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From Struggle to Symphony: How The Salvation Army's Morris County Camp Changed a Local's Life

MORRISTOWN, NJ – The story of 22-year-old Newark, New Jersey resident, Ed Hardy, serves as an inspiring example of transformation and triumph in the face of adversity. Growing up in a family of twelve siblings that grappled with poverty, and even endured a period of homelessness, Hardy’s life took a turn when he encountered The Salvation Army and its Camp Tecumseh as a teenager.

Today, Hardy is a percussionist in the esteemed Salvation Army New York Staff Band and is studying jazz performance at New Jersey City University (Ed Hardy currently works out of The Salvation Army's Orange Corps.). He attributes his success to The Salvation Army's music program, which ranks as the second-largest program following the public school system.

Hardy recollects the profound support he and his family received from The Salvation Army. “People in The Salvation Army helped me and my family put food on the table, pay rent, buy furniture, and help us find apartments,” he shared.

In Hardy's early days, self-doubt was a constant companion. But the music program not only helped him to surmount these insecurities but also encouraged him to channel his experiences into service for others. He is now determined to provide guidance to other young people through music and community involvement.

There’s a lot of young people who grow up in uncertain situations, and they don’t really see an outlet. I want them to know there’s hope,” Hardy expressed.

As The Salvation Army prepares for its upcoming summer music camp at Camp Tecumseh, Hardy's story stands as a powerful testament to the transformative potential of music and community support. 

His journey from a struggling teenager to a university student and acclaimed percussionist is a compelling narrative of resilience, illustrating how community organizations like The Salvation Army can make a life-changing difference.


The Salvation Army's Camp Tecumseh in Pittstown, New Jersey offers a music camp from July 10–14, 2023. The camp's mission is to promote spiritual, physical, and emotional growth.

Camp Tecumseh offers week-long residential camping sessions. Campers can participate in activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, crafts, music, drama, archery, and disc golf.

Camp Tecumseh offers programs for youth, seniors, custodial parents, and siblings living in separate foster homes. The Salvation Army often helps defer the cost of camp for those who can't afford the entire $470 fee.

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