Horizons completed its 32nd year with a near-record crowd of 799 campers for the week, according to Doug Burleson and Kirk Brothers who co-directed the camp for the first time. Both men, now members of the Bible faculty, were once Horizon campers themselves.
“Horizons is about training leaders for service in the Lord’s church,” Burleson said. “This year there were 21 baptisms and 135 restorations.”
“We had lots of fun too,” Burleson said. “Fun” events included a night of Bongo ball, a Horizons version of “The Voice” that included voting via text message, and “An Evening in Paris” for the closing banquet. Horizon campers who “graduated” from the camp participated in a bridge ceremony and two staffers were honored for thirty years of service, Kirk Sams, Kenapolis, N.C., and Kay Sharp, Columbia, Tenn.
“We came into the week looking forward to teaching 800 young people more about God’s desire for them and were fortunate to walk away having learned as much or more than we taught,” Burleson said. “I was most moved by the tender hearts of the campers who taught us all what it means to be open to the Word of God, especially as it contrasts with the lives of the world.”
Brothers attended Horizons the first year of its existence, when it was called Future Church Leaders’ Workshop. Former director Billy Smith taught his speaking class; he still has the notes from that class. “Going from camper to counselor, to teacher, to dorm director, to planning committee member, to co-director, has been an interesting journey,” he said. “It has allowed me to see Horizons from many difference vantage points. There are countless moving parts. There is no one person or group of people responsible for Horizons. It is God using an army of workers to train tomorrow’s leaders.”
Burleson first attended Horizons when he was nine years old. To explain the difference between being a camper and a co-director he compares it to Christmas-time. “As a kid it's all about what you get and enjoying what others do for you,” he said. “But when you reach adulthood you get more joy in watching others enjoy the same kinds of things that convinced you to go into ministry. Horizons is why I came to FHU, why I am a preacher (along with the influence of my father). I pray my kids and grandkids will be blessed to grow up in the program as well.”