For most of our camps and conference centers, their PCCCA membership expired on January 1. Now would be a great time to join or renew your PCCCA membership. You have the option of joining for one year or saving some money by paying for two years. Please keep in mind that PCCCA membership now lasts one (or two) years beyond your renewal date and does not follow the calendar year. If you are a smaller camp, keep in mind that there is a new discounted rate for membership. You can join using a check or credit card by going to www.pccca.net/membership.
by Mike Little of Crestfield Camp and Conference Center (Slippery Rock, PA)
Heartland Center in Kansas City, Missouri graciously and wonderfully hosted this year’s Maintenance Connection at the end of January. Sixteen camp and conference centers from the United States and Canada were represented this year, all of whose ministries will certainly be blessed.
We toured both Heartland and the Hollis Renewal Center (Lutheran). There we learned how other camps may do things differently (or the same) and get new perspectives including a no fee or suggested donation billing system like they have at Hollis. Also, we toured the local Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant and dealership. No, they don’t give you a free one for touring even though we asked nicely.
There were “hands on” demonstrations and installations for super polymer insulated siding and ceramic tiling. The week was filled with discussions including but not limited to: alternative energy, working with volunteers, roofing, high efficiency boilers, carpeting and flooring, solar energy, trail maintenance and much more. During one session, we broke into groups and had discussions with the staff at Heartland about their particular departments - directing, programming, hospitality, and maintenance.
Of course there was fun, rest, and vespers. Thursday afternoon we went to a World War I Museum and had world famous BBQ from Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. Many evenings were spent in conversations about our camps and catching up with friends. Even a game of Class Struggle broke out one evening. All Hail Mitch from Canada - eh! Each evening concluded with reflection and a bible study led by one of the Heartland staff members.
Thanks to Dan, Michael, Luke, Emma, and the interns at Heartland for making this a successful event. The 2018 Maintenance Connection will be held at St. Columba Episcopal Conference and Retreat Center in Memphis, TN. See you then!
Six PCCCA member centers were part of a joint exhibit hall presence at the Annual Event of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators. We had our largest presence ever at this conference - five booths in a row! The event was held on January 25-28 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center (Denver, CO). The conference brings together Christian educators from across the United States and Canada. The sites represented at the joint booth were Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly (TX), Menucha Retreat and Conference Center (OR), Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center (NM), Montreat Conference Center (NC), Highlands Camp and Retreat Center (CO), and Dwight Mission Camp and Conference Center (OK). These centers responded to an invitation that appeared in the Branches Online eNewsletter. Are you seeking a national audience for your camp or conference ministry? We will be doing a joint booth at the 2018 APCE Annual Event in Louisville, KY. If you are interested, details on this opportunity will appear in a future issue of Branches Online.
What a wonderful conference! It was great to be together and side by side at the Annual Conference with our friends from the Outdoor Ministry Association of the United Church of Christ. There were so many memorable moments and learnings, but the particular memory that will define this conference for me was singing around the campfire at vespers. Singing together words of scripture as we watched the stars and the reflections on the lake reminded us of the power of outdoor ministry. Many thanks to the wonderful conference Planning Team and the gracious host site, Ferncliff!
At the conference, the board shared with those gathered a bold decision to increase the Executive Director position to full-time. Nine years ago, the Association took the unknown step of hiring an ED and that decision has helped our Association grow and equip leaders in outdoor ministry. The decision to increase the position more clearly reflects the needs of the association and the time and resources necessary to meet those needs. The board wants to thank Joel Winchip for his dedication and service to PCCCA and we look forward to the years ahead.
An expressed need to the mainline camping associations has been for trained interim directors. Through the Outdoor Ministry Connection (OMC), a vision for a training program was born and Lutheran Outdoor Ministry (LOM) has been spearheading this initiative. An Interim Executive Director Training Event is being planned for early May and PCCCA would like to help send some interested individuals. Please prayerfully consider if this is a ministry to which you feel called and then let me know if you are interested. This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the ministry of our sites and provide stable and visionary leadership.
PCCCA Board President
Co-Director of Camp Kintail