Cadet Tabitha Swires
Arts In Action Testimony Series | Cadet Tabitha Swires
The Salvation Army is Dancing Along!
I have this distinct memory in the back of my mind and I guess I could say hidden in my heart as well. This moment where I realized that I was a unique in the world of Army Youth. WAS being the keyword here and I’ll tell you why later! I was signing up for music camp and the time came for me to pick my choices for electives. Electives were always my favorite at music camp because although I loved music and singing, I loved the arts even more and it was in the elective tracks where I could really explore my artistic identity. However, the offering of arts tracks were quite slim back then! You could typically choose between Mime, Drama, or some sort of visual Art like drawing. I participated in the Mime track until I was about 11 years old. I was a child who was deeply grateful for mime because I didn’t feel as though I could thrive many places in Army programming, but with mime brought movement and with movement my spirit came alive.
Fast forward a few years and I’m brought to my memory of my first time hearing about a woman called Carol Jaudes. The dance school I was studying at in Highland, New York took a field trip to Broadway one evening to see CATS. My Mom whispered to me as we watched, about this new woman in the Army who was in this show and had begun working for The Salvation Army’s Arts Ministries bureau. It was as if my Mom was sharing with me secret information about how programming in the Salvation Army was about to make a national transformation that would only grow above and beyond what was imagined in the years to come. And it was true! Look at us now! From that moment on the Lord had switched on a light in my heart and an understanding in my spirit that I could indeed do what my heart loved to do for the glory of the Lord as a soldier in the Salvation Army.
Ultimately I attribute every success in my life to Jesus. However, I find myself often referring to the Arts Ministry programs of the Salvation Army as offering some sort of turning point, stabilizer, and game changer to the actions that have lead me to become the woman that I am today. Today our Army is for the artisan souls of the world! The Salvation Army today is a place that has reached such diversity in its artistic expression and creativity in worship. There is most definitely a place for the creatives in the Army now more than I could have ever imagined 20 years ago. I am forever indebted to those who have poured into me along the years by way of the Arts. Thank you. You may not know just how or how many lives you have saved, but mine was one.