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Summer Camp Season Brings Enthusiasm, Athleticism, Evangelism to Mississippi College

Young people from throughout the Southeast will travel to Clinton this summer to participate in a variety of camps at Mississippi College. This group from Bookhaven attended MFuge last year.
Young people from throughout the Southeast will travel to Clinton this summer to participate in a variety of camps at Mississippi College. This group from Bookhaven attended MFuge last year.

Before long, the peaceful tranquility of summertime at a small, private University will erupt into a tumult of shouts, laughter, and music when Mississippi College welcomes about 5,000 guests from middle and high schools across the Southeast for art, cheer, athletics, and Christian leadership camps.

Ken Gilliam, MC director of continuing education, is in charge of preparing the Clinton campus for the visitors each year. He is already looking forward to seeing the campers leave – but not for the reasons you might expect.

“When everyone is packing up to leave and hugging each other goodbye, it’s rewarding for me to hear their stories of what took place during the camp and that they’ve had a great week,” Gilliam said. “It makes the preparations we do to get ready for the next set of campers that much easier.

“Whether it’s the first week or the final week of camp, we have to make sure that the experience we provide is special for everyone.”

From working with Campus Operations to ensure the residence halls are prepared to accept overnight guests to checking the readiness of Baptist Healthplex facilities for hosting “track time” activities like swimming, volleyball, and racquetball to meeting with admissions staff to develop strategies for recruiting visitors to Mississippi College who are rising junior and senior high school students, Gilliam and his team are dedicated to ensuring a quality camp experience for every guest.

The work is critical for what Gilliam considers a successful “Five Bullet Point” approach to making summer camps beneficial to both visitors and staff at Mississippi College.

1) Summer camps assist in the fulfillment of the University’s vision of providing excellent academic programs to the community while demonstrating a commitment to the cause of Christ.

“While the campers are here, many of them will come to Christ, whether by rededicating their lives to the Lord or receiving a call to ministry,” he said.

Last year, summer camps at MC reported 68 salvations, 77 rededications, and 16 calls to ministry.

2) Summer camps serve as an outstanding recruitment opportunity for Mississippi College, exposing thousands of youngsters to MC’s Christian culture.

“When we get these kids on campus, if they have a good time and enjoy our facilities, we have a good opportunity to get them to come to school here when they graduate,” Gilliam said. “That’s advertising you just can’t buy.”

3) Summer camps draw guests from about 250 churches across 17 states.

“We recruit campers from churches from Texas to Florida to South Carolina – our target audience is pretty much a day’s drive from Clinton,” Gilliam said. “The students and church leaders get to see what MC is all about.”

4) Summer camps maximize the University’s income potential during a time when students are not prevalent on campus.

“We have summer classes, but most of the students are commuters,” Gilliam said. “Summer camps allow us to keep the residence halls going and other facilities in use, like campus dining.”

5) Summer camps provide additional revenue and support for campus programs and services.

“The camps provide income for some employees who are able to work cleaning the residence halls or providing food services,” he said. “Employees come in to do maintenance projects, work with electrical systems, and do other needed repairs.”

Gilliam said the vast majority of campers and staff are complimentary of MC’s facilities and return each summer to participate in fun, creative, and meaningful activities.

“We always receive comments from counselors saying they’ve gone other places for the summer, but they always come back to MC because we have some of the best facilities,” he said. “They feel like we take camp to another level.

“A lot of churches really love coming here, and they return every year.”

Here’s what’s on tap for campers who choose to return to Mississippi College this summer:

* HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) International, Friday-Sunday, May 31-June 2

Started in 1958 by the Marine veteran-turned-celebrity actor, HOBY’s mission is to “inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.”

“I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose,” the late actor said. That purpose is “to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.”

HOBY International attracts 10th-grade students from across the state who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and helps strengthen their skills to become influencers of tomorrow.

