East Texas Baptist University Rec Teams, consisting of six ETBU college students on each of the three teams, traveled to serve over 8,500 junior high and high school students at various youth camps throughout the summer in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado. Each team served for eight weeks, beginning in June and continuing through August. ETBU students were prepared for both the light and heavyhearted aspects of working with youth, passionate about carrying their burdens and being a source of encouragement.
“Everyone assumes that all we do is recreation. However, before each game, we are able to be a Godly example even when we’re being silly,” ETBU Elementary Education major Makenzie Bass shared. “It’s a way to show them that we can glorify God in everything we do.”
The teams are focused on communicating to the campers that service and leadership are about selflessness and flexibility. The Rec Teams confessed that much of their time is spent doing odd, small jobs for the camps. Whether it be airing up 200 dodgeballs for a game with more than 800 participants or serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the teams are committed to ensuring a smooth and gospel-centered camp experience.
“I went to Mission 58 camp that took place on the ETBU campus and seeing the Rec Team was a big influence on my decision to attend ETBU,” ETBU Nursing major Erica Key said. “It always looked like they were having so much fun and they weren’t doing it for themselves, but they always showed that they were there to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I knew I wanted to serve on Rec Team so that I can be that positive influence for campers.”
ETBU students are selected to participate based on their spiritual maturity, servant spirit, and joyful personality. The teams are primarily responsible for leading games and overseeing tournaments. In addition to creating an exciting recreation experience, the students may serve as Bible study leaders, small group leaders, and prayer partners. Although the mission of the Rec Teams is to encourage the campers in their faith, the teams have also learned from and grown because of their students.
“While serving with Plano LifePoint Church at Sky Ranch Horn Creek Family Camp, we were asked to join their small groups. I was involved in one of the high school girls’ groups,” ETBU Psychology major Kayley Day expanded. “Being able to talk with them while offering advice and hearing about their relationships with God was such an amazing experience. No one could have prepared me for the way God moved through all of us that week.”
Rec Teams, along with Discipleship Teams (D-Teams), are branches of ETBU Ministry Teams. D-Teams partner with churches to encourage youth in their walk with Christ. D-Teams provide ministry support to Disciple Now (D-Now) weekends and youth retreats. They are also available to lead Bible studies and worship services for youth groups. To request an ETBU Ministry Team to serve at your youth camp or D-Now, visit www.etbu.edu/recteams or contact Dean of Spiritual Life Scott Stevens.