FUGE Camps Return to Mississippi College
FUGE campers always learn valuable lessons as they build their faith at Mississippi College.
Arriving on a rainy Clinton campus, the first wave of 300 FUGE campers experienced their first full day on June 5. Kids and church staff traveled from communities across Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and as far away as New Mexico.
Another 600 FUGE kids from across the Southeast will pile into church vans to make America’s second oldest Baptist college their destination early next week.
Serving as camp support staffers, Mississippi College students are welcoming the visitors the minute they arrive. Lively worship services, fellowship time in the cafeteria, Bible lessons and sports activities run from morning through night. MC leaders predict 6,000 kids will be here by the time camp season wraps up in July.
So far so good for camp staffer Rebekah Walker, an MC junior from Brandon. “I have met so many new people,” said the McLaurin High graduate. “I can’t wait for the rest of the summer to see how God works in these campers’ lives!”
Working the Coca-Cola trailer to serve snacks to campers on a steamy June day, Rebekah and fellow staffer Beck Mardis stayed busy.
“I enjoy the opportunity to get to experience camp from a support staffer’s point of view,” Mardis said. A French major from Lucedale, the MC junior is pumped about serving. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the camp season.”
Mississippi College continuing education director Ken Gilliam is pleased to utilize such an energetic crew of MC students to make sure camp season runs smoothly.
Whether the task is moving spare beds in residence halls or helping with basketball registration, Ken’s team members pitch in.
Staffer Joelle Youngblood of Meridian cherishes her time as an MC camper from 8th grade through high school. “I liked the FUGE mission trips,” she said. As a camper, her activities ranged from building a two-mile walking trail to visiting elderly residents at a nursing home, and helping with Vacation Bible School. “I had a great camp experience,” Youngblood said.
All the MC student staffers are first-class. But Gilliam is really impressed with Mississippi College senior finance major Carl Rainy for returning to the staff and getting things done. “He is doing a great job handling all the sports camps.”
Other MC students assisting camp operations this summer include: Princess Jones of Canton, Carly Chappell of Gardendale, Alabama, and Leuverui Smith, a Mississippi Delta resident.
Campers and staffers battled rain-related issues during week one. Due to water-logged recreation fields, many activities moved indoors into Alumni Gym. The sun finally emerged later in the week at Mississippi College.
New Mexico visitors traveled nearly 13 hours to reach the 5,200-student university in Central Mississippi. The road trip from First United Methodist Church Artesia covered 866 miles. It was a straight shot on I-20 through Dallas, Texas, Shreveport, and Monroe in Louisiana before reaching Vicksburg and finally Clinton, Mississippi.
The trip lasted only six hours for the five-member delegation from Clearview Church in Texas. The campers raved about their MC visit. Leah Wright, 15, liked playing battle ball in the gym along with the praise band at worship services. Her friend, Caleigh Brown, 12, loved the cafeteria food, especially the delicious dish of Chicken Alfredo.
“We go (to summer camp) every year, but this is a new experience for us on a college campus,” said Clearview Church youth pastor Chris Willhite, as his wife, Beth, joined him. It was the first time for the McKinney, Texas girls to attend a Christian summer camp. And it marked their first trip to Mississippi College. “There are a lot of new experiences for them.”