Baylor You Camps Reach Young People

Aug. 8, 1998

What is Baylor You? "It's A God Thing," said Don Mattingly who serves as director of Baylor's own Christian youth camp. The university hosted the first Baylor You camps this summer and is making plans for next summer.

"It's A God Thing" was the theme of the camps, which emphasized spiritual growth along with recreational, social and educational activities.

A popular activity of the camp was participating in outreach efforts with Mission Waco, a local ministry to low¡income and homeless people. Baylor You participants and Mission Waco members went to inner city areas to present Christian dramas, spend time with young children at a local park and play games with teenagers from the area.

"We told them if they really want to live the Christian life they have to do something for other people," Mattingly said. "That's why we took them to Mission Waco. We wanted to give them a taste of getting involved, and they really responded well."

Another bright spot for the camp was its staff which Mattingly said kept the young people motivated all week. Baylor undergraduates, Truett Seminary students and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary served as counselors, discussion leaders, camp preacher and whatever else was needed.

"If you do not have good committed camp leadership the excitement is just not there," Mattingly said. "However, the Lord really brought us some great people. An adult leader said she 'never saw one of the staff not up emotionally.' They were always enthusiastic and loving the kids."

A unique aspect of Baylor You was the variety of programs which allowed campers to take advantage of Baylor facilities. Courses were offered in sign language, sailing and canoeing, drama and other specialized activities. At the end of each day, the campers participated in a different social mixer. The activities ranged from folk dancing and pool parties to stunt shows.

Nightly worship services featured scripture readings, songs, testimonies and dramas presented by the campers. The worship services also featured visual effects such as videos on the life of Christ.

Allowing the campers opportunities to minister in the worship services and with Mission Waco may have profoundly impacted some Baylor You participants. During both camps, young people expressed interest in committing their lives to full¡time ministry service. Dr. Jeter Basden, associate director of Baylor's Ministry Guidance program, led a group session each week called "Exploring the Call to Ministry" to help interested campers understand the process of being called.

"One of my prayers was that God would call some young people from our camps for full¡time Christian service," Mattingly said. "In a lot of churches now you do not see kids volunteering for missions or answering the call of God to ministry."

Mattingly also said young people made professions of faith during each of the camps.

Baylor You participants came from across Texas, Tennessee and even Hong Kong. Elizabeth Petty, the daughter of Baptist missionaries in Hong Kong, attended Baylor You because she was interested in attending Baylor. During the camp, she received admission, registration and financial information and will return to Baylor this fall as a student. Sabena Singh of Arlington also attended Baylor You to find out more about the university and has enrolled for the fall semester. Mattingly said next year students may attend Baylor You with their youth group or students interested in the camp may attend as an individual and Baylor will provide counselors to help him or her with whatever special needs they may have.

Next summer, Baylor You will change from this summer's Sunday through Friday format to a Monday through Friday schedule. Youth groups or individuals can choose from five different weeks including June 7¡11, 14¡18, 21¡25, June 28¡July 2 and July 5¡9.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?