Howard Payne University recently hosted Super Summer, a youth leadership camp created by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The camp ran from June 24-28, and 458 eighth graders to high school graduates attended. Among the leaders present were 40 HPU alumni, faculty or current students.

    Super Summer was created in 1974 for the training and teaching of Christian students. Originally a cooperative effort by several churches in the Dallas area, Super Summer has grown to include many churches and camps across the state and is held at five Baptist university campuses.

    "Since Super Summer returned to HPU three years ago, I have brought a group of students from our student ministry," said Tim Stary, a 2007 HPU graduate and youth pastor from First Baptist Church in Salado. "The impact of Super Summer is huge, and many of the students had life-changing experiences with God while here."

    The camp is designed to be a challenging week of discipleship training for young Christian leaders. Students attend small-group sessions, worship services, lectures, games and other activities. The campers are divided into color-coded schools by grade. This year, HPU was the only location to offer the Purple School, designed specifically for students who feel called to ministry.

    Although there were a wide variety of activities happening on campus, the week proceeded smoothly.

    "Howard Payne has always done a wonderful job of rolling out the red carpet for us," stated Leighton Flowers, director of Super Summer and youth evangelism at the Baptist General Convention of Texas. "This year's camp went as smoothly as ever."

    Also available through Super Summer is a leadership forum for youth pastors. The leadership forum provides an opportunity for youth pastors to ask questions, present concerns and have them answered by other leaders and educators.

    "We feel so honored to have hosted Super Summer weeks on our campus for the past three years," said Dr. Gary Grambling '81, director of HPU's youth ministry program and professor of Christian studies. "It is an opportunity for Howard Payne University to serve as the setting for an intensive week of discipleship for some of the finest Christian students in Texas. We are grateful to God and to Texas Baptists for allowing us to be a part of such an important week in the lives of students."