Happy shouts of children ring out in the Sports Center water park on a summer day as campers enjoy an afternoon cooldown. Not far away, a group of teens navigate through a secret compartment inside the Escape Room. Just across campus, in the Palms Grille, Christian school teachers and pastors take a break from summer sessions and seminars to fellowship with each other over refreshments.
While these aren’t typical scenarios on a college campus, they have become the norm at PCC. Rather than letting the facilities sit empty after students return home from college, PCC welcomes children and teens attending Youth Outreach Ministry’s (YOM) many camps: Sports Center Day Camp, Teen Extreme Youth Camp, as well as sports and academic camps.
Bethel Stone’s daughter Ivana has been attending YOM’s Sports Center Day Camp for the past few years. She appreciates how well Ivana is taken care of as well as the Christian values she learns each day. “Ivana comes home talking about the fun she’s had at camp,” Bethel said. “She was thrilled when she learned how to ice skate last summer.”
The campers take full advantage of activities like bowling, miniature golf, ice skating, and air hockey. Most importantly, the children learn biblical truths that will stay with them for years to come.
PCC student Kevin Ramirez (Jr., NC), a Day Camp leader, said, “The thing that makes this camp unique is that we have eighty percent of our campers for the whole summer. We see them the whole week for ten weeks straight. We’re able to love on these kids every day and are able to show them the gospel.” Some campers have come to trust Christ as Savior through the ministry of Sports Center Day Camp.
Teen Extreme, a week-long youth camp for grades 7–12, kicked off its 10th camping season this June, centered on the theme “Under Construction.” Dr. Johnny Pope of ChristChurch Baptist Fellowship in Houston, Texas, challenged campers: “You cannot build your life; I cannot build your life. God can and God will—just give Him the opportunity.” The camp runs multiple weeks each summer.
PCC student Kaylie Bryant (Jr., FL), who has served in Teen Extreme every summer during her college years, said, “I have seen Teen Extreme make a difference in campers’ lives when it culminates in those campers becoming college students. I love seeing them around campus during the semester and being able to witness how the Lord is working in their lives.”
Summer ministry focuses not only on children and teens but also on providing encouragement to those looking to further their education through graduate classes and educational seminars. Each summer, teachers, pastors, missionaries, and their spouses are challenged and uplifted with new perspectives on timeless truths that they can then take back to their pulpits and classrooms to inspire others.
Dr. Tim Willingham, who teaches music classes during summer sessions, says that these classes are especially helpful for those in Christian education. “It’s great when you’re in the ministry to come back and get ideas and get refreshed and encouraged. It’s very flexible for those working bit by bit through a degree.”
Summers provide a unique opportunity for ministry on campus. Though the days pass quickly, we trust the work that God does in each heart and life will continue. A special thank you to each one who has prayed for safety during this busy time, for agreeable weather, and especially for spiritual fruit that remains.