Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground Is ‘More Than a Camp’
Zac Brown Band are as passionate about building Camp Southern Ground as they are about their music. In a recent interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, frontman Zac Brown opened up about the camp and how their music has allowed them the ability to fund the camp.
Camp Southern Ground will be open for all children to attend nine weeks out of the year but it places a special emphasis on kids with neurobehavioral disorders or social or emotional challenges. As Brown explains, they are six weeks out from the dining hall being completed.
"It's absolutely an incredible building and it really sets the bar," he told press at the opening of the band's exhibit at the museum in July. "Camp Southern Ground is a lot more than a camp. It's more of a campus."
Brown says the camp itself is all geothermal and solar. While there is a sleep-away camp for nine weeks out of the year which will house 300 kids a week and 150 staff members, the rest of the year the camp will be open to military and our first responders who need help or therapy and for families who need respite there as well as to assist the military reintegrate themselves into their family unit.
Additionally, the camp will serve as a research facility for neurobehavioral disorders like Aspergers, ADD and autism. With the help of university research, the camp will be able to assess where the kids are when they first get to the camp and then revisit them seven weeks later to see how their daily lives may have changed with the right food, nutrition, nature and exercise, Brown explains.
"We can help show data on how much the kids can improve when their home life changes a little bit," he adds. "Hopefully what they take with them will help change their lives. It also helps to be around people of all different races and backgrounds and to be on level playing field with everyone through activities."
Smiling as he further explains all that the camp will offer, Brown admits that the camp would have never been possible without the success of the band's music.
"Getting this thing started is an incredible thing. There's no way we would have been able to rely on someone else to donate in order for us to do it. Our music has been an incredible gift to help us make a difference," he concedes. "The world needs some help. This is our way of shining some light and hopefully that light will spread."
Brown says going to camp himself as a kid and becoming a camp counselor helped foster his love of music and confidence in his craft. He says he wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for his camp experiences.
For more on Camp Southern Ground, visit the camp's website.
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