Family Members Establish Amber Buckley Lyons Endowed Memorial Fund for “Camperships,” Plan to Build Bell Tower at Camp Site

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A memorial fund in honor of Freed-Hardeman University alumna and Mid-South Youth Camp supporter, Amber Buckley Lyons, will provide opportunities for youth to attend the camp and make the construction of the Amber Buckley Lyons Memorial Bell Tower possible.

Amber Buckley Lyons attended Mid-South Youth Camp during her childhood and often spoke about her fondness for the program.

Amber had so many cherished memories of camp, and she would want to pay it forward. She would love knowing that future generations of children could experience the same joy that she did.

Amber Buckley Lyons is being memorialized by a fund established to help young people attend Mid-South Youth Camp in Henderson and the construction of a bell tower at the camp.

Her father, Dale Buckley, and her husband, Bill Lyons, have established the fund to assist youngsters who otherwise would not be able to attend the summer camp. “Camperships” will be awarded each summer. The tower will house the bell used for many years to call campers to devotionals and meals, as well as announce the changing of classes and recreation periods.

Amber Lyons, who died Nov. 19, 2015, following an extended battle with cancer, had attended MSYC many times, beginning when she was only 7 years old. Still two years away from the required age of 9, she started early and came home with the Best Camper Award her first year. Her love of camp grew and she attended at every opportunity.

“Mid-South Youth Camp was a magical place for Amber,” her sister Leigh Simpson wrote. Unfortunately, with seven children in the family, it was not always financially possible for her to go. Friends stepped in and helped, so she could attend. “Amber had so many cherished memories of camp, and she would want to pay it forward,” her sister said. “She would love knowing that future generations of children could experience the same joy that she did.”

Amber Lyons was a 1983 graduate of Chester County High School and attended Freed-Hardeman University. She graduated from Northwest Shoals School of Nursing. Bill Lyons graduated from FHU in 1985. He also holds degrees from the University of North Alabama and the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is founder and CEO of Lyons HR in Florence, Alabama.

“Since Amber loved MSYC so much, her father and I have already established a ‘campership’ endowment in her honor, but we also wanted to do something that was more visual and tangible,” Lyons said. “We can think of no more fitting tribute to her than to have the old MSYC bell retrofitted into a bell tower. We want to call it the Amber Buckley Lyons Memorial Bell Tower.” Lyons hopes a dedication ceremony for the bell tower can be held prior to the beginning of this summer’s camp sessions.

Freed-Hardeman University has operated Mid-South Youth Camp since the summer of 1957. The camp is open for eight weeks each summer and is available for retreats year-round. Camp sessions begin June 5, 2016, and continue for eight weeks. Junior camp, a day camp for younger campers, will be June 13-16, 20-23, 27-30 and July 4-7. Additional information about the camp is available at Contributions to the memorial fund may be made online at

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