University Relations // 06.29.2017
Over six weeks this summer, more than 3,000 students from across the state, and some across the country, will converge on the campus at Charleston Southern University to take part in MFuge, a one-week, faith-based summer camp program.
MFuge is designed for 6th through 12th graders. The students who attend MFuge participate in Bible study and service projects in the local community. MFuge organizers say the program is designed to give students a mission experience that “opens their eyes to similar opportunities they may have to serve in their own communities, learning to live everyday life on mission.”
Miriam Brantley, an assistant director for the program explains that as many as forty different churches may be represented in any given week. They work with their own groups and they work with each other.
“We offer different tracts for the youth to choose,” said Brantley. “The various options include: games and recreation, painting and yard work, beach evangelism, elder home visits, and special needs.”
“The various mission opportunities allow our kids to step outside themselves,” said youth minister Lois McNair, describing her youth group’s mission during MFuge. “We try to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
McNair’s group is from First Baptist Church in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and is but one of hundreds that gather during a seven-week stretch at Charleston Southern University to work and minister throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Eddy Bunton, the youth minister at Burkemonte Baptist in Morganton, North Carolina is bringing his group to CSU for the fifth time. Bunton, a 1985 CSU alumnus, says he is grateful for the experience his group receives from working with special needs residents at the Coastal Carolina Center.
“It’s life-changing for my kids to see beyond their world,” he said. “It allows them to see the person and this unique opportunity is deeply spiritual.”
Bunton said there is something for every youth; that is what makes MFuge so rewarding for both the students and the leaders. “Some of my kids are not comfortable with construction, but they’re terrific with children,” he said. “Some want to do painting, others yard work.”
The average day for an MFuge student starts with breakfast, followed by a mass gathering of all the camp attendees for a morning celebration and, alter, small group Bible study. The groups then spend the day working in Lowcountry communities serving those in need. The evening schedule includes dinner, a camp huddle to discuss the day’s events, followed by a Night Life experience for fun and games.
In many cases, these youth groups return to their home churches with a variety of life experiences in addition to the spiritual enrichment that comes with an intense week of learning and serving.
As one young person put it to his youth leader, “it seems at the other camps, everything is for us. Here at CSU’s MFuge, it’s for someone else.”
With just a very few words, that young boy embraced a simple understanding of the Great Commission.
Charleston Southern will host MFuge students through July 21. For more information on MFuge summer camps, visit Fuge online at: http://www.fugecamps.com/mfuge/.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.