Prayer Room!

A place for deep conversations, chill vibes and lava lamps. The prayer room is a unique and spiritually filled spot at camp where campers and staff can come to rest in fellowship with each other and the Lord at any time.

“The prayer room is a place where we can encounter God in the fullest and be committed to him,” Priscilla Garza, session one prayer team trainer said.

Each session there are 14 people who have been trained and equipped all year for their time in the prayer room. Here, campers can come to seek answers for anything from chatting about life to deeper theological questions. It is also a place of fervent prayer for God to move in the lives of campers and staff.

“We want the camp room to be as comfortable as possible and just nice and cozy. Lights are off for a reason and Christmas lights are up for a reason,” Garza said. “We want it to be a welcoming place just like how God welcomes us to him, with love.”


The prayer room is vital for Ignite to succeed. 1st John 5:15 says, “and if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we have what we asked of him.” Because there is constant prayer day and night throughout camp, the Spirit moves in ways that cannot be explained. He places questions and topics on hearts that cannot be ignored.

Darbi Deck, prayer team for Spy Kids described the strength of the Holy Spirit as no other than super natural and the things she witnesses in the prayer room can only be attributed to God.

“Jesus gives energy when I need energy and rest when I need rest. Pouring into the word and being in communication with him gives me this energy I am not able to explain,” Deck said. “Without him, I know I wouldn’t be able to make it in the prayer room.”

The prayer room is not just for campers. The prayer team serves all people at Ignite. Maci Niemi, prayer team for Emperor’s New Groove said she originally applied to be on prayer team to serve her counselors.

“I wanted to be a part of the process of equipping the counselors to become better aware of how to lead campers and share the gospel,” Niemi said. “My favorite part has been seeing the counselors have such a desire to know more about God and how excited they are to learn new things as well.”

Coming to camp and not knowing anyone can be overwhelming, but the prayer team desires campers to come into the prayer room. Garza said as human beings made in God’s image, there is no longer any need to be fearful or feel like you need to have it all together because no one does.

“I was intimidated last year when I was on prayer team, but then I realized we are all the same,” Garza said. “And because of that, we can share in the fact that Christ’s blood has covered us and we get to be united in heaven with Christ just like he created us to be in his perfect world from the beginning.”







Session 2 Pre-week prayers and letters to campers


Session 2 pre-week has started and camps are back together once again. As campers are getting ready to head to camp in a few days here are some words and prayer from staff.

Melissa Melendez, Wizard of Oz counselor

Prayer for Ignite: “My prayer for Ignite is that everyone speaks the word of truth and that we as a staff as well as campers are not afraid to open up to each other. I hope he will speak to people who have never heard of his truth and believers will have their strength renewed.”

Arpan Patel, Jumanji counselor

To campers:  Get excited! I am excited for ya’ll to get to UT soon. It is an interesting and weird, but really great place and I am really excited to meet all of you. I hope you guys will enjoy Ignite. I will be praying for you. Good or bad or mediocre or stellar experience, I hope you will walk with Christ throughout college.” 

Prayer for Ignite: ” I am praying for a steadfast heart one that continually refers back to God and back to his word in times of maturity as an organization. I am especially praying to keep in the spirit of God.

Olivia Costa, Shrek counselor 

To campers: “Get hype because this is about to be the best week of the summer.”

Prayer for Ignite: “I am praying that the Lord reveals himself in so many ways to literally every single person at camp this week.”

Avery McCorkle, Lilo and Stitch cochair 

To Campers: “We love you and are so excited for you!”

Prayer for Ignite: “My prayer for Ignite is that our counselors will get to connect with the campers really well and that the small groups will form relationships that will last the entire year and freshman will have people to rely on.”

Erica Henri, Sandlot counselor

To campers: “This will be the best part of the summer. This is where I kind of didn’t realized I needed this kind of community, but it became such an important part of my life. I was the type of person who would shut down and not talk to anybody and Ignite really helped me get out there and find people that I could be friends with and go to church with. I found people who would pour into me, community is the best part that really connected me to God.”

Prayer for Ignite: “I pray that Ignite continues to lead people to Christ and lead people to awesome churches and ministries in Austin, and I love it because it’s so awesome.”




Session 1— Campers have arrived!


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.”


Session 1 Pre-Week!


