From cheerleading and music to basketball and Fuge, campers make for ‘Super Summer’ at MC
This summer, thousands of students from across the Southeast will descend upon Mississippi College to sharpen their athletic or musical prowess, draw closer to the Lord, and have plenty of fun.
Whether they plan to attend immersive, weeklong experiences like Fuge or Super Summer or take part in concentrated, one-day clinics like basketball or football camps, youngsters who participate in summer camps at MC will have an opportunity to learn more about what Mississippi College has to offer.
Ken Gilliam, director of continuing education at MC, said attendance for the annual rites of the season is expected to reach pre-2020 levels, as campers are eager to return to many of the activities that had been restricted by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
“We anticipate entertaining between 4,000 and 5,000 campers from the entire Southern Region of the U.S. this summer,” Gilliam said. “MC has a beautiful campus consisting of state-of-the-art facilities, most of which would be vacant during the summer term. Camps not only bring thousands of prospective students to our door, but more importantly, they expose these students to Christian teaching.
“The camps assist in the fulfillment of the University’s mission of service to the community through a variety of learning opportunities, and also assist in the University’s vision of commitment to the cause of Christ. They also provide adults and church members from more than 100 churches from 10 states greater exposure to Mississippi College, and provide additional revenue and support for campus programs and services.”
The fun starts at Longabaugh Field on Thursday, June 9, when MC hosts a three-day boys’ soccer camp. Women’s basketball grabs the spotlight for a pair of one-day events in the A.E. Wood Coliseum: The Lady Choctaws Team Shootout on Saturday, June 11, and the Lady Choctaws Elite Camp on Sunday, June 12.
On Monday, June 13, cheerleaders take the stage for MC’s four-day cheer camp that starts the second week of the camp season. Instructors from the Universal Cheer-leading Association in Memphis teach campers highly energized routines to pump up any sports crowd.
That day, one of MC’s most highly attended programs will also begin: Fuge, a combination of Mission Fuge and Centrifuge, sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gilliam said MC was the first college in the country to host the combined camp, which takes students out of their normal routines and places them into an environment focused on changing lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ. MFuge participants immediately jump into ministry programs with local communities and serve people in need.
“They go into selected places in the metro area and do mission work, such as painting, yard work, or anything needed,” Gilliam said. “They collaborate with other churches in the area to find the best places for their work, then they come back to the MC campus and attend worship with Centrifuge participants.”
Centrifuge camp-ers are divided into groups for recreation and Bible study based on age and education. The six-day experience combines lively worship services with live Christian music, quiet time for Bible study, fellowship with peers in the cafeteria, sports activities at the HealthPlex, and short mission trips to share Christ’s love with children in the metro Jackson area.
“Matchless One” is the theme for 2022 Fuge. Campers will learn how the Bible is filled with stories of ordinary people God used in extraordinary ways to teach character and truth, but one person in Scripture is the full and complete embodiment of every good trait any other character ever displayed: Jesus, who is the matchless one.
Three Fuge sessions are scheduled throughout the summer: June 13-18, June 20-25, and June 27-July 2.
A busy Week Two slate of camps will continue with a one-day football camp at Robinson-Hale Stadium on Wednesday, June 15. Campers will show off their gridiron skills in drills without pads or helmets, and will receive instruction that will elevate anyone’s game.
Women’s basketball will return to the mix with a two-day Lady Choctaws Team Camp starting on Friday, June 17. And Longabaugh Field will welcome young lady footballers on Friday, June 17, for a two-day girls’ soccer camp.
Promising hoopsters will gather at the A.E. Wood Coliseum on Monday, June 20, to begin a two-day Super Hoops Junior High Team Camp and a three-day Lady Choctaws Day Camp. Basketball camps will continue throughout the week, with a one-day Super Hoops Elite Camp set for Wednesday, June 22, and a three-day Super Hoops Team Camp beginning Thursday, June 23. The on-court action will spill into the following week with a Lady Choctaws Overnight Camp from Sunday to Wednesday, June 26-29.
MC will beckon budding instrumentalists to music camp, a six-day event that will begin on Sunday, June 26, and conclude with a recital for parents. The popular soccer camps will be repeated in July for both boys (July 6-9) and girls (July 29-30), but the penultimate event of MC’s summer camp season will be Super Summer, a five-day event scheduled to begin on Monday, July 11.
“Super Summer is typically our biggest camp,” Gilliam said. “We anticipate about 1,100, counting the youth pastors, church leaders, and other staff who participate in the event and help lead it.”
Erik Reed, founder and lead pastor of the Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, will be the featured speaker, and Kara (Young) Fincher, associate minister to college students at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood, Alabama, will serve as the musical performer for Super Summer. The discipleship and evangelism leadership conference promotes qualitative spiritual growth and helps develop student leaders for Mississippi churches.
The SBC sponsors the event, which is designed for students who have a desire to grow spiritually. Super Summer challenges them to share their faith with others.
Gilliam said representatives from several departments on the Clinton campus, from housing and food services to the Physical Plant and security, have come together to ensure all campers have the best possible experience during their time at MC.
“If you can get these kids on campus, and they have a great experience, many of them will fall in love with MC and come to school here,” he said.