Mississippi College

Super Summer Campers Study God’s Word

July 19, 2012

Jamie Chiles didn’t go far to make the journey to Mississippi College for Super Summer Camp.

In fact, home is just a couple of miles away for Chiles, 17, a Clinton High student who attends Morrison Heights Baptist Church.

“It’s fun being around people who love Jesus,” Jamie said, while many of the 1,200 Super Summer visitors jammed into the campus cafeteria for lunch.

Sponsored by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, Super Summer camps have been a popular tradition since the first group gathered at the Christian university in Clinton in 1987. This year’s attendance, including 235 staffers, is the largest in MC’s Super Summer history. There are 100 churches represented, largely from Mississippi, and two each from Louisiana and Kentucky.

Whether they’re wearing green, purple, orange, red, or blue to signify their teams, the teens are caught up in Super Summer fever. Every July, student leaders in Baptist churches make Mississippi College their home for five days of worship services, recreation, and Bible study and fellowship time.

Some like Madison Central High students Kimberly Williams and Drake Terry of Broadmoor Baptist Church will return to the Clinton campus in late August as Mississippi College students. For Kimberly and Drake, it’s their 4th consecutive Super Summer, so they’re already pretty familiar with the Quad, residence halls, cafeteria, Nelson Hall, and other spots at the Baptist-affiliated school.

Fellowship time is important, and this is really an excellent opportunity for campers “to be around other students building a stronger relationship with the Lord,” says Broadmoor youth pastor Michael Kelly.

Part of the delegation of 22 students from First Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Bretton Crosby, 18, will be back at Mississippi College as a freshman next month. It’s his 5th consecutive Super Summer.

“The worship is incredible, but what I like is how you are with the same people year after year,” Crosby said on a steamy July 18th afternoon when temperatures climbed to 97 degrees. “You build relationships. We are like a family now.”

Crosby won’t be the first MC Choctaw in the family. His older brother, Logan Crosby, graduated from Mississippi College two months ago. By week-long visits every July for Super Summer, and trips to see his brother in Clinton, “I really did fall in love with the campus.”

MC’s camp for Baptist youth grew out of a vision of what Mississippi youth ministers wanted to do after seeing what was taking place in Texas. It’s been held at MC for every summer except two years in the 1990s when the event convened at William Carey University in Hattiesburg.

The goals of the camp don’t change from year to year. “It’s a Christian leadership camp” that’s designed to help develop church youth, says Ken Hall, youth ministry consultant for discipleship at the Mississippi Baptist Convention. There’s also post-camp feedback with students posting messages on Facebook and Twitter accounts and continuing conversations at their hometown churches.

A keyboard player in a Christian band performing at the camp, Josh Lee of  First Baptist Church Clinton says he enjoys Super Summer because “this is an opportunity to serve others.”

A singer in the group, Kaylie Bradshaw of First Baptist Church Ellisville chimes in. “I love the family atmosphere,” says the student at Jones County Junior College. In her 5th Super Summer, Kaylie wants to build those relationships next year as a Super Summer counselor.

The youth pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston, La., Casey Williams led 17 Louisiana high school students to be part of his 7th Super Summer. As students sipped sweet tea and iced coffee to cool off at the Tuscany Grill, Williams says it’s been another life-changing week. “I love the fact that there are 50 hours where kids are spending in discipleship and studying God’s word.”

For more information, contact MC continuing education director Ken Gilliam at 601.925.3264 or gilliam@mc.edu or Ken Hall at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board at 1.800.748.1651.

Photo: Students Jamie Chiles and Abi Bush from Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton were among the 1,200 visitors at MC's 2012 Super Summer.

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