Picking up trash, painting elderly residents’ homes, planting trees and spending time with local children were all in a day’s work for about 1,200 summer campers and adults who attended the 2013 M-FUGE camp at Palm Beach Atlantic University in June.
|M-FUGE participants paint a home in West Palm Beach.|
M-FUGE, part of the LifeWay Christian Resources FUGE family of camps, is designed for rising seventh-graders through college-age students. In addition to participating in daily Bible study and church group devotion times, the campers traveled off-site to assist churches and community organizations with such activities as children’s ministry, youth games and recreation and social ministry.
They also participated in painting, construction and yard work for local agencies, organizers said.
“Having that many young people volunteering with that much energy and that much good will has such a tremendous impact on the community,” said Lela Jordan, director of Vickers House, a community resource center in West Palm Beach. “They make a big difference in people’s lives.”
With the help of Jordan and her vast network of community organizations, the campers volunteered at more than 20 churches, parks and nonprofits.
Groups typically attend camp for one week. The first camp was held June 10-14 and the fourth and final PBA camp ran from July 1-5.
The participants came from churches from across Florida and the Southeast, and some traveled from far away as Illinois, Ohio and Texas.
|The youth group from Pleasant Street Free Baptist Church in Springvale, Maine, takes a break during M-FUGE at Palm Beach Atlantic University.|
One youth group journeyed more than 30 hours each way by van, train and bus from Springvale, Maine, to participate in M-FUGE. The 10 youth and three adults from Pleasant Street Free Baptist Church served with the camp’s children’s ministries as well as the games and recreation ministry, working with local youth at a park and a community center.
“We choose M-FUGE for the service and because I think it is a good match for junior high and high school mixed groups,” said Kelley Jenkel, the church’s youth director and a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic. “Also, they have a variety of choices for tracks or ministry sites.”
She said she believes it also encourages students to start thinking about higher education by allowing them to experience life on a college campus.
In addition to volunteering, the students enjoyed attending worship services, joining in the mega relay activity and meeting new friends, she said.
Jenkel said her youth group has attended M-FUGE camps for nine of the past 10 years, three of them in West Palm Beach.
PBA served as the first M-FUGE location in 1995 before the camp expanded to other venues. M-FUGE remained at PBA through 2008 before returning this year.
This year’s speakers were Stephen Dervan, campus pastor at Family Church at Abacoa in Jupiter, and Trey Smith, a student ministry veteran based in Fort Worth, Texas. Leading worship was the Christian band Mosaic.
Other 2013 M-FUGE camps were held in Ridgecrest, N.C., Glorieta, N.M., Mobile, Ala., Louisville, Ky., Williamsburg, Ky., New Orleans, La., Clinton, Miss., Philadelphia, Pa., Charleston, S.C., Greenville, S.C., Nashville, Tenn. and Houston, Texas.