Horizons camp at Freed-Hardeman brings hundreds of kids to Henderson

HENDERSON, Tenn. — Almost 1,000 kids have come to Henderson for a unique camp.

“It’s kind of a hybrid between church camp, leadership camp, youth conference all rolled up into one big, exciting week,” Horizons Co-Director Matt Cook said.

This is the 37th year of Horizons at Freed-Hardeman University. And even though it started out as a leadership camp for boys, it has grown to much more.

This is Graceanne Butt’s ninth year at Horizons, and she says there’s one goal that unites everyone.

“It’s people from every walk of life coming together,” Butts said. “But at the same time we’re all the same. We’re all just trying to get closer to God and grow spiritually.”

Kirk Sams has been working with the camp for 35 years. Horizons was there for his family when his son was diagnosed with bone cancer four years ago.

“This place surrounded him. Surrounded us,” Sams said. “This was a place that no matter what he went through there was going to be a support group here for him, and he’s now cancer free.”

Horizons also impacts the number of students that enroll to FHU every fall.

“This year, of the senior class that just graduated, over half of that class that’s here this week, I think they have about 100 students that just graduated. I think we have close to 55 enrolling here in the fall,” Joseph Perkins, an admissions counselor at Freed-Hardeman, said.

Once the camp wraps up on Thursday, leaders say they hope the kids take away a valuable experience.

“We hope that when they leave they will be alive spiritually, maybe more alive than they ever have been before,” Cook said. “That’s our goal. To challenge and encourage them and strengthen them spiritually.”