  

Of course, no major project comes without its fair share of challenges, and Phase One was no exception. Thompson and her team faced logistical hurdles in sourcing construction supplies during the height of the pandemic.   

Buoyed by the success of Phase One, Lines and camp administration are now setting their sights on the next chapter of the camp’s evolution, Phase Two. This upcoming phase will further enhance accessibility and safety, with plans to pave pathways, install additional lighting, and construct a new health office. These improvements cater to the diverse needs of campers and reinforce the camp’s commitment to inclusivity and holistic well-being.  

Teamwork in action 

With the completion of phase one, the camp leadership team has transformed the camp experience. Volunteers rally during events like Camp Clean Up, ensuring the camp is primed and ready for summer adventures. This collaborative effort enhances camper experiences and fosters a sense of pride and ownership among staff and volunteers. 

Lines is excited to be part of a future where the camp continues to expand and innovate. Securing additional land for sports facilities, constructing a new chapel, and enhancing existing amenities are just a few ambitious goals of the camp leadership team. Lines’ dream of restoring the camp’s lake reflects his commitment to preserving the natural beauty and recreational opportunities for generations.  

Despite the physical distance from his Omaha based leadership team, Lines thrives on the camaraderie and shared purpose that defines his work. His rural upbringing instilled in him a love for working with his hands, and seeing the joy on campers’ faces validates his dedication. However, navigating the learning curve of his role hasn’t been without its challenges.   

“I think my resilience and willingness to learn have propelled me forward, ensuring that each obstacle is met with determination and growth,” he notes.   

From farming dreams to facility management 

Growing up on a farm surrounded by the hum of tractors, Lines’ childhood dream was cultivating the land and creating something meaningful. While his aspirations led him to envision a life on the farm, fate had a different plan for him. Lines discovered that his knack for fixing things and his desire to share spiritual teachings could converge uniquely through facility management at The Salvation Army Western Plains Camp.  

Lines’ journey into facility management was not only a profession but also a calling. His role allows him to channel his childhood dreams into a fulfilling career where he carefully tends to the camp’s facilities and grounds. With each repair and maintenance task, Lines finds joy in knowing he contributes to the camp’s mission while indulging his passion for hands-on work.  

Beyond his professional endeavors, Lines’ dedication to his role is intertwined with his values and beliefs. His upbringing on the farm instilled in him a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility to care for his surroundings. These values translate into his role at the camp, where he approaches every task with dedication and enthusiasm.  

Lines’ journey is enriched by the support of the leadership team and the camp community. Surrounded by like-minded individuals who share his commitment to the camp’s mission, Lines feels empowered to excel in his role.   

“We are a tight-knit community that works tirelessly to ensure the camp’s facilities meet practical needs and serve as a nurturing environment for growth,” Lines says.   

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. V 2024 Edition here.

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