As with most youth ministries, our summers are jam-packed with a variety of activities. Teens can pick and choose or be a part of everything.
We begin our summers by proverbially “filling up our tanks.” At the first of June, we attend two different camps as a group. Our philosophy for camps is that teens take the opportunity to attend Camp Blue Haven as Middle School students (3-4 years) and then transition to a different experience as High School students by attending Encounter. The dilemma is that CBH is for 5-13th grade (nine years). CBH usually becomes the student’s only camp experience of their life and theyare reluctant to try something else if they don’t have to change. Our philosophy with our ministry is to try different things through the course of time in the youth ministry. So, what we ask is that once in HS that teens try Encounter at least once. If they choose to return to CBH the following year then that is great and we will fully support the decision. We just ask that the chance is given to do something different.
LCU Encounter (HS only)
Our preferred camp for High School teens is called Encounter, a one-week camp that is specifically designed for the needs of HS teens and the critical issues they face while living as a Christian in today’s world. Encounter is more of youth conference than camp where teens stay in residence halls on the campus of Lubbock Christian University. Each day campers attend three energetic and high-impact classes taught by youth ministers. The classes are what the campers love the most because youth ministers spend weeks or even months preparingto teach a single class 15 times over the course of the week that all campers rotate through. The classes are often fun and exciting but sometimes intended to be an emotional and unsettling experience, but all intended to spur growth andchange. Each night, there is a meaningful and passionate time of worship where 700 teens join together in worshipping God. A keynote speaker follows, brought in specifically because of his gift of communicating to teens. This not your typical sermon and Encounter posts the keynotes online each year. Then there is a timewhere small counselor groups meet to process the messages and classes of the day and to pray with each other. Each night is closed out with entertainment, where there is usually a Christian comedian, an improv group, a touring Christian band, singing group, or a hypnotist. Then all the campers go back to their residence halls for the night. Encounter is a fun and unique experience that westrongly believe everyone needs to try at least once. The price for the week is $265. Registration begins online in February. Form more information and to view keynotes from last year, visit— lcucamps.com/encounter
Camp Blue Haven (MS/HS)
CBH is a traditional two-week camp in the mountains of Northern New Mexico for youth entering fifth grade through recent high school graduates. The camp provides lots of fun in the outdoors where the location and scenery serve to enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the camping sessions. The Camp’s is situated on 1,100 acres consisting of rugged mountain terrain with two beautiful streams flowing through camp. On Sunday mornings, the camp has a planned worship service in the Barn worship center while on Sunday nights there arecampfire services by the lake. Each morning there is a chapel service led by counselors and their campers and camp-wide morning devotionals as a camp as well. Each day campers attend two Bible classes in their age groups as well as one music class. Each afternoon, there is recreation time where campers can go hiking, fishing, play basketball or volleyball, try archery, and get creative with crafts. There are also times for trying out the camp ropes course . During the two-weeks there are also two half-day hikes as well as one full-day hike, withchoice of intensity level. There is also a sleep-out night and a talent show where campers and counselors come up with a fun or meaningful performance. The price for the two-week session is $370 plus an overnight stay in a hotel for thetrip up there. Registration begins January 15 online. Form more information and to view keynotes from last year, visit— campbluehaven.com
HS Mission Trip (HS only)
In the teens’ eyes, Mission Trip consistently ranks as the highlight of the year, where we grow closer together by serving in the kingdom of God. Each July the HS group leaves town and partners with a ministry outside of Abilene to help boost their work in the community. In the past we have worked with the Impact Houston Church of Christ doing inner city ministry (2009); the Kinlichee Churchof Christ on the Navajo Nation reservation of Northeast Arizona (2010); the Boles Children’s Home in Quinlan, TX (2011); and the Bastrop Church of Christ in Bastrop, TX to help with wildfire recovery. Our philosophy of mission trips is to expose teens to different ways of serving in their own backyards. As a youth ministry we have not ventured outside of the country because we want our grouptrip to be accessible to everyone in proximity and cost (typically under $50 for the trip). There are other opportunities at UCC for teens to join a foreign mission but as a group we have chosen to work stateside.Typically our trips have been in the second or third week of July. We willgo to a location and stay with the people of the supporting congregation or in the church facilities. We try to “rough it” as much as possible. We will generally serve all day in some capacity and then relax in the evening unless we do a VBS in the evening. At the end of the week, we will have a play day where we will do something fun together (waterpark, theme park, field trip, etc.). If teens choose only one thing to do with us all year (I hope that’s not the case), then we hope itis Mission Trip. Few things have greater impact.
MS Mission:Abilene (MS only)
For our MS students, we intentionally serve our own community during aMission:Abilene. While not officially a “trip,” in late-July or Early August our MS students will spend Wednesday through Saturday finding ways to serve the Abilene community. We will work during the day and have fun at night. So that it feels more like a trip, groups of students stay in the homes of UCC members each night instead of going back to their own homes. We also recruit some of our HS leaders to serve as mentors during the week and serve alongside of our MS students. This is a great time and shows teens that they don’t have to leave townor country in order to serve others in the name of Jesus.
BLAST Service Days (MS/HS)
Believers Leading And Serving Together (BLAST) has been around for quite sometime at UCC. Many Tuesdays during the summer are spent serving the community together. We may go to a food bank, soup kitchen, do yard work or other manual labor for an older member, sing play games at a retirement center or nursing home, or even work around the UCC campus. We will usually work in the morning and do something just for fun in the afternoon.
REEL Faith (MS/HS)Most Thursday nights we will watch a popular movie in the YC Theater and then have a Bible study and conversation about the themes in the movie. This is a fun time to engage our culture with a critical eye so see what messages it is sending and how we can turn that message around to point to God. We have real theater with 42-seat tiered seating, 165-inch screen, HD projector, Blu-Ray and boomingsurround sound. This might be the best private theater in town and we make good use of it.
The PEAK (MS/HS)
The PEAK is our Wednesday night series during the summer. It is intentionally high-energy, fun and engaging. Afterwards, the YC is usually open for free time for a while.
Fat Lady Sings Trip (MS/HS)
The summer isn’t over until the Fat Lady Sings trip. We close out our long and busy summer together with a fun trip. The last two years we have gone to a Rangers game followed by Six Flags the next day, but it may be different this year. This has been enormously popular and is a great way to unwind before school starts back.