HANNIBAL – Hundreds of mostly Missouri teens benefitted from the annual Super Summer camp held in two weeklong sessions on the Hannibal-LaGrange University campus, June 12-23.
“Super Summer is a camp designed for junior high and high school students. Youth leaders can bring them regardless of where they are in their faith walk,” said coordinator Jason Walters. “We run the gamut, in the spiritual walk.”
Missouri summer missionary college students are used as small group leaders to allow other training for youth leaders.
“The youth really get to know the college students.”
Students are divided into grade/age appropriate teams, and small groups of 10-12 people, but they had evening meetings with their specific church group.
Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary was guest speaker. Chris White was worship leader and mission mobilizations.
For students at the early end of the faith, Reid focused on the gospel.
“The gospel story never is something we get over,” Walters said.
There were times to help student with some faith deepen their relationship to the Lord.
Students advanced in their faith were directed to what was called “next level.” Walters explained it is for those who will possibly be leaders.
“We took out a (call to) ministry focus to add leadership first. I think God will call some out (into ministry) from the leadership classes,” Walters said.
The schedule included a morning show with games and laughter and worship. There was also an evening worship. The students had two hours each morning and each afternoon for Bible teaching, and recreation. On some of the hotter days, the recreation involved water games.
Super Summer, which began in Texas in the 80s, soon spread to other states. Missouri has been holding them since at least the early 1990s. There were over 400 youth present each week with more than 60 churches represented, and 108 leaders.
“This is my 10th year to be connected with Super Summer. Most of the churches have more than half the students returning from last year. I recognize a lot of students,” Walters said. “A lot of students say Super Summer is their favorite week of the year and they can’t wait to get back.”
But what draws them back?
“We do a good job creating an environment where the teaching is quality, the worship is quality, and the recreation is quality, plus we give them time with their churches. Every church in Missouri ought to check us out once.”
“We don’t try to compete with other camps, but we try to do the best job we can for the students.”
Jaydon Grubbs, of Concord Baptist, in Jefferson City attended his fourth Super Summer in the first week of the camps.
“It helps me grow spiritually. Recently, God has moved me to make new relationships as I near the end of high school. I keep in mind God brings the opportunities and brings the people to the different events,” Grubbs said.
Natalie Schneider, of First Baptist, Washington, came before she was a youth when her father brought youth to camp as a youth leader and now pastor.
“I joke that I’ve been to Super Summer 18 years, and I’m only 17. It is so much fun every year. It’s good to see my growth each year and see what God will do.”