Almost 1,200 youth leaders from across Texas will gather at Hardin-Simmons University for two sessions of the Texas Baptists (also known as the Baptist General Convention of Texas, BGCT) annual camp, Super Summer.
The first of the two camps is already in session, which began Monday, June 17, and goes through Friday, June 21, 2013. The second camp at HSU is scheduled for July 15 – 19, 2013 and will bring more than 600 youth from churches across the state.
Students come to learn and share leadership skills during five days of crazy competitions and discipleship training. Groups can be seen and heard campus-wide in spirited flag-carrying marches and in quiet sessions as students sit in groups under trees.
HSU alumnus (’97), Leighton Flowers, camp director and the youth evangelism director for Texas Baptists, says this is not just your typical summer camp. “Super Summer students must be nominated by their home churches as being especially motivated youth leaders. These are young people who already have a relationship with the church and a relationship with the Lord. Students are in training sessions three times throughout the day. That’s part of the reason we choose university campuses to host Super Summer, because the primary purpose is to learn.”
Super Summer began in 1974 as a training opportunity for Christian young people interested in enhancing their spiritual growth and learning how to better share Christ with others. The unofficial motto, “Send us your best and we’ll send them back better,” has been passed down through the years and aptly explains why the Super Summer students are among the most dedicated young men and women from across Texas and surrounding states.
A typical day includes quiet time, family groups, a pep rally, Texas Olympics, wild and crazy games, and a roof-raising Rainbow Celebration each evening (rainbow referring to the specific color of t-shirt worn by a student group).
Flowers says, “While we like to have fun and build on team dynamics, you will see students sitting in family groups under the trees at HSU where they discuss what has been learned during the lessons throughout the day.”
One student who attended last year’s event recalls that one of the things he learned from the experience was not to talk all of the time, but to listen. “To grow in God, you have to learn to listen to God. All of us are always talking to God in our prayers, but we need to stop and listen and let Him talk to us. This isn’t just another camp high. This is leadership training we will carry with us throughout this coming school year.”
A colorful final rally in Behrens Auditorium will wrap up the first of the Super Summer camps being held at HSU at 8:30 a.m., this Friday.
Other university campuses hosting Super Summer include Howard Payne University, East Texas Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University, and the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor.