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Camp Crossfire Held at NMJC

7/31/2010 3:06:31 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. There were a lot of cowboy hats, boots, and ropes this week on the campus of New Mexico Junior College, but they didn’t belong to members of the college’s rodeo team. They’re actually the property of a group of teens here for a retreat known as Camp Crossfire.

For the fifth consecutive year, NMJC has served as the site for Camp Crossfire, a specialized summer camp for youths aged 12-18. Sponsored by Cowboy Junction Church, Camp Crossfire drew a record 70 participants this year from a roughly 300-mile radius. With between 30-40 volunteer counselors from throughout the U.S. to assist with multiple activities at any given time, the camp provided participants with the ultimate summer camp experience.

According to LaRae Berry, NMJC Event Coordinator, Camp Crossfire was designed primarily to give young people who rodeo a chance to attend summer camp. Because most summer camps are winding down about the same time that rodeo activities are ending, most youth involved in the sport simply miss out on what is, for many young Americans, a beloved summer tradition. During the brief window of time after rodeo finals end and before school starts, Camp Crossfire provides a unique summer camp format that combines a love for rodeo, fun, and faith.  And the camp isn’t just for youth, Berry insists.  “Everyone is welcome, and while the rodeo kids are primarily the ones who come, the ministry is geared toward all youth.  There’s something for everyone.”

Long-time friends Cigi Allen and Clay Hardin, whose roots run deep in the world of rodeo, are credited in large part as the inspiration for the increasingly popular camp.  Allen, daughter of 18-time world champion steer roper Guy Allen, and a renowned college breakaway roper in her own right, serves as youth minister at Cowboy Junction Church. Hardin, who served as assistant rodeo coach at South Plains College until last year, is currently serving as an adjunct professor at NMJC. In visiting with friends and mentors Phillip Berry, head rodeo coach at NMJC, and Ty and Heather Bean, pastors of Cowboy Junction Church, they discovered that they shared their vision as well, and everyone began working to make the dream reality. In 2006, Camp Crossfire officially began and has been expanding yearly.

Although the camp’s primary goal is to provide an opportunity to help young adults draw closer to God through Bible study, fellowship, and worship services, the campers also get to enjoy a surprising number of recreational activities and outdoor games, such as scavenger hunts, goat roping, dummy roping, dodgeball, water games, bonfires, and a teambuilding Ropes course.  Each evening, the church provides dinner, ranging from steaks and hamburger cookouts to Mexican pile-ons. The camp also provides workshops such as Dance, Step, Drama, Art, Missions, Music, & Worship.

Because Cowboy Junction Church underwrites much of the cost for the 4-day camp, and numerous volunteers assist directly and indirectly in its success, the remaining cost to each camper is only $175, which helps offset room and board on campus, as well as the cost of livestock and supplies. Members of Cowboy Junction give donations to assist with camp.

According to LaRae Berry, the camp also gives the teens a chance to experience a taste of college life while better preparing them for the challenges they’ll face at school. “Camp Crossfire helps teach these kids that they can go away to college, have fun, do the things they love, and still maintain their faith,” she said. “It eases their fears and provides a solid foundation that will help them grow and walk with God wherever they go in life.  There’s nothing like it around here.”

For more information about Camp Crossfire, please contact Cigi Allen at cigiallen@cowboyjunctionchurch.com.

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