Horizons returns to Freed-Hardeman University
HENDERSON, Tenn. — One of the biggest events at a local university is returning.
Horizons, hosted annually at Freed-Hardeman University for youth, is one of many events making a comeback after being cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Horizons is all about providing an atmosphere for spiritual growth for these teenagers. We’ve been around for 41 years. It started as just a leadership camp for teenage boys, and it’s just grown into this really, really big leadership camp,” said Horizons Director Matt Cook.
This event typically brings about 1,000 students from all over the U.S. from various faith-based youth groups.
Students get a chance to participate in different activities daily for an entire week while staying on campus in dorms.
“A lot of great times of worship. We’ve got classes for them, and then a lot of time to just have fun,” Cook said.
“We’ve got seventh-twelfth graders here, but I mean, think about an eighth grader getting to roam around a college campus, living in the dorm, walking across the street, going to a coffee shop. They feel really cool because they get to live like a college student for a week,” Cook said.
Max Ballard has been attending Horizons every year for as long as he can remember.
He says what keeps him coming back is the experience of being able to gather with those who share the same beliefs.
“The relationships that you make with people last a lifetime. It’s just exciting to be able to come with this many people and be able to worship. It’s just really uplifting, and we’re really blessed to have good people who can lead us in worship and teach us,” Ballard said.
Cook says you can feel just how much bigger the energy is this year. He says people are so excited to be back again, being able to fellowship with one another.
“Though COVID knocked us down last year, what Satan didn’t expect is this year, everybody’s super excited to be here, and I think we’re having an incredible week,” Cook said.
Cook says he hopes students leave Friday with a feeling of being transformed by the experience, and he hopes they have grown in their abilities to be leaders in the kingdom of God.