"Devoted" was the theme of this year’s Student Life summer camp at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and about 140 of the more than 600 teenage campers spent this week living out that theme in service to others.
|Student Life mission campers took part in community service projects in and around West Palm Beach this week. The Student Life camp was housed at Palm Beach Atlantic and included church youth groups from across Florida and as far away as Pennsylvania. Video by Katie Eldredge, Student Life video director.|
The students and their church leaders who participated in Student Life’s Mission Camp have spent the past week volunteering in partnership with nine organizations and nonprofit agencies around Palm Beach County.
This year, the mission campers traveled off campus to do work for Vickers House, The Lord’s Place, Seagull Industries, J.A.Y. Ministries, Operation Hope, Quantum House, Lourdes-Noreen McKeen Residence, Malibu Bay Apartments and C.R.O.S. Ministries, said Ethan Schlueter, mission site coordinator for Student Life.
At one site in West Palm Beach, campers were able to help clean up the yard of local elderly residents. At the Malibu Bay Apartments in West Palm Beach, volunteers spent time ministering to young people, and at Lourdes-Noreen McKeen Residence in downtown West Palm Beach, they visited and played games with the seniors who live there, Schlueter said.
Fourteen volunteers from First Baptist Church in Port St. Lucie worked with Seagull Industries, which offers employment and other services for mentally and physically challenged teens and adults. The team spent most of the week painting a conference room and the front entrance area at the organization's office in West Palm Beach.
Later in the week, the team did road trash collection in another local neighborhood, said Mark Sollars, the church’s youth pastor. At one point, a nearby homeowner came out and began conversing with the group.
"He gave us a bunch of avocados from his tree," Sollars said. "He was just really happy to have company for a while."
Student Life is an organization based in Birmingham, Ala., that stages large-scale, Christian-themed summer camps across the country. This is the third year that PBA has hosted a Student Life camp.
Student Life’s mission is to help teenagers know Christ’s word through partnership with local churches. This year’s theme, "Devoted," comes from Deuteronomy 6:5 – "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
The speaker this year was Chris Brooks. Brooks earned a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School, and has been a producer, writer and performer with Student Life for six years. Worship leader was Chris Orr, who began leading worship at Student Life Camp in 2003. He also is lead singer of the Chris Orr Band, a Christian-rock group.