SummerSalt Impacts Lives: Reveals Ministry Plans to Staffers
Registration for the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s 2016 SummerSalt was sold out in early March, a record for the summer youth camp. Staff anticipates 3,000 students will attend this year’s camps, held at White Oak Conference Center in Winnsboro.
“This is the third year in a row that SummerSalt has been sold out, but it typically happens later in April,” said Steve Rohrlack, director of the Generations Group at the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Under this year’s theme “The Quad,” students will experience in-depth Bible study through dramatic theme interpretations, worship, and activities during the five day camp. College students make up the SummerSalt staff and also lead elective topical personal interest classes for campers. Camp themes are designed to capture students’ attention with the goal of growing their relationship with God.
“Kids are visual; and if they can see the story come to life, they can reengage with the Bible stories they hear during the day. A student may not immediately remember what the Bible studies were at camp three years ago, but they can tell you about the drama which helps them make connections with the stories,” Rohrlack said.
Samantha Whitley has been going to SummerSalt since she was in seventh grade. After graduating high school this spring and before pursuing future studies in international relations, Whitley says she is excited to serve as a SummerSalt intern. Church has always been a part of her life, but she credits camp with helping her fully understand her salvation.
“I rededicated my life to Christ at SummerSalt six years ago. I’ve looked forward to it every summer since then, and I’m looking forward to seeing what God is going to do this year. I am super excited to be a vessel for God this summer, I want to impact other campers just like counselors did for me,” Whitley said.
“There is always something new that I learn about myself and about the Lord at SummerSalt,” said fifth-year staffer Jake Strawderman. The Clemson senior credits the camp with revealing God’s plan for his future, teaching him about team work, and providing some of his closest friendships.
“The Lord has used SummerSalt to reveal some desires of my heart, including church planting and seeing healthy churches plant more churches. I want to go into the secular work place to be a missionary and possibly be a part of a team that goes and plants a church. SummerSalt has made it more clear to me that we need people who support the church,” Strawderman said.
Clemson Senior Katy Weaver never dreamed she’d be a SummerSalt staff member; but when the opportunity came about, it proved to be life changing for her. Her first SummerSalt was two summers ago, when she chaperoned youth from Crosspoint Church in Clemson. The animal science major planned to study abroad this summer; but when plans fell through, she turned to the SummerSalt application that arrived in the mail.
“It was definitely unplanned, but I served on staff last summer; and it turned out to be the best summer of my life. SummerSalt was the first time I have experienced what it means to rely on the Lord for everything. By the end of the summer, God opened my eyes to a call to ministry. I still love animal sciences, but last fall I prayed for God to reveal something that would combine what I love with ministry,” she said.
Weaver is now investigating Christian veterinary missions, which involve building relationships with animal owners in the United States and abroad, and is considering seminary options. “I never felt called so strongly to do something. It’s been a beautiful picture to work with the South Carolina Baptist Convention; and with people I got to work with there, it was really special,” she said.
Next year SummerSalt will celebrate its 30th anniversary; and, according to Rohrlack, the camp is still relevant to today’s student. “The experience enables students and student ministries to disengage from all of the other distractions and focus solely on their relationship with Christ,” he said.
For more information about SummerSalt and other resources offered to students, visit www.ystuff.org.