The beginning of August means a few things— scorching temperatures, back to school shopping and IGNITE! We are one day away from the start of session one and staff have returned from summer excited to reunite with their camp, eager to meet their campers.

During evening worship at Mount Bonnell, assistant director, Abby Weeks said leading up to day one of Ignite, her favorite part of pre-week is praying for campers and growing close to each other in order to invite new people into the family.

Pre-week is a time of preparation and reconnection after a few months away from the busy school year. Camps have a special time to share what God has been doing in their lives and finish building a community ready to welcome new members in the coming days.

“My prayer for Ignineteen is that Ignite can be an impactful experience for every camper,” Weeks said. “Wherever they are at, whether they are already a believer or not, I am hoping they can feel his presence and be impacted by their counselors and their camp and everything we are doing.”

Amanda Fries, counselor for Emperor’s New Groove, worked as an intern at her home church over the summer. She said her time over the last few months has prepared her and taught her a lot about leading a small group at camp and investing in others.

“Honestly, I am praying and hoping that I would really be able to get close with the girls in my small group and get to know them,” she said. “I think this summer has taught me a lot about how to do that and I am excited to really invest in them and make lots of friends.”

Emily Brown, prayer team member for Lion King said God also taught her a lot over the summer, further equipping her for the role she has in Ignite. The verse she said she felt God put on her heart is Matthew 25:40, ” “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”

“If we want to love God well, we need to love others well. And that is such a big part of it, is how we are serving others is how we serve God,” she said.

With only one day away from the start of camp, staff are beyond excited to meet and talk to campers.

Weeks said if I could say one thing to students right now I would tell them not to be afraid to meet new people or explore new things.

“Just be open to all of the new friends and experiences college has for you.”





Spring Break!

Check out all the cool ways God moved in our staff during Spring Break! God so clearly  used the time to prepare members for the summer during Ignite and throughout their lives as followers of Christ. We are so excited to have these boys on staff with us this year.

Aaron Yuan- Junior, counselor in Home Alone


“Over Spring Break, I went to South Padre Island on a mission trip called Beach Reach. The goal of Beach Reach is to share the love of Christ to those going to South Padre through servant evangelism. This is shown through giving free rides and free pancakes to those who need it while having spiritual and gospel conversations. This was my second time on Beach Reach,  and I was excited to see God’s will in action again. Throughout the week, it was clear how He was moving as people started being more receptive to having conversations centered around the Gospel. We witnessed some people tear up after we prayed over them while others thanked us for the encouraging words we gave them. By the end of the week, over 30 people committed their lives to Christ. Through these seven days dedicated towards intentional service for God, it reminded me again the importance of having the confidence to share the Gospel to those close to me. I shouldn’t let fear dictate my ability to have spiritual conversations with my non-believer friends. If I can have these conversations with random strangers and see the impact behind that, why shouldn’t I do the same?”

Case Garza- Sophomore, Prayer Team for 101 Dalmatians 

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“Over spring break I was given the opportunity to be apart of a mission trip to Italy through my church. This trip has impacted me in ways that I truly cannot express through words on a screen. The primary focus of the trip was to meet and share with the gospel with refuges from Central Asia and the Middle East. We accomplished this by going to major hubs for refugee activity including city parks, shelters, health and legal clinics, and free language classes. During the week we met with individuals and continued to follow up and show them the love of Christ through community, fellowship and sharing the gospel. Hearing the testimonies of the refugees we partnered with from a house-church and seeing how  joyous they where to share what Jesus has done in each of their lives, motivated me to seek out the relationships we made with refugees who have not heard the good news of Jesus as well as those who have not opened their hearts to his resurrection power. Interacting with people who have never heard the name of Jesus spoken to them opened my eyes to the urgency we have to tell others about him and what he has done for us. It made me think about my role in Ignite and knowing the work I am doing now will help build up the next generation that will impact God’s kingdom and make his name known to the ends of the earth. Seeing the work God is doing globally made me even more excited for the work we get to do here in Austin, specifically in Ignite where he has allowed us to be the hands and feet of his church and make disciples with incoming Longhorns.”


