Mississippi College

Tupelo Summer Campers Make Joyful Noise at MC

June 29, 2009

Praising Jesus Christ, playing sports and spending quiet time in Bible study, 20 summer campers from First Baptist Church in Tupelo recently spent a week at Mississippi College.

The five-day camp on the Clinton campus in late June was "a life-changing experience," said Leah Collins, a sixth grader at Tupelo Preparatory Christian School.

In a word, it was "fabulous," added third grader Jay Henderson, who will attend Pierce Street Elementary School in Tupelo this fall.

Collins and Henderson are among 10,000 summer campers from 14 states converging on Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College from late May through late July. During the week ending June 26, a large contingent of Louisiana campers showed their Tiger pride by wearing purple LSU shirts to celebrate the LSU triumph over the Texas Longhorns in the College World Series in Omaha.

Plenty of water bottles in backpacks was part of the daily fashion statement for the Tupelo children from First Baptist Church. The group at Centri-Kid camp was led by children's minister Rebecca Feather. Making her fifth camp visit to Mississippi College, Feather supervised girls and boys in grades 3-6. It is one of the camps under the umbrella of Nashville-based Lifeway.

The Lee County campers and their six adult leaders brought home lots of good memories after making the three-hour return trip from the city in metro Jackson.

Founded in 1826, MC is the nation's second oldest Baptist college and the largest private university in Mississippi. MC enrolled a record 4,900 students last fall and could reach the 5,000 mark this fall.

From games on the Quad to worship services led by a Christian rock band, there was plenty to do for the Tupelo campers. They stayed overnight in MC residence halls. By day, they devoured sandwiches, pizza, iced tea, cookies and ice cream in the campus cafeteria.

"It was busy, but that was good," said Shelly Coggin, one of theTupelo parent chaperones. "Everything was very focused and very well planned."

For campers from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and other nearby states, the weather was extremely hot and often approached the 100-degree mark.

MC camp leaders, Coggin said, "made sure the kids had plenty of water. They were very on top of the heat issue."

It was Coggin's first trip to MC summer camp. While in Clinton, she kept up with her daughter, Claire, 10, who will be a student at Rankin Elementary in Tupelo when fall classes begin in August.

Led by a Texas-based Christian rock band, the daily worship services at Swor Auditorium were mixed with videos and prayer time. It got a little noisy at times.

"The kids loved the worship services," Coggin said. "It was very kid-friendly and geared to them. We will come back next year."

For more information on the MC camps, contact MC director of continuing education Ken Gilliam at 601.925.3264 or gilliam@mc.edu.

Photo: Campers from FBC, Tupelo

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