Dining Hall Planned for MSYC

MSYC // August 23, 2019

Mid-South Youth Camp, operated by Freed-Hardeman University, announced a campaign to raise $1.65 million to build a new dining hall. Several hundred attended the July 21 event, “A Celebration of God’s Abundant Blessings,” as they thanked God for what He had done this summer, kicked off the final week of summer camp and announced that $1,140,000 had been raised. 

At the beginning of the celebration, former camp director Roy Sharp reminisced about the great memories that have been made at camp. Current camp director Brad Montague shared the secret to Mid-South’s current success: “It is a place where young people can feel they belong.”

FHU President David Shannon added, “This camp continues to do amazing good. In the past decade, 12,000 young people have been served, 150 have become Christians and all have grown closer to God.” He recalled the efforts of his then 12-year-old daughter Emilie to raise funds for a children’s home. “She hosted two small spaghetti suppers in our home and, to our surprise, raised $1,000,” he said. Shannon concluded by asking his audience, “What can you do?” 

The new structure will replace the current dining hall, which has served the camp since 1963 when it was purchased and converted from its original purpose — a nightclub and dance hall. 

Plans call for the 8,000-square-foot structure to contain a commercial kitchen, dining seating for 299, directors’ quarters with a Jack and Jill bathroom, nurse’s station, counselors’ conference room, camp store, restrooms, office and laundry room. Increased storage and expanded parking are also planned. Additional funds are being raised for “Grandma’s Porch,” an outdoor game area that will serve as a pavilion for junior campers. The improvements, particularly the dining hall kitchen, will better serve groups who rent the camp for retreats.

“We have been blessed with incredible staff members. They are committed to being the type of person that they needed when they were younger, and their service is drawing increasing numbers of campers each summer,” Montague said. Since 2015, attendance has increased by 27 percent. In 2018, campers numbered 1,435. Traditionally serving young people from 9 to 18 years old, MSYC added a junior camp (day camp) for 7- and 8-year-olds in 2006; it has since served 1,582 children. In talking about the mission of both camps, Montague added, “Kids deserve a place where they can safely be challenged, inspired and ultimately reminded just how loved they are.”

Additional special events are planned for MSYC this fall. A reunion of former campers is planned for Sept. 20-22, and a weekend fall camp for high school students is planned for Oct. 18-20.

Contributions to the building fund or MSYC in general may be made to Mid-South Youth Camp, c/o Freed-Hardeman University, 158 East Main St., Henderson, TN 38340. 

More information is available at fhu.edu/msyc.