Jimmy Phan- Freshman, counselor in Shrek 

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“I went on the Young Life Spring Break trip. The trip was free since my leader paid for me to go so I just expected a free trip to Florida sticking around the guys in my small group. It was evident I hardly knew anyone when I was on the bus with mostly BYX boys and girls I just have never seen. While I was on the bus, however, something inside of me just flipped and I wanted to get to meet people all week. I used every opportunity to ask for peoples’ names and I made sure I remembered since it means a lot to a person to have their name remembered in the first encounter. It was a blast to get to know others and grow so close. I was having a blast with the events held whether a silent disco, spike-ball tournament, or beach olympics. During the week, one of my friends was battling loneliness, but the same night the message was over loneliness which was crazy to see God answer that prayer. Probably the highlight of the trip was when we had a night focused on prayer. We drew a hand on a piece of paper and wrote down our struggles and taped it to the wall. With around 200 college kids, we started reading what was on the hands and prayed over the hands. As I read what was on the hands, I noticed a lot of people were struggling with the same thing which made the thought of brothers and sisters. After that night I knew I wanted to get baptized the next day with Young Life. The thought of baptism was on my heart for a while and I considered doing it with Ignite or Austin Stone, but with all the community and answered prayers, I knew it had to happen. It was so good to celebrate my renewal in life amongst so many people. I walked away from that trip with so many memories and friendships. I learned to be more intentional with my relationships and I decided to meet up with several individuals who really had a heart filled with God as I met them on the trip and it has worked out really well so far.”

Camp Registration!!! Four never looked so good.

After the auditorium filled with staff members, Vanessa Zielinski, the Ignite marketing exec. came on the stage. Using enthusiastic cheerleading vocals and the help of media team member Michael Martin, they pumped up the crowd with a short skit describing why camper count is important. After a drawn out drum roll, the weekly camper count flashed across the screen, and the staff burst into cheers as the number showed four people had already signed up for Ignite 2019.

On February 19, camper registration for Ignineteen officially opened, reminding staff that retreat is only a short time away. While many future campers may not even have knowledge of Ignite Texas yet, staff have been praying for campers since last summer and are excited to meet them.

Staff works all year to ensure camp is successful and campers leave Ignite with community and assurance that they will find a church home and ministry on campus. Throughout the year, the Lord equips our staff to lead incoming students and welcome them into the body of Christ at UT through community and support. After a lot of preparation, staff is always eager to meet the people they have been learning to care for all semester.

The fact that four people have already signed up for retreat less than 24 hours since applications opened up is an incredible joy. Learning four people already know about registration and are eager to learn about Jesus and find community in Austin makes all the work worth it, even if those four were the only campers who signed up for retreat. Luke 15:7 says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” All of the work and preparation for retreat, would be completely worth it if it meant we would see four people sprint toward God and live a life running after Christ.


Because we serve a powerful and mighty God, we can confidently say He will provide far more abundantly than we could ever imagine because He loves us and cares for us all so so much! Our staff knows this and experienced the overwhelming joy and satisfaction that comes with following Christ. Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


It is this feeling of incomprehensible love that overflows to the love for our campers and eagerness for them to experience the same kind of love.


Many of our staff have previously attended Ignite as a camper or worked at camp before and can testify how it changed their lives at college. Having a solid community of people to look to when first arriving on campus is really important. When students have people to lean on while adjusting to college life it makes students feel cared for and the first semester a lot more fun. Because of the people who intentionally poured into their hearts, many of our staff want campers to have the same experience.

Having a time where we can minister to incoming students, worship, learn and experience God’s presence is an amazing opportunity. The campers who sign up for Ignite bond our staff together. We all share a love for Jesus and want to share that love with incoming students. We cannot wait to watch the camper count grow each week and see God answer prayers as the number grows.


To our campers — we cannot wait to meet you. 🙂





Ignite gets counselors: Anticipation for big things to come during “Ignineteen”

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Counselor Landry Allred welcomed by staff during Reveal Tuesday night.

Ignite fall leadership lined the walkway of Burdine 106 Tuesday night, jumping and cheering in excitement. With music playing in the background, co-chairs and prayer team members laughed and danced, waiting to welcome counselors into their new communities. Meanwhile, just outside the heavy, closed doors,139 counselors stood in the lobby dressed in an array of candies and holding boiled eggs, brooms and other obscure objects.

“As a counselor, your role and expectation is to take these incoming students, point them straight to the gospel and to the fact that God has a plan for their lives and show them they are incredibly loved,” said Sam Dunegan, director of Ignite 2019. “The overall big picture is to help these incoming students we are going to have in August find where God wants them to be on campus.”

