Camp Cedar Knoll – A Home for New Beginnings

Joe Savon At Camp Cedar

Dr. Joe Savon, New Life’s Medical Director & Co-Founder, recently toured the grounds of Camp Cedar Knoll in Millville, South Jersey with New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General, Matthew J. Platkin and the founders of this very special refuge for people suffering from homeless and addiction.

Founded in 1945 in the wake of World War II by Reverend V.S. Griggs, Camp Cedar Knoll was a popular summer camp for African American families from Philadelphia, Camden and South Jersey. The history of the camp is fascinating.

75 years ago, Bethany Baptist Association purchased 45 acres in Millville New Jersey to allow their children to go to camp. The association consisted of approximately 60 African American churches from the South Jersey area. Though all members supported it, the mothers of the various churches had ongoing fundraisers for the building of facilities to accommodate the campers. After many years of successful camping, children lost interest and the facility fell into disrepair until a coalition of African American churches came together to rescue this historic site.

On September 26, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy visited Camp Cedar Knoll for the ribbon-cutting of the new drug and alcohol addiction center. It was 10 months prior when Pastor Amir Khan, president of New Beginnings, met with the leadership team of the Bethany Baptist Association to create a vision for this very special place.

After years of witnessing individuals die from overdose due to lack of beds or wrong insurance, Pastor Khan knew that something had to change. He recently approached the Association with his vision and after a few short meetings a long-term partnership agreement was created.

Over the past six months the camp has been fully restored and is now open as a long-term Drug and Alcohol treatment center. Getting the most vulnerable off the streets and into detox and rehabilitation is a priority for Pastor Khan. Governor Murphy knowing about Pastor Khan‘s passion and purpose, visited the camp that September and participated in a beautiful ribbon-cutting and opening ceremony for New Beginnings Behavioral.

Dr. Joe was present at this historic re-opening celebration and joined Pastor Khan, Governor Murphy and other dignitaries on a tour of the grounds and the facility. There is gorgeous lake and river which offers boating and fishing, a dormitory which holds 150 clients, a nurse’s station which is being converted to a detox center, fellowship hall and a dining hall. The facility also offers basketball, tennis, miniature golf, an Olympic size pool, volleyball, and so much more.

On August 27th, Dr. Joe, the acting AG and the Cumberland County prosecutor toured Camp Cedar Knoll to review the incredible progress Pastor Khan, Reverend Derek Green have made.  It was a great event with touching testimonials.  As Dr. Joe said, “the passion of the Ministers and staff was palpable and exciting.  To see our state and county leaders reaching out to change the landscape regarding both treatment and judicial reform was inspiring.  It was one of those days in my field when I went home being grateful and honored to know how this affliction is being addressed by many that truly care.”

We look forward to bringing you more news and updates from Camp Cedar Knoll as it grows and engages with the South Jersey community.

Dr. Joe Savon at Camp Cedar Knoll

Dr. Joe Savon at Camp Cedar Knoll

Dr. Joe Savon at Camp Cedar Knoll

Dr. Joe Savon at Camp Cedar Knoll

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