LEESBURG (FBC)—Before she enters the University of Missouri as a freshman this fall, Ciara DeClue determined that a return to Super Summer was a top priority.
“Last year changed my life,” said the member of First Baptist Church of Placid Lakes in Lake Placid. “God completely turned my life 180 (degrees).”
After Super Summer 2011, the 18-year-old said she “felt so much stronger in her own spiritual faith that she led a friend to Christ, memorized verses to defend her faith, and refused to follow other “kids doing worldly things.” And most important to her spiritual growth, DeClue said she began having daily devotions—something she has done every day for the past year.
DeClue was among the 732 campers and leaders at this year’s Super Summer, held July 23-27 at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg. The group represented 33 Florida Baptist churches, an increase of 200 in attendance from the past year. By the end of the week, 36 students made professions of faith.
The week again highlighted the importance of worship as evangelist Mark Roberts of First Priority led students in a walk through the Bible and to explore Biblical truths in spiritual temptation, the Seven Feasts and discipleship during the evening services. Praise band “After Edmund” prepared the teens for inner soul searching and worship.
A big draw this year was a Wednesday night concert by the Christian rock band Stellar Kart, who sang many of their popular hits, including “Everything is Different Now,” “Me and Jesus,” “We Shine” and “Something Holy.”
Worship was a one of the best parts of the week for many of the youth and their leaders, including DeClue as it “touched my heart to have all of these Christians as one for Jesus.”
One memorable evening came after a storm knocked out the camp’s electricity and forced the praise band to continue worship, singing “Might to Save,” accompanied only by a piano.
Throughout the week, students participated in Bible study and discipleship activities designed to flesh out the camp’s theme “Submerged” by examining God’s Word, campus ministry, spiritual growth, lordship and worship, said camp director Jeff Hessinger.
“It’s about students building relationships and learning about faith, themselves and others,” said Hessinger, team strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s personal evangelism team. “All of the Bible study and challenges of scripture lead to that discovery.”
Hessinger contends that all learning does not take place in the classroom, which is why the camp offers numerous recreational activities, including high and low ropes course, a climbing wall, paintball and zip lines.
Teen John Holk from First Baptist Church in Tampa was about to learn a lesson in trust as he began inching up a 40-foot climbing wall located in the Lake Yale woods. It was his first venture on the wall and he was excited, as well as a little bit nervous, he said.
As the ninth grader stretched his arms high above his head, seeking pegs to stabilize his footing, Steve Storms, a leader from Brandon’s First Baptist Church, shouted words of encouragement and secured the teen’s protective tether and harness.
With this activity “we are teaching the youth to trust the person who holds you and keeps you from falling,” said Storms, who served as a group leader throughout the week. “That is applicable to trusting God to protect you and keep you safe.”
As Don Spivey watched his students navigate an obstacle course and zip line, the executive pastor of the Church at South Lake in Clermont agreed with Storms, saying while the courses looked fun, much more was taking place as students were learning how to “overcome fears and obstacles, as well as issues of trust and challenges.“
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