Counselors form the majority of Ignite staff and hold a key role by directly serving and loving freshmen and acting as small group leaders in August. While co-chairs and prayer team spent the first semester training and building community in the fall, Ignite could not happen without counselors.

After praying and preparing all fall semester, Reveal was finally here. Following a full week of interviews and prospective counselors anxiously awaiting the news, it was finally time to welcome the most important addition to the “Igniteen” staff.

Senior co-chair Sydney Shin said she was “heck-a excited to have counselors.” In previous years, Shin served as a counselor in camp Taco Bell and NBA Jam.

“Experiencing the impact it made completely changed the way I viewed community and gave me people who would support me through everything,” Shin said. “I am looking forward to having another family because my past two camps did that so well for us.”

Standing in the foyer with a hard boiled egg in her hand, freshman Natalie Castiglioni described her enthusiasm about being a part of the Ignite family.  

“I applied because I wanted to experience more of God’s love,” Castiglioni said. “I am excited and expecting this semester to be a lot of fun.”

When asked what she thought the theme of “Ignineteen” was she replied with “candy.”

At 9:30 p.m., the auditorium doors opened and the sound of fall leadership chanting “We -We love – We love our counselors” flooded the foyer as new staff came in.

After a quirky game, counselors sat with their camps and answered a riddle together which scattered them throughout the building to find their core four. During this time, counselors were introduced to the theme of Ignite and the new family they will spend a lot of time with in the coming months.

Near the end of the night, Dunegan formally welcomed spring leadership,speaking about why Ignite is important to him. Dunegan never attended Ignite Texas as a camper and when he entered UT, it was the first time he had been in an environment where  Christianity was viewed as an inconvenience.

Director of Ignite 2019, Sam Dunegan, sharing how important Ignite is to him.

“When I was coming into UT, I had no idea what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be as an individual and what the future held,” Dunegan said. “Then I applied (for counselor), and it was an amazing experience. I had a co-chair who poured a lot of spiritual wisdom into me and I found my friends. The friends that I live with right now I found in Ignite.”

Dunegan said he hopes this year’s staff has an even greater experience than he had as a counselor.

“I want each one of you to experience such fire for God that you have never felt before and continue to develop it throughout the semester,” he said. “These people — your friends — can point you toward God above everything else. Because if that’s not what we are here for, what is? It’s for God, above all else.”

Fall leadership’s winter break

Christmas, New Year and NO SCHOOL. As the fall semester finished up, staff members traveled back home for the break. However, just because school was on pause doesn’t mean growing relationships were. Despite being all over the map, staff members made an effort to make intentional plans to serve the Lord, build relationships and prepare for Ignite together.


 Session 2 co-chair Taylor Jerding and prayer team leader Caitlin Silvus attended Passion  Conference 2019 together. 

Passion is a 3-day Christian conference for 18-25 year olds. Each year there are speakers from all over the world to lift up the name of Jesus and encourage and teach the young adult generation. Featured speakers at Passion 2019 included Louie Giglio, pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Matt Chandler, President of the Acts29 Network. Worship leaders this year included Hillsong, Crower and Kari Jobe. This year Passion was held January 2-4.

“It was such a wonderful way to start the new year,” Jerding said. “Caitlin and I decided to go to Passion together because she had gone the year before and really loved it. We actually didn’t have tickets and it was sold out, but we found super cheap tickets the week before and it worked out perfectly!”


Post from Taylor’s Instagram about Passion 2019. 

“His name is a light that the shadows can’t deny. Passion’19 was so refreshing and it was wonderful to hear Jesus speak so clearly and beautifully!!! Also can’t wait to party with Jesus on NYE this year in Georgia #passion19 #andymineoSTAN” -@oneneatlady

Passion Conference was founded with the verse Isaiah 26:8 on their hearts, specifically the last phrase, “For your name and renown are the desire of our souls.” Passion Conference focuses on God’s glory and teaching that God is most glorified in us when we live lives that are fully satisfied in Him.

“Something I learned at Passion is that one of the best ways to glorify God is by being fully alive and not getting caught up in guilt, shame, and anxiety,” Jerding said. “This will help me in Ignite to not worry about failing in my position as co-Chair. Instead, I’m going to focus on being present and loving my counselors and campers to the fullest extent.”

