The atmosphere surrounding Highland Lakes Conference Center was filled with smiling faces and a joy that could not be contained as the minutes ticked down for campers to arrive for Ignite Texas Session 1.
“Just huge smiles. I have no words! I can’t stop smiling. I am super, super, SUPER excited,” said Tanya Van Zante, prayer team member for camp Peter Pan.
With campers loaded on busses, on their way to camp, staff was making final made preparations in their camp rooms and waiting for campers to arrive, hardly able to sit still.
“Prayer team met in the prayer room right before this and we prayed over Psalms. It was a really heartfelt time,” Van Zante said. “We know God is going to save people this week and people are going to hear the gospel this week and that is so exciting.”
As campers stepped off the bus, pillows in hand, staff was lined up waving and jumping, ready to greet the people they have been waiting to meet for a year.
Samantha Bryant, counselor for camp 101 Dalmatians expressed her elation in getting to know her campers and be a part of helping them start their legacy at UT.
“It is just so much fun to be able to welcome all of our campers to Ignite, and love on them and have community and help them get plugged in,” she said. ” I cannot wait to pour into my small group and make them feel known and loved and that they matter. I want them to know someone is here to support them no matter what.”
For many campers, Ignite is the beginning of their college career. It is a place when so many people find their community, friends, roommates and so much more while encountering God with fellow believers.
Sam Dunegan, director of Ignite Texas 2019 said coming into UT as a freshman he did not attend Ignite. He said he did not have people who were able to pour into him and he felt alone and spiritually weak during that time. Dunegan said his goal for Ignineteen is to make sure that does not happen to any one of the campers their first year in college.
“I want you (the campers) to feel the love of Christ at UT through these people at college,” Dunegan told campers after they arrived.
“College is an amazing opportunity to experience God and this week we are going to do some amazingly weird, fun things to get you to make friendships,” he said. ” We do this because this isn’t just a camp experience, this is a rest of college experience. This is what sets stones for relationships for the rest of your college experience.”