SLA: Intentionality & Flexibility


Walt Harper is a junior at the University of South Carolina where he studies psychology. This summer will be Walt’s third summer with FUGE, serving as the XFuge Host for the past two summers and Assistant Director this year. Walt loves spending time with his family and friends, the 90s, watching Netflix for hours on end, and Carolina football.

For those of you who don’t know, Student Leader Apprentice (or SLA) is a two-week program FUGE offers for students going into or just finishing their senior year of high school. During these two weeks, participants will take part in team-building exercises, Bible studies, and shadowing an actual FUGE staffer. I had the privilege of being a part of this experience. It was two of the most exciting, revolutionary, hilarious, and humbling weeks of my life so far. God taught me so much during my time at SLA. More than I ever expected. But of all the things I took away from those two weeks, two things stand out that I think prepared me for staff: intentionality and flexibility.

Intentionality. I had never heard this word before SLA. Honestly, I didn’t really know what it meant the first time Sean Marie, our SLA leader, said it. Intentionality is defined online as “done with purpose.” My prayer going into those two weeks was that God would break down walls for me and those I met. Man, did He come through on that one! Within the first two days of being there, my SLA group had gone from superficial conversations about school to deep, pointed conversations about our faith, scripture, and ministry. I had never been so encouraged and pushed in my faith by people my own age! It was such a blessing to be a part of such an intentional group of students. Even better: seeing the love of Christ reflected in our friendships. We bonded instantly and began to form real community. Praying for each other’s needs and struggles, sharing what God was teaching us, and encouraging each other daily through scripture and prayer. I came to realize how intentional God had been with me all my life, and I was to reflect that in my relationships I formed.

Flexibility. One thing a former youth pastor would tell us when we went on mission trips was, “you better be ready to preach, pray, sing, or die at a moment’s notice.” While that may sound a little morbid toward the end, we always laughed, knowing he was encouraging us to leave our comfort zones. During the second week of SLA, I was assigned to shadow Hamilton, a PCY (painting, construction, and yard work) track leader. To be honest, I always avoided PCY like the plague as a camper. It wasn’t that I didn’t like being outside, but it just wasn’t something I felt I was good doing. When I had gotten my assignment, I felt a little nervous and slightly defeated. “Well, there goes my second week, down the drain,” I thought. Thankfully, our great God had other things in store. That week, I was brought so far out of my comfort zone on site. God taught me that His plan is greater, even (or especially) when we have differing ones. That week was probably the best week on site that I had ever experienced at camp, getting to help lead and love students.

Yes, intentionality and flexibility were both extremely important for staff life. But more importantly, they have been SO important in my everyday life. God knew what awaited me when I got home from SLA: college life and the challenges and struggles that come with it. I was constantly reminded by God to be intentional not only with other people on campus, but with my time as well. To make sure that I gave Him the time He deserves. I was pushed to be flexible with ministry opportunities I received and class scheduling, knowing that at the end of the day, God was to be glorified in it all. I wouldn’t trade my two weeks with my SLAmily at SLA for anything and I am so thankful I was given the chance to participate in this program. If you or one of your students is thinking about applying, go with Nike’s slogan: just do it!


Walt3         Walt2       Walt4

Awaken to the Journey: Devotion by Gary Morgan


GaryMorganBlogPhotoGary Morgan does life in Nashville, TN with his wife of 22 years, Johni, his two daughters McKenna (15) and Story (12) and his dog Kramer. Gary pastors Mosaic, a community of faith in urban Nashville. You can check out Mosaic on the web at Gary enjoys reading, coffee, conversation and laughter. He is an ongoing learner of culture and theology and really digs listening to stories about other’s spiritual journeys

 Awaken to the Journey

Gary Morgan-FUGE Camp Pastor


National Geographic and a student’s favorite research site, Wikipedia (which their teachers ask them not to use) describe the movie March of the Penguins, as an award-winning documentary where one can see the story of the Emperor Penguins and how they experience a journey like no other. Thousands of Emperor penguins brave icy winds, freezing temperatures, and starvation in this incredible, true story of the continuation of the penguin life cycle. The penguins travel in single file hundreds of miles, crisscrossing Antarctica under the harshest conditions on Earth.

If you have seen the movie or heard the story, you know it is truly an amazing story of journey, family, love and mission.

There is also an amazing story of a journey written in Genesis 12:1-9. Take a few moments to check it out.

  • What are your thoughts concerning Abram’s journey?
  • What does this mean to you?

 Could we awaken to the fact that God invites each of us on a journey with Him? We too are called to travel with God. But sometimes, we’re too preoccupied to hear the invitation, too proud to consider the request, too busy doing too many things, or even too busy talking. In our prayer lives we spend all kinds of time talking, telling God what we want instead of listening to what He has in mind for us.

So, let’s listen to the words of the Psalmist, “Come and see the wonders of God; His acts for humanity are awe-inspiring.” Psalm 66:5

And to the writing in the Book of Jeremiah, “‘For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration —“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.’” Jeremiah 29:11-12

For the next several minutes, take time simply to be in the presence of God. Relinquish your future to God’s plans. Let God direct what your future will hold.

I know you have thoughts about the rest of your life, but the truth is you have about as much control over your future as you do over the direction the wind is going to blow.

