Last September, I agreed to serve as the interim Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries in Oregon-Idaho, until a national search could be conducted to hire the next Executive Director, which turned out to be me! This was a challenging year for many reasons and I am glad to have it behind me.
I have toured all of the sites, seeing them for the first time with this new set of eyes. It was confirmed that we have 6 beautiful sites that we operate with many different ministries happening. Generally, we have two areas of ministry that we focus on: Christian hospitality and Christian learning.
In this first year what brings the greatest amazement and joy to my life is the wide variety of people whose lives we impact by creating environments of Christian hospitality and learning. In addition to our program camps we offer hospitality, witness and support to groups that work with education: Outdoor Schools, brass camp, Idaho Orchestra Institute; environmental and social justice groups; groups focused upon healing; Creation Vacation, Strength for the Journey; and religious organizations, Christian and non-Christian. Because of this richness and strength, my life has been transformed with pride for our work and the passion with which we have done this work for so long.
When I say “we” I do so on behalf of all those who call themselves United Methodist in Oregon-Idaho, as this is our ministry. I am also aware of the generations before us who guided, supported and sustained this important element of forming Christian disciples. I am deeply indebted to the Executive Directors who have shaped me for this work: Kevin Witt, Debi Patterson and Lisa Jean Hoefner.
At the end of this very busy summer for our site staff I am grateful to the current generation of people who have answered a divine call to offer this transformative ministry on our behalf: Dan Benson, Sam Grainger, Dave Hargreaves, David and Peggy Lovegren, Jane and Daniel Petke, and Troy Taylor. And, I am so grateful for you who have given your time, financial resources and the most important gift, yourselves, that these sites will transform lives for generations to come.
See you around the campfire soon!