“Seasoned” Leadership Camp 2023

December 19, 2023

ATHENS, TEX. – The atmosphere was electrifying, as 185 academy students from across the Southwestern Union territory converged upon Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex., for Leadership Camp 2023. The theme, “Seasoned!” taken from Colossians 4:6 served as the spiritual foundation for the weekend. This yearly pilgrimage serves to equip the next generation of Adventist leaders with the needed skills to evangelize their schools and community. Under the direction of the Southwestern Union Director of Secondary Education and in collaboration with the Southwestern Union Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Conference Youth Leaders and the Student Association leaders of Southwestern Adventist University, spiritual encounters, leadership training and cultivated friendships, became a reality. 

The leadership team identified three overarching goals that they wanted every student to embrace as part of the “Seasoned” experience. The first was the importance of being called by God, the second was honing and refining their God-given gifts and talents, and then finally, being anointed and unleashed to revolutionize their schools one event at a time. 

Reminiscent of camp meeting services from years gone by, the students partnered in preparation for the preliminaries for each service. Practice sessions transformed into robust sing-alongs as students testified of the goodness of God through each note and word that was sung. The sermons were presented by a diverse host of speakers from pastors to student leaders. Thursday evening began with Carl Ming, Southwest Region Conference youth director, followed by Jose Castro, Southwestern Adventist University student association president and Abbi Minnett, the Southwestern University Student Association Religious vice president. Sabbath morning began with a powerful message by Kent Rubio, Southwestern Adventist University chaplain and concluded with a charge to evangelistic leadership by Helvis Moody, Southwestern Union Youth and Young Adult Ministries director. 

The students attended breakout sessions specifically designed to address their office. During those sessions, students were able to discuss the challenges of leadership while receiving instruction on how to effectively plan and navigate the inherent pitfalls that usually arise throughout the course of the year. Leadership can be a lonely pursuit if one is unaware of the support network that is available to them. To ensure that the students were aware and utilized all of the human capital that was available to them, they participated in team building, recreation and afterglow activities that fostered community regardless of school location. As the final meals were eaten, pictures and selfies were taken, and hugs of new and old friends were exchanged. “Seasoned” 2023 drew to a close with a promise that the encounter with Jesus would continue at each school when the leaders returned home. 

By Renee Whiting
Associate Director of Education