Commissioning Ceremony Returns as Baylor Celebrates Students Serving as Summer Camp Counselors

May 2, 2022

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

By Kate Nelson, student news writer, Baylor University Media and Public Relations

WACO, Texas (May 2, 2022) – After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Baylor University renewed its annual tradition of celebrating and praying over the 600 students who will serve as counselors this summer at camps from coast to coast and across the country.

The annual Camp Counselor Commissioning Ceremony – held April 27 in the Barfield Drawing Room on the Baylor campus – affirmed the importance of students working as camp counselors, both for personal development and for the development of those they will serve. The ceremony concluded with prayer and liturgy, titled “Labors of Community,” as a blessing over the students, giving them “grace and guidance for the journey ahead.”

“We want you to hear that we see what you’re doing as super important and it’s not going to be easy, but it’s meaningful,” said Charles Ramsey, Ph.D., director of campus ministries and church connections. “It makes a difference in the lives of so many people.”

Students, as well as former camp counselors, shared meaningful – and the sometimes challenging – experiences they had as counselors, but they also recognized that those very challenges are often the most rewarding.

“The purpose of camp is to invest in the lives of young people for the sake of eternity,” said Baylor graduate Jake Talbert, former assistant director at Kanakuk Ministries and now assistant director of intramural sports at Baylor. “These are experiences that kids get at camp that they can’t get elsewhere, and the goal of summer camp in that is to equate the most fun that these kids have with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., and First Gent Brad Livingstone shared their own experiences as camp counselors as well. Dr. Livingstone served as a camp counselor for three years at Camp Soaring Hawk, now called Camp Barnabus, and one year at Kanakuk Camp. Brad Livingstone worked as a camp counselor for three years at Kanakuk.

Among their most meaningful experiences occurred when former campers -- or children of former campers – approached them with stories about the impact the Livingstones had on them or their families, sometimes even 40 years later.

“That’s the kind of impact you’re going to have in the lives of young men and women you are going to be at camp with,” Dr. Livingstone said. “Frankly, you will probably not even know the impact you are having. It will make a difference in their life, and you may never know, but have confidence that it is making a difference. They will remember it, even if they don’t ever have a chance to tell you.”

The Livingstones described the impacts, opportunities and growth Baylor students will experience as camp counselors, but also the feelings of fulfillment knowing that they are having a positive effect on young lives. They also emphasized their joy that Baylor students are spending their time this summer serving others and sharing the Gospel.

The ceremony included the fun and fellowship of traditional camp s’mores as well as a special gift: a drawstring “swag bag” complete with a Baylor t-shirt, bucket hat and other Baylor gear so students can fling their green and gold afar at camps this summer.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.