Mississippi College

Clinton Kids Enjoy MC Summer Camp

June 26, 2009

"Oh, it's hot out here!," is what Mississippi College campers shouted as they marched by Nelson Hall.

As late June sizzled, nearly 50 Clinton children and counselors still had fun as temperatures approached the 100-degree mark on the MC campus. Some used water hoses to cool off. Bottled water in backpacks were part of the uniform for camp visitors.

The delegation from First Baptist Church in Clinton is part of the nearly 10,000 noisy campers invading the MC campus through late July. For five days last week, the Clinton kids stayed in MC residence halls and devoured sandwiches, iced tea and pizza in the cafeteria. They found time to worship with Christian rock bands, went swimming, played volleyball and each day got closer to the Lord.

Several of the Centri-Kid campers penned daily journals.

Monday June 22:

On day one, there was no shortage of activities at Centri-Kid camp, wrote Claire Hilton, an incoming 7th grader at Clinton Junior High and daughter of Clay and Jolina Hilton. "You could do archery, creative painting, praise team, splish splash and much more. Then we went to our dorms and fixed them up however we wanted and walked down to dinner. After we ate we went to a short concert and then we met with our group. These groups are good because we not only get to learn about Jesus, but we get to meet new friends."

On Tuesday June 23 Hilton said she needed to make some adjustments to MC camp life.

"Everyday we get up at 6:15 a.m. This is the first (full) day and as I'm going into the 7th grade, it takes some getting used to. We had so much fun today. We played games, we went to our tracks. My tracks are A- around the world and B- creative painting," Claire said. "The only thing that's not exciting is the heat. After we worshiped, we went to a big party - it was a boys versus girls party. It was so much fun and the best part was the girls won! The boys weren't excited about that! I've already made many new friends and learned a lot about Jesus. I'm so glad I came!"

Also happy to return to MC camp for the second year in a row was Bridges Harrison, 11, the son of Jim and Tracey Harrison. His mom is the public relations director at Mississippi College and his dad is an assistant football coach and head track coach at Clinton High. "Pure crazy" was how he described camp last summer. "What a week!"

On Monday June 22, Bridges wrote "I'm back! Wow, I'm so excited to be here. Today we mostly did what we did last year, but there are new people to meet, different stuff to try and of course - free time," Bridges said in his journal. "This year, I returned to Jazzman's to get their coffee - gotta love it. My compliments to them. Soon we'll have OMC - organized mass chaos. Oh yeah, it's crazy. The week was just as I remembered it."

Some camp counselors also chimed in. "Every activity has its spiritual truth applied to it," said Scotty Rogers, the children's minister at First Baptist Church Clinton and a 1997 MC graduate. "We have rec and Bible study, swimming and hoops. This is my first time as a counselor. Centri-Kid has been good," he said. "The heat is fine. We have plenty of water to share."

Sydney Thomas, 12, who will be a 7th grader at Clinton Junior High, shared her MC camp experience. She's the daughter of Jimmy and Teresa Thomas.

On Monday June 22: "Wow! What a day we had! After we got there, we lost our key. We checked the parking lots and the stairs about twice, but we found our key in the door. We went to eat a very good dinner - pizza, then we went to a worship rally."

On Tuesday June 23, Sydney had more to say, "We had Bible study and recreation. Although our team did not win the spirit award, we still did good," she said. "I am in the praise team. Our group leader Kris wrote the song 'Worthy' for us to perform at the variety show on Thursday night."

Hunter Martin, 9, who will attend Eastside Elementary as a fourth grader in the fall, said he likes playing football even though it is hot on the Clinton campus. "I wear a hat every day, drink water, and play water games to stay cool."

Bible study, sports and fellowship - the MC camp "is 'awesome,'" he said. "You do water games every day and every night we have parties. The dormitories are really good," Hunter said. "It helps you live up to Christ each day in a fun way." He's the son Tim and Cindy Martin. Tim is the Clinton Public Schools assistant superintendent and Cindy is the assistant principal at Clinton Park Elementary.

Thursday, June 25 was one of her best days at MC. "I liked arts and crafts. I like the worship services," said first-time MC camper Jamee O'Briant, 10, who will attend Eastside Elementary as a 5th grader starting in August. "I don't like the heat. We got water spread all over us (to cool off)." Jamee is the daughter of Michelle O'Briant.

It never rained last week at MC. But it sure sounded that way on the Centri-Kid stage Thursday night. Bridges Harrison was part of the percussion performance that sounded like a thunderstorm. "Thursday was one of the best days of the week," said Bridges in his journal entry. "Getting to perform in front of so many people was really cool. I can't wait to come back next year."

The Clinton campers returned home Friday morning. From Mississippi College, it was a short ride back to their church - across College Street. Others had much farther to go to North Mississippi cities like Tupelo, and nearby states like Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Photo: Claire Hilton, Makenzie Thomas, Abigail Wilbanks, Sarah Kate Dye, and Sydney Thomas at MC camp

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