“The 10th graders are chosen by their school to represent HOBY,” Gilliam said. “They are taught leadership strategies to return to their schools and become leaders in their field.”

* Athletics Camps

Lady Choctaws Soccer Elite  ID Camp, Saturday-Sunday, May 31-June 1

Lady Choctaws Basketball Shootout, Saturday, June 8

Lady Choctaws Basketball Elite Camp, Sunday, June 9

Universal Cheerleaders Association Camp, Monday-Thursday, June 10-13

Lady Choctaws Basketball Team Camp, Thursday-Saturday, June 13-15

Lady Choctaws Basketball Half-Day Camp, Monday-Wednesday, June 17-19

Men’s C-Spire Basketball Team Junior High Camp, Monday-Tuesday, June 17-18

Men’s C-Spire Basketball Team High School Camp, Thursday-Saturday, June 20-22

Lady Choctaws Basketball Camp, Monday-Wednesday, June 24-26

Lady Choctaws Soccer Elite ID Camp, Friday-Saturday, July 19-20

Men’s Soccer Elite ID Camp, Saturday, Aug. 10

Volleyball Camp TBD

MC Athletics coaches and assistants will conduct a variety of sports camps throughout the summer, helping athletes from elementary school through high school develop their championship form.

* Fuge (a combination of Mission Fuge and Centrifuge), Monday-Friday, June 10-14, June 17-21, June 24-28

The largest-attended camp during the summer, Fuge is divided into three one-week sessions. Sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, it takes students out of their regular routines and places them into an environment focused on changing lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Mississippi College was the first university in the country to host the combined camp.

MFuge participants jump into ministry programs in the Jackson metropolitan area and serve people in need, doing yard work, painting, and other tasks. They will return to MC’s campus each day to attend worship with Centrifuge participants.

Centrifuge campers are divided into groups for recreation and Bible study based on the students’ age and education. The experience combines lively worship services with live Christian music, quiet time for Bible study, fellowship with peers in the Caf, sports activities at the Baptist Healthplex, and short mission trips to share Christ’s love with local children.

The theme of 2024 Fuge is “Revival Generation.” Many times throughout history, the people of God have risen up and turned back to Him with passion and fervor for their faith in times of great revival. Revival is the spiritual awakening of God’s people to their true nature and purpose.

Fuge camp will look at four stories of great change and revival in the Bible that resulted in generational impact. Campers will be challenged to make a difference for generations to come.

* Art Camps

Young Artists Camp for Rising 2nd-through-6th Graders, Monday-Thursday, June 24-27

High School Summer Art Camp, Monday-Thursday, June 24-27

Hosted by the Mississippi College Department of Art, the art camps will allow youngsters to make original works of art each day in the Gore Arts Complex art studios.

Artistically inclined students can explore a range of mediums and discover which may hold the most interest to them. During the Young Artists Camp, Art education majors will introduce the students to a variety of artistic styles each day, from ceramics and sculpture to print-making and painting. The camp costs $150 per student, and all materials will be provided.

The High School Summer Art Camp will showcase options available in the studio for MC’s art majors, art minors, and members of the Clinton community. Offerings will include interior design, painting, ceramics, and graphic design. The camp costs $175 per student, and all materials will be provided. For more information about the art camps, click here.

* Super Summer, Monday-Friday, July 8-12

The final large camp of the season, Super Summer attracts more than 1,000 youngsters, youth pastors, church leaders, and other staff members to MC. The Southern Baptist Convention sponsors the camp, which promotes qualitative spiritual growth and helps develop student leaders for Mississippi churches.

Super Summer students are divided into “schools” based on the number of years they have attended and their age. Super Summer challenges them to share their faith with others.

Shane Pruitt, national next gen director for the North American Mission Board, will be the featured speaker, and Cory and Stephanie Epps, worship leaders at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas, will serve as worship leaders for Super Summer.

For more information about summer camps at Mississippi College, email Gilliam at