Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
Greetings ODM friends!
My name is Jeff Puhlmann‐Becker. I am the director of a United Church of Christ camp in Wisconsin. I serve on the
National Council of Churches Committee on Outdoor Ministries which is the group that develops the outdoor ministries
resources each year. I also sit on the publisher’s committee which actually produces and distributes the materials. I
know some of you who will read this note, but the world of outdoor ministries is vast, and amazing things happen at
camps, retreat centers, and other settings well beyond my part of the world. This note is meant to reach out beyond the
small spheres where we each engage in ministry and provide new ways to connect all of the people who have a passion
for outdoor ministries!
Over the years the New Earth Publishers (the group, with the National Council of Churches, which produces the summer
camp resource many of us use) has heard some camp ask about streaming videos for the morning theme to “reach kids
with the technology they have known all their lives”. Other camps remind us that they only have dial up internet and
video is impossible. Yet other camps and ODM settings say “we are committed to not using the web for camp. It is
OUTDOOR ministries, and we want resources that immerse us on the out of doors and engage us with each other.” (You
may have an opinion about this – and I would welcome an email note from you or a phone call. I am actively collecting
feedback as we explore the possibilities to meet the needs).
There is a lot of potential in new technologies, but there is no one answer about how we can meet the variety of needs,
program styles, and interest in using new delivery systems. HOWEVER, we do believe that most camps would happily
use a short training video to introduce the theme and curriculum to their staff. Any direct investment in training and
equipping our staff is an investment in the campers who participate in our programs.
This year we have created two new pieces to support the 2010 ODM resource “Be A Hero”. First, Jill Duffield, the writer
for the theological reflection in the curriculum, created a 10 minute video to introduce the general and daily themes.
You can use this as a short intro during staff training, or, for those camps that are blessed with new volunteer counselors
every week, you can email this link to them to help acclimate them to the theme before camp.
The second resource is a blog specific to this theme for the summer. We’re hoping that many directors, counselors, and
other program staff will join in the conversation adding:
New ideas and activities to help interpret the themes
Similar to “sermon helps”, thoughts about introducing the daily theme
Offer quick book reviews (with ISBN numbers) for print resources that support the theme
Likewise, there are some great movies which re‐tell the theme in new and contemporary ways.
People always ask for music and song ideas. This will be a place to share them, too!
Last, but not least, there is a board for direct feedback about the curriculum and suggestions as we look to
develop themes for future years and explore new delivery systems.
We’re very proud of the print materials and pray that they are useful and meaningful to you and your campers in your
setting. We’re excited about the training video and blog, and hope that these two things provide additional support to
you as you look to share the good news with your campers.
You can find the video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjO7gu9VOSs
The blog should be up and running soon. Watch for a follow up email note.
..and if you have questions, feedback, or ideas you can contact me at:
Pilgrim Center / United Church Camps, Inc.
W1010 Spring Grove Rd
Ripon, WI 54971‐8647