Relinquish the path your feet are going to take AND Awaken to the Journey God has in mind for you.

Why FUGE? A Staffer’s Perspective…

</pMeagan has worked as a FUGE staffer for five summers, three summers as a track leader and two as a MFUGE site director. Currently, Meagan lives in Nashville where she works as a nanny and is also enrolled as a full time student to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Missions. Meagan loves road trips, good books, and big cups of coffee. 

It’s not every day that people ask me why I work FUGE camps. As I prepare for my sixth summer of camp, however, the question keeps popping up in conversation. The first summer I worked camp, I was in college and my desire to spend the summer serving students did not surprise people. The second summer I worked camp, people understood that decision, but they figured this would be my last summer. The third summer I worked camp, people became more puzzled, but since I was in a transitional season of life, they figured this summer would be my last “hoorah” after graduating from college. The fourth summer I worked camp, people were confused and instead of asking “why?” asked “do you not have a real job?” The fifth summer I worked camp, people were shocked I was going back for yet another summer and some people concerned for my future, looked at me and asked, “So, why do you keep going back? Why do you choose to work FUGE again and again?”

For five years I’ve traded summers of sitting by the pool, going on family trips to the beach, shooting fireworks with my friendson the 4th of July, mornings of sleeping in, and weekend road trips, to work camp where summers are full of cafeteria food (“Asian Delight” day, I’m still not over you), little sleep, dorm living, thousands of teenagers, and a wardrobe that has already been decided for me.

Why would I do that? Why would I quit my job, leave my friends, and give up my summer to serve churches and minister to students and the community?


I’ve seen students and adults lives changed

I love experiencing a staff of strangers becoming closer than family

I love serving the community through new ministries each summer

I love screaming about a relay race until my voice is gone

I love free t-shirts

I love worshiping with hundreds of people every night of the summer

I love how clearly I can hear the Lord’s voice when I’m at camp

There is nothing like dancing like a fool at 8AM

You get to meet and connect with more students and adults than in any other context

12AM after MEGA relay is when Waffle House tastes the best

Exhaustion has never felt more rewarding

I think camp gives us a clearer picture of the Kingdom

I love the community and friendship of a camp staff

The best naps I’ve ever taken are after closing celebration on the last day of camp

Camp is a small picture of what an abundant life in Christ should look like

It’s challenging, but the rewards way outweigh the hard days

I love helping equip people to do ministry

There is nothing better than being part of students and adults going from death to life in Christ

I could probably go on and on forever with reasons why I love and choose to work FUGE camps. The biggest reason I work FUGE, though, is because I believe in the life change that happens at camp. I have seen campers and adults come to know Jesus for the first time. I have seen and been a part of life change in Sub-Saharan Africa because of the missions offering given at camp. I have experienced life change for myself. Thanks to FUGE I have been able to serve in communities from Greenville, SC, to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Glorieta, NM, to New Orleans, LA, to Asheville, NC.

I feel beyond blessed to have been part of this ministry for five plus years. Six years ago when I applied to work FUGE for the first time I could have never imagined how different my life would look now because of the impact of this ministry and the work God has done in my life though camp. His grace is overwhelming and his joy is truly a gift.

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

// // #mysummerstory // @fugecamps //





Today’s post comes from Rachel Trammell. Rachel has worked with FUGE as an SLA, staffer, camp director, intern, and a full-time office staff. Currently, Rachel lives in Nashville, TN where she works for Justice & Mercy International, a faith-based organization that aims to make justice personal for the poor, orphaned, and forgotten of the world. Rachel loves being outside, the Georgia Bulldawgs, traveling new places, and, maybe most of all, CAMP.

The town I grew up in had a vast, magical place called Dixieland Fun Park. Once in a while, I would get to visit Dixieland for a friend’s birthday party, an end-of-the-softball-season celebration, and the like. The fun at Dixieland seemed unending: a putt-putt course, water raft races, a zip line, a huge arcade. I couldn’t imagine more fun in one place.

Sometime in high school, I went with a few friends to the Fun Park with the intentions of playing putt-putt. It had been years since I’d been to Dixieland, but I definitely had a pretty clear picture of what I remembered the Park to be.  When we arrived, I was stunned. “What HAPPENED? This place is a dump,” I thought. I soon found out, though, nothing had happened. Dixieland had always been like this. A tiny mini-golf course, a few arcade machines, and a murky pool.  Here I was, totally disillusioned by what I had once thought to be so true.

The very best news of our lives is this: Jesus is NOT disillusioned by who we really are. He did not go to the cross thinking He was sacrificing His life for some pretty good people. He knew then, and knows now, the depths of our sinful hearts. He was fully aware of the ways we would fail, dishonor, and ignore Him. Yet “for the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross” (Hebrews 12:2). This, friends, is news worth banking everything on; that the all-knowing Savior would know us deeply, and still choose to call us His beloved. Tim Keller, a pastor in New York City, puts it this way, “But to be fully known and truly loved, is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.” It’s true. We have a Creator who knows us better than anyone ever will, while loving us more then anyone ever could.

How different would our lives be if we daily remembered we are truly loved by Love Himself? What freedom is found for those who live in this truth!