Howard Payne University welcomes Super Summer 2014

Teens from Groveton First Baptist Church, including one dressed as a banana, arrive at the HPU campus Monday and unpack the van for their home away from home, for Super Summer week.

The Howard Payne University campus is home to about 500 students and leaders this week, participating in the annual Super Summer camp, a youth ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“This is one of the largest we’ve hosted at HPU,” Kevin Kirk, associate VP for enrollment management, said, “and we’re excited to have 500 Texas Baptist leaders on campus. It is an honor for Howard Payne to host and to be working with Texas Baptists.”

Super Summer was established in 1974, and, according to Texas Baptists’ Youth Evangelism Director, Leighton Flowers, Howard Payne has been a host from early on.

“HPU has been the best host for Super Summer,” Flowers said, “They are always very accommodating and work hard to recruit students to attend. It’s also a good opportunity for the students to be introduced to the campus.”

Flowers, in his 10th year as director, is the coordinator for all seven Super Summer camps, each held on a different Texas Baptist university campus. The camps are organized by age groups for students grades eight through 12, as well as those who graduated this spring. Camp leaders here comprise students from HPU and youth ministers from around the state.

Serving as pastor for the week is Jon Randles of Frisco. The founder of Jon Randles Ministries and Randles, Inc., he is a nationally recognized speaker for Fellowship of Christian Athletes events, including past involvement with Brown County’s Fields of Faith.

Randles has been a part of Super Summer camps for several years and said HPU has been a good partner in the events.

“It’s a great partnership for Howard Payne,” Kirk echoed.

Speaking on the history of Super Summer, Randles mentioned the talent among the students, in ministry.

“Lots of famous Christian musicians got their start playing at Super Summer.”

He added that many had just volunteered to perform, in impromptu concerts, rather than being featured artists.

The featured music performers for the week will be the band Burgundy Road.

“Super Summer is not like other camps,” Randles said, “and every other state has copied what they’ve done in Texas.”

He said the camp is designed for potential ministry leaders and not just a camp for all students.

“We want them to have fun while they’re here,” Randles added, “but what we really want is for them to go back to their football teams, cheer squads, bands, and jobs and be leaders in ministry.”

“They will be good citizens while they are in Brownwood,” he said.

Each of those interviewed also noted the number of students who decide to attend a particular university, based on their experiences at Super Summer.

The camp will continue through Friday.