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I was in middle school when I first met Harding University. I came to campus with my youth group for one of the first youth events that I ever attended. Hundreds of other kids had come from all over the country to spend the week at Uplift.

Many things made my experience great. I was away from home with all of my friends. I could eat pizza in the Harding cafeteria for every meal. I stayed in the dorms, went to Uplift classes in the McInteer building, and felt grown up being on a college campus. But I’m really thankful for Uplift because it introduced me to Harding.

I remember my first session of Uplift well. The theme that year was “The Call,” and worship times and classes throughout the week all revolved around the story of Jonah. Uplift is for students entering the 7th grade through graduating seniors, but “The Call” was a pretty deep theme for this group. It challenged us, and we grew from the time we spent together.

Each night, our group met and talked about what we learned from the day. It was an open forum for us to share anything we wanted. I remember one particular night when we were all sitting in a stairwell together. We all got really honest with each other and talked about how we were feeling about issues in our life. It was a breakthrough moment for our group, and we spent time praying and growing closer together.

During this week, many campers decide to commit their lives to Christ and be born again in baptism. If you go to www.UpliftOnline.com, you can see the live stream of baptisms on Sunday and Tuesday nights during each session and watch as young people make the most important decision of their lives. I remember sitting on the steps of the Benson and shouting out “Bye” to campers one after another right before they were dipped into the water of the fountain in front of the McInteer. Campers still do this today.

The first session of Uplift ended today, and two sessions of Uplift will be held June 18-23 and June 25-30. Harding played a role in my spiritual development before I even knew I was going to be a student here. And it brings me so much joy knowing how many other students will soon experience Uplift and be introduced to Harding.

Hannah Owens, director of digital media


Uplift 2014 (Photo courtesy Uplift Media Team.)

Uplift 2014 (Photo courtesy Uplift Media Team.)

Hundreds of teenagers from across the country will be on campus this summer Uplift 2015, “Send Me.” Open to high school students in 7th-12th grades, this summer camp provides unique opportunities for youth groups and individual students to build and strengthen relationships through Bible classes throughout the day, recreational and entertaining activities, and group worship times.

When I was in middle school, my youth minister announced to the youth group that we were going to start going to Uplift. None of us had been before or knew what to expect, so the group that went the first year was small and mostly consisted of teens my age. The theme was “The Call” based on the story of Jonah. It was my first experience on the HU campus, and it was an unforgettable one.

I grew in my relationship with God and with my youth group during that week. I learned more about God’s purpose for my life and what actions I should take to glorify him in my daily walk. But the most unique thing that happened during that week was that I challenged myself to talk openly about what I was learning and how I was feeling with the rest of the group.

I remember one particular night when we were all sitting in a stairwell in the Pryor-England science building after an evening session. My youth minister was talking to all of us about his thoughts from the session, and everyone ended up taking a few minutes to share honest feelings and thoughts about struggles. We learned from each other, and our group was strengthened by our time in that stairwell. After four years as a student and almost four years as an employee, I still always think of that moment when I find myself in that stairwell.

Three sessions of Uplift will be held this summer: June 13-18, June 20-25 and June 27-July 2. You can see a schedule of the week here.

Harding played a role in my spiritual development before I even knew I was going to be a student here. And now, years later, I’m sitting here smiling because I know firsthand that starting tomorrow, Uplift campers will get to experience some of those same feelings I had.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

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Harding University arch

Summer has officially arrived and with it, an emptier campus, at least for the moment. School may be out for most, but campus doesn’t completely shut down in the summertime.

Intersession classes started May 11 and go until May 22. From the list of 58 classes being offered, 606 students are spending the next two weeks learning as much as they can in a variety of subjects from meteorology to medieval art. Class offerings are available to students in psychology, science, math, history, English, sociology, art and communication. Summer classes also start May 11 and go until July 31, and many students are choosing to stay and study in Searcy for the summer.

Harding also hosts a number of programs on campus throughout the summer, including Arkansas Special Olympics summer games May 21-23, and the 72nd session of Arkansas Girl’s State, a program created by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arkansas to allow high school juniors to participate in hands-on citizenship training, which begins May 31. This year marks the 22nd consecutive year Special Olympics has been held on the University campus. It’s an event to which the whole community looks forward.

Also on the calendar is three sessions of Uplift, four sessions of Honors Symposium and one of Honors Media and Culture, two Summer Stampede programs, three shows in the department of theatre’s Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre, and the 59th annual National Leadership Forum. For details, visit www.harding.edu/calendar. Stay tuned for our favorite stories and photos covering all the excitement in store at Harding this summer.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services

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It is unusually quiet on campus right now. For the first time in years, there is a two-week break between Intersession and Summer I so few students are to be found.

Parking lots are so empty that there is time for the parking and transportation office to repaint the worn lines marking the spaces. The Student Center downstairs looks like a ghost town. But go upstairs and it is a different matter as the new Center for Student Excellence nears completion.

It is not the only construction going on as the new complex on the west side of campus, Legacy Park, is starting to reveal just how beautiful an addition to campus it will be upon completion in August. Meanwhile, new apartments being added to the Village are going up on the east side. And in the center between the two, Allen Hall is getting a facelift.  For Physical Resources, summer is anything but their slow time.

The lack of students on campus won’t last long. Alongside summer sessions, the campus bustles with activity all summer long. Arkansas Special Olympics starts Thursday followed by Girls State on Sunday. There will be sports camps, Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre performances, four sessions of Honors Symposium, three Uplift sessions, National Leadership Forum, Honor Choir, Pharmacy Camp and more!

Want to learn more? Go to www.harding.edu/calendar for a complete list of activities.

In the few days remaining, I’ll enjoy not hunting for a parking space!

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Kingwood Church Youth Group

Uplift session three is over. The Kingwood Church of Christ youth group is preparing for a photo before heading back to Texas. From the looks of these kids, I am predicting some EPIC napping will be happening on that bus before too long.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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This Saturday more than 700 seventh-12th-grade students, along with their sponsors, will register for the first session of Uplift summer camp. The three sessions of the camp will welcome more than 2,000 visitors.

But before the multitude of campers arrive, this week is drawing almost 300 ninth-12th-grade students for the 55th National Leadership Forum. The long-standing event, co-sponsored by Arkansas and Tennessee Farm Bureaus, Civitan and other civic clubs, and the American Studies Institute, attracts delegates with excellent character as well as leadership capabilities.

The students are learning leadership development through lectures, films and team building, all designed to assist youth to become better acquainted with the American scene and build pride in our traditions and ideals.

This morning John Foppe addressed the group on “Life is an Attitude.” The motivational speaker, born without arms, has had to break down and re-engineer every aspect of his life, and focuses on translating visions into outcome. He serves as executive director for Community Link, a nonprofit organization that helps adults and children with developmental disabilities. In other words, he practices what he preaches.

When the students leave Friday, the outcome will be better leaders in their communities, schools, churches and homes.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor

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