Mississippi College

Starbucks Staffer Runs Lifeway Camps at MC

June 11, 2009

Starbucks shift manager Casey Bynum learned how to please customers with her speedy service and friendly smile.

It worked well at the popular Nashville coffee shop where she worked. Such management and people skills and the ability to keep customers satisfied are coming in handy for her this summer at Mississippi College.

A 2008 graduate of Anderson University in South Carolina, the 23-year-old Bynum is winning over thousands of campers and dozens of counselors at MC. She's the director for the Lifeway camps on the Clinton campus. That includes Mission Fuge and Centri-Fuge and those "combo camps" averages about 650 students per week at MC.

By the middle of her second week, "she's done very well. Casey was at the University of Mobile for camps last summer, but she got a promotion to be at MC with its larger camps," said Ken Gilliam, MC director of continuing education.Year-round, Gilliam oversees all summer camps at MC - from those for cheerleaders and basketball players to those involving church youth.

Said camp counselor Zachary Johnson of Nashville: "Casey's gone out of her way for us." As the Tennessee Tech graduate joined his group of two dozen campers from Nashville's Crievewood Baptist Church for lunch at the cafeteria, Johnson said Bynum is leading a camp that's "been very organized. I like the MC campus."

Bynum trained camp staffers in an 11-day process before beginning her duties at MC. Her favorite part is being around as hundreds of young campers gather at Swor Auditorium to embrace the music and message of a Christian rock band and worship the Lord.

"I like it when we all get together at worship," Bynum says. "We come together as one corporate body. It really is a blessing," she said. "Our worship band is phenomenal. They have a desire to lead students."

Bynum succeeded Capri Brooks, who led camps for Nashville-based Lifeway for three years at Mississippi College. A school teacher, Brooks returned to MC last week as an adult chaperone.

Growing up at First Baptist Church in Clover, South Carolina, Bynum took part in numerous summer mission trips that brought her to places stretching from Ocean City, Maryland in 2004 to Fresno, California in 2005.

Casey is on leave from her job at Starbucks until the camp season winds up in late July. But she managed to get a little time off from MC camp duties to sip the coffee at the Starbucks in Clinton.

With students coming to the Christian university for week-long visits from Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi and other states, there's little time for her to rest. The campers stay busy, too. Led by Bynum and other staffers, the young MC guests go on short mission trips in metro Jackson to visit nursing homes, churches, and apartment complexes to spread the word about Jesus Christ.

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