Starting this summer, Malone will host a new summer camp for high school students entering 10-12th grade looking to intentionally focus on their calling within Christian leadership. This camp, called Youth on The Way Leadership Academy, is possible through a generous grant of $291,974 from The Lilly Endowment.
Suzanne Nicholson, associate professor of biblical studies, has had a major role in developing this camp.
Nicholson said, “We are really looking for [students] who want to think in-depth about their calling, their vocation and how they can be Christian leaders in their community.”
Although the camp is geared toward students currently involved in their own church as well as holding a leadership position in their youth group, the camp is not only for students wishing to pursue a career within the church.
“We are excited about the opportunity to reach out to high school students and help them think very intentionally about what it means to be a Christian and be a leader in whatever profession they end up choosing,” Nicholson said.
This camp is unique compared to many other summer theology camps in the way that students will take the information they have learned back to their home churches. Students will be paired with a mentor from their home church to develop and implement a service project of their choosing.
Nicholson said, “I am interested to see the creativity of the students as they think of service projects they implement back home. It’s a way for them to practically live out their calling within their home church”
Bryan Hollon, associate professor of theology, says the wish of The Lilly Endowment and its grant bestowed upon Malone for the camp is to “provide high school students with a more robust introduction to theological topics and the knowledge needed to think seriously about being called into serving Christ throughout their lives.”
During the camp, which runs July 10-15, students will engage in teaching times during the morning and afternoon, participate in several field trips and end the day with reflective worship. The students will live in intentional community on Malone’s campus as well as eating meals at the Hoover Dinning Commons.
The learning sessions will include many topics covered in a Bible 100 class such as creation, what it means to be created in God’s image and how to live in a way that glorifies our Creator.
Field trips include the low ropes course at Camp Gideon to focus on leadership, collaboration and personal strengths and weaknesses. Students will also visit a local business run intentionally with a Christian focus. This will allow students to gain perspective from a leadership position outside of the typical church leadership roles. Some other field trips may include a visit to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
Each day concludes with a time of worship. These services will be run in many different formats such as a Taize service, experiencing the Stations of the Cross and walking through a permanent prayer labyrinth that will be added to Malone’s campus.
Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one way in and out allowing students to experience a meaningful time to focus on following Christ.
It is through the grant from The Lilly Endowment that the camp can offer extra items such as the prayer labyrinth and field trips. It also allows Malone to offer the camp at a lower cost compared to other summer camps.
Malone hopes to house fifty students for this summer’s camp and will be hiring four college workers to serve as counselors and one additional student to lead worship. Students should be willing to invest in high school students to engage thoughts of calling. Job descriptions are to be released soon.
Kayla Lindgren is a contributing writer for The Aviso