“My favorite memory from Passion was definitely Andy Mineo’s performance. I didn’t know that I was such a big fan of Christian rap until I saw that man go off,” Jerding said. “It was really funny because I was jumping and dancing around and there was this older dude sitting next to me standing so awkwardly. Later during the lunch break he was like “Wow, you youngsters really like Andy Mineo!”. It was so funny.”

Prayer team leader Tanya Van Zante, co-chair leader JT Dahill and media team members Illiana Parker and Caroline Betik went to Canada to volunteer with Redfrogs.  

Red Frogs is an organization that originated in Australia in 1997 and soon spread to Canada and other countries around the world. According to the website, Red Frogs mission is to, “provide positive peer presence in alcohol-fueled environments where young people gather, educate them on safe partying behaviors, and promote and provide non-alcoholic and/or diversionary activities that engage them in these environments.” 

During the trip, the team of volunteers were assigned to attend 17 parties and spent most of their time in clubs surrounded by party goers serving water and granola bars and fostering relationships that revealed genuine care and concern for their wellbeing.

Session 2 co-chair, JT Dahill said one thing he learned from the trip was the importance of being spiritually rooted in Christ to be prepared to handle unpredictable circumstances and efficiently work and support each other in prayer at all times.

“Our team went to some very dark environments that are very troublesome places to be for Christians,” Dahill said. “Starting off spiritually rooted helped our team bond immediately and enabled us to be very cohesive from the start because of our shared identity in Christ.”   

Because Red Frogs come to serve, it often creates opportunity for questions, especially with a team from hundreds of miles away.

“You must not be having a lot of fun at these parties sober, huh?”

“What do you think about all this? You must be hard core judging us right now?”

“You’re from TEXAS? Why are you HERE? Are you getting credit for this or something?”

All of these questions provided an excellent way to share the gospel and show them how much the team and God cares for them.

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Post from JT’s Instagram about the trip 

“I can’t thank God enough for the opportunity to serve the people of Canada with this amazing team.” -jtdahill_98

“Over time, word got around to the students that we were from Texas and they wanted to know why we came all the up to serve and care for them,” Dahill said. “We told them we were there to share the love that Christ has for them and some of us even had the opportunity to share the gospel and keep up with them after the trip.”

Dahill said he can hone in many of the things he learned, including remaining rooted in Christ and sharing the gospel, to lead his camp in a God centered way that will help everyone become closer to Jesus and to each other.

 “It can be very scary and dangerous for a believer starting off at college to not have a spiritually rooted community to support them in their first semester,” Dahill said. “The Lord has given me the opportunity to lead a strong Christ centered camp within Ignite Texas and I look forward to supporting my camp with the lessons learned during our trip.” 




Andres Rojas: Counselor Testimony

Andres Rojas came to the states when he was ten and began knowing and learning about God as he went to church growing up. In college he found the perfect opportunity to make God the center of his life by joining a local church and being a counselor in Ignite Texas.

Hello 2019!!!!

WowWowWow! December seemed to go by in a flash and so did 2018! Happy New Year!!!

God did SO MUCH in 2018! Just think, we cannot even begin to list out half of the things God did for Ignite Texas last year, yet alone the entire country or world. His love and grace has no bounds and to be able to tangibly see His work in our life is a blessing.

Here is just a small portion of what God DID last year in Ignite Texas.



  • Countless eternal relationships were formed between staff members and campers
  • We welcomed a record 300+ campers to Ignite 2018
  • Over 100s of prayers were tallied answered in the prayer room over 8 days of camp
  • We began forming new community for Ignineteen by welcoming Fall Leadership

With all God did for our undeserving hearts in 2018,  it is time to welcome in a new year of learning about the Lord.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2nd Corinthians 5:17

Let us make 2019 a year worth living. A year filled with serving and worshiping the Lord and growing and eagerness to be more like Jesus. One filled with discipleships, repentance, community, grace and all the beatitudes. Let us make 2019 a year dedicated t getting to know Him more and telling others about his unending love for us.

We are so excited to continue to strive for these things in the new year with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and to watch God work in indescribable ways through our lives and through Ignite Texas this year.

Because God blessed us with a long winter break there are only a few VERY important dates to keep in mind.

Here’s whats happening in January 2019.

  • The start of the spring semester January 22
  • Counselor applications due January 25
  • Counselor Applications Due January 25




Link to apply: