Ask any student, team leader, or volunteer staff, and they will tell you that Super Summer is not like other summer camps. John Fletcher, assistant director for Super Summer at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, described it best. “Super Summer is not just another camp,” he explained. “It’s camp on spiritual steroids.”
Super Summer is designed for rising 8th graders through students about to begin their freshman year of college. First started in 1974, this year Super Summer hosted six sessions across five different Baptist university campuses. 148,145 students have participated in the camp since its inception.
Super Summer is designed to offer a very different experience than the other youth camps that take place across Texas each summer. Fletcher explained that, unlike other youth summer programs, Super Summer is geared towards students who have already accepted the Lord. It is designed to encourage students to better know and share the Gospel.
Students spend over six hours each day learning, praying and worshipping. Super Summer has focused on a variety of spiritual themes and principles over the years. This year, however, they are going back to their roots.
“Super Summer is a school of evangelism,” Fletcher said, “and we’re going back to helping students know and share the Gospel.”
Fletcher and the other volunteer assistant directors across Super Summer want their students to walk away with one primary message.
“[We want] students to realize... that sharing the Gospel is not just about sharing with the lost,” Fletcher said. “We should be sharing the Gospel with each other, and not just as an occasional event or circumstance, it should be something that we do on a regular basis and is part of our lifestyle.”
Every night there is a large Rainbow Celebration service, where all the students gather to listen to a speaker and worship together. The Rainbow Celebration speaker at Session 3 of Super Summer, Lance Shumake, encouraged students to remember that God made them alive for a mission. He encouraged them to remember that following God does not always feel easy. “When we’re following Christ, He may ask us to take risks—but here’s the guarantee: it’s always worth it,” Shumake said.
These challenges range from facing social rejection for living out your faith to physical danger in the name of evangelism. But the promise of eternal salvation means that Christians have already won, no matter what.
During the last Rainbow Celebration, Shumake encouraged the students, saying, “I believe your generation is the one to take it to every tribe, nation, and tongue.”
In the Khaki School, the group for graduating seniors, dean Coby Duren taught students how to form their own opinions on theological debates. He explained that many people get stuck dissecting different stories throughout the Bible instead of focusing on the biggest story, the one that the Bible is truly about.
He told the soon-to-be college freshmen, “If you can believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you can believe anything else in the Bible.”
Sessions like those help students better understand how to evangelize and where to focus their efforts. From there, each school broke into family groups to discuss the application in the students’ lives. Family groups gave students the chance to talk about their own spiritual growth and struggles in a more intimate setting. For many students, this was their favorite part of Super Summer.
Trinity, a member of the Yellow School from Graham, Texas, explained, “My favorite thing about Super Summer is definitely the family sessions. We get into groups and we go over what the sermons were talking about… It’s a really good way to interact on different levels and understand everybody else.”
Super Summer is an opportunity for Christian students from across the state to come together and worship and learn together. During the 2019 sessions, 98 students made professions of faith, 484 students made rededications, and 1,230 students committed to sharing the Gospel with their friends.
Brooke, a Khaki School student from First Baptist Willis, has been participating in Super Summer since she was an incoming eighth-grader. Now about to start her freshman year of college, she continues to leave Super Summer feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
“It brings you together with other people who have the same mindset as you. When you’re around those people it makes you even stronger in what you believe,” Brooke said. “So coming to Super Summer, it brings you that faith that regenerates you to go back to your hometown and spread the Gospel with other people and other students your age.”