Summer camps at Howard Payne University teach lifelong skills

Brownwood offers a variety of camps this summer

BROWNWOOD, Texas - It's more than just fun and games at Howard Payne University.

Those who are attending the many different day camps get the opportunity to build leadership skills and bond with one another.

"We become really good friends and we're like family," Color Guard Lieutenant Cameron Oakley said. "I like being able to teach people, encourage them to do what they want and helping them out with different things."

Donna Hicks has been a Color Guard instructor for 18 years. ""I love working with the kids and seeing them grow year to year," Hicks said. 

While the focus of band camp is strengthening leadership, the focus of Baptist camp is developing relationships.

"We take the kids out of their normal daily lives and try to get them to think about more important things than themselves, like caring for one another," Ben Ondrak said.

Ondrak is a youth minister from the 2nd Baptist Church in Lubbock, TX. "Rather than just their small group of friends wherever they live, there's a bigger world out there, people to care for and people that come from different backgrounds and different points of view, and they learn how to love each other and care for each other even though they're not the same."

Fran Patterson is a youth minister from the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX, who said, "The most worthwhile part is to see that the bus load of kids that I brought on Sunday afternoon is a different group of kids, in attitude and spirit, when we leave on Friday."

Some of the camp directors and ministers said many of these kids eventually come back to serve as leaders.

The camps are happening simultaneously, therefore they are separate from each other. About 13 churches statewide came to HPU this week for the Southwest Baptist Youth camp. About 50 kids are participating in Color Guard alone. 

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