Impact's annual generosity inspires campers to commit to their own service organizations
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More than 2,000 teens from all over the nation converged on the Lipscomb University campus last week to enjoy the high-spirited combination of fun games, Bible study and worship that is IMPACT, an annual spiritually focused summer camp at Lipscomb.
IMPACT traditionally includes games, spiritual instruction and an arena packed with energy and enthusiasm as the teens gather for evening worship or morning skits and games, but in the past few years IMPACT has also included service and generosity, with an annual contribution raising more than $10,000 each year for charity.
This year IMPACT distributed the money to several charities, including two run by or involving current IMPACT campers: Dylan Pyeatt, co-director of the Micah 6 Community, a community development organization in Pontiac, Mich., and future Lipscomb freshman Roman Ottinger of Run4Water, a Castalian Springs, Tenn.-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and providing solutions for the global water crisis.
Both Pyeatt and Ottinger are long-time IMPACT campers. Pyeatt, from Kingsport, Tenn., has attended IMPACT for 15 years, first as a camper and later with the teens from Tintern Church of Christ in Beamsville, Ontario, where he served as associate minister.
“IMPACT definitely started me on a path for ministry and caring for others,” Pyeatt said. “It has fostered in me a heart for working for others.”
Pyeatt explained to campers the Micah 6 mission and explained how IMPACT campers can get involved. “Micah 6 is all about living incarnationally,” he said. “The neighborhood we’re in is known as a food desert, so we are trying to combat that by showing people how to grow their own food.” Micah 6 has since given away over 600 pounds of vegetables.
Seven-year IMPACT regular Ottinger educated campers about the global water crisis and how they can help by getting involved in their own community. As a Run4Water volunteer, Ottinger has been to Nicaragua and Honduras, working to help develop water sterilization systems and self-sustaining environments for citizens of underdeveloped countries.
“IMPACT has influenced my decision to go into ministry because it gave me the opportunity to see what an impact different ministries have on people around the world,” Ottinger said. He plans to attend Lipscomb in the fall and major in communication and leadership with a minor in Bible.
In 2009, IMPACT began challenging participants to take a more active role in defining its own purpose, said Steve Davidson, director of spiritual outreach at Lipscomb. In that year, a little league game between inner city teens was held in partnership with RBI Nashville, a charity that serves inner city children through baseball. The IMPACT campers rallied support and created a special, lifelong memory for the players. In addition, a collection was taken for Best Buddies of Tennessee, which partners special needs children and adults with volunteer buddies.
Since that year, IMPACT has begun to give every year in some way. The camp has helped Nashville flood victims, built a kitchen in Africa and donated to a local school.
In 2014, IMPACT teens donated to Exile International, Micah 6, Run4Water and to the family of Lindsey Tyler, a former IMPACT camper who passed away at a young age last year. They also sold gum during the week to benefit Give Kids the World Village and sold trading cards to benefit Best Buddies.