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About this blog

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.

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March 25, 2014

Step up to support reconciliation

Get involved in the effort to end violence against women.  Find out how to get connected and informed about how together, we can make a difference.

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July 2, 2013

Does your Ministry Transform Young Adults?

Coming "home" is as important a right of passage as being sent.  When our youth get "sent" out into the world, where are they coming "home" to?  This edition features 3 young adults who are coming 'home' to Stony Point after a transformative experience.

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February 20, 2013

Who ARE Those Counselors??

What it means to be "Millennial."  A great conversation about the "next" generation.

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January 30, 2013

Hospitality as Peacemaking and Non-violence

Hospitality is truly a form of non-violence and peacemaking.  Hosting storm victims has transformed their, and my understanding of what it is to have places of hospitality available.

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January 15, 2013

Called to Spread Peace

With school and other mass shootings becoming more mainstream and less shocking, and with a nation debating gun ownership in a way we have not in a generation - how are we, as a people of faith, called to respond?

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December 3, 2012

Religious Knowledge for Your Community Available January 2013


Available January 2013

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September 18, 2012

Learnings from Others Failures

Can we learn how to live and thrive by learning why others failed to start?

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September 12, 2012

A Growing Church is a Dying Church

Whenever a congregation goes looking for a new pastor, the first question on their minds when the committee interviews a new candidate is: Will this pastor grow our church?

I’m going to go ahead and answer that question right now: No, she will not.

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September 10, 2012

Camp Combats Challenge of Childhood Obesity

The following is taken from a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Overweight and obesity in children are significant public health problems in the United States. The number of adolescents who are overweight has tripled since 1980 and the prevalence among younger children has more than doubled. 

How does camp impact this epidemic?

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September 6, 2012

The Power of Camping in the Lives of Men

"I can honestly say that it was one of the most moving and meaningful experiences I've ever had," says Alan Wohlstetter, a resident of Erdenheim and a partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm. "We came together as grown men in middle age, and we had left camp back in 1972 when we were 15 years old."

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September 5, 2012

Lending a Hand When Disaster Strikes

When Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in Colorado was evacuated for the current fire, Highlands Camp (a PCUSA site) was able to reach out and accomodate them.  It's so important for kids to have summer camp and being able to reach out to others in need really drives the message of living the good news of Jesus Christ home to all campers and staff!

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August 22, 2012

Allowing Ministries to Grow

Going into the future, we as a church are going to have to be starting and supporting ministries in whole new ways. 

Reading a current blog, Holy Soup I was reminded at what furtile "incubators" we have in camp and conference ministry.  I was also reminded as I attended a new church on Sunday and the pastor spoke about the impact of his being a counselor and the impact his counselor had on him when he was a camper (totally unprompted by me...honest!)

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June 26, 2012

Creatively Empowering Church Leaders

Hey, PC(USA): I have an idea.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the PC(USA) job market recently (surprise!). It’s pretty bleak out there, and the situation gets really personal for me: I have a ton – a ton – of incredibly talented friends who are (1) recent seminary grads, but (2) still looking for a callyears after graduation. We’re talking about vibrant, talented, energetic, brilliant people who keep getting close, but the numbers are stacked against them. In many cases, they’re struggling and frustrated, unsure of what to do.

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June 13, 2012

Celebrate! Young Adult Leadership and Discipleship Experiences Starting ALL over the country!

A celebration is called for!  Summer is starting across the country and thousands of our passionate young adults are embarking on a life changing summer living in Christian community.  This opportunity to teach and share their faith with campers, as well as live intentionally with other committed Christian leaders will transform them in ways they can’t even imagine.

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November 21, 2011

Quality Alternative to Internships

I have discovered the perfect summer job. In this job, I am part of an organization that gives me duties that are critical to its long- and short-term success. Supervisors give me responsibilities such as interacting directly with customers on a daily basis, and they fully integrate me into the professional hierarchy. To top it all off, I am learning legitimate skills that will help me develop professionally when I move into the workforce. This mystery job I speak of: camp counselor. These are only a few of the many potential benefits of being a camp counselor, and I offer them not only to praise the occupation, but also to offer a propositional alternative to the profession’s biggest competitor: internships.

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November 17, 2011


A return participant is worth its weight in gold.  It is far harder to find replacements for your program than to keep people coming.  What’s your “rewards program?”  How are you doing “friends development” as well as “funds development?”

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November 14, 2011

Do you know who you are?

Are you here for teaching/sharing peace and justice?  Evangelism?  Care of Creation?  Mission practices?  Youth leadership?  Or??

If you don’t know they don’t know.

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November 11, 2011

Job announcement! Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps VISTA positions

Presbyterian Hunger Program (PCUSA) will host 3-4 full-time Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps AmeriCorps*VISTA members for 12 months. They will be based in the national denominational offices in Louisville, Kentucky. Deadline for cover letter and applications is November 18. (See full post for details)

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November 2, 2011

Featuring our Staff

Our kitchen staff is often seen as behind the scenes but when we really look at it, they are some of our frontline greeters and ambassadors for our program.  When respected and given the support they need, they go along way in delivering the welcoming Christian hospitality we are known for in camp and conference ministries.

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October 25, 2011

New Eco-Stewards Post

Eco-Steward Kathi Pogorelov studies public health and sociology, with a concentration in health and environment, at The College of New Jersey. She took a break from her coursework to reflect on her participation in the June 2011 Montana Eco-Stewards Program.

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October 14, 2011

Reaching Out at 5,000 Feet

Taking a fresh look at our mission focus as the Church and society continues to change around us.

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October 13, 2011

Deepening PDA Partnerships with FEMA and AmeriCorps

Great possibilities of expanded ministry partnerships to help care for survivors and responders during disasters.

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October 11, 2011

Eco-Sustainability Conference 2011

Leaders gathering for healthier and more ecologically sustainable camp and conference ministries.

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October 4, 2011

1,001 New Worshiping Communities Initiative

Innovating ways for camp and conference ministry to support the 1,001 New Worshiping Communities initiative.

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September 29, 2011

Solar Under the Sun Gets $100,000 Grant!

Solar Under the Sun, a partner program of Ferncliff camp and conference center in Arkansas, receives a $100k Birthday Grant from Presbyterian Women.

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September 27, 2011

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...

Does being green only matter if someone is there to see it?  If ourwater is dripping, we leave the lights on, and throw out recycling and no one sees it, does it matter?
Of course it does.

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September 20, 2011

Exciting Leadership at PCCCA Camp/Conf Leader Event

PCCCA has an excellent event planned for leaders in Camp and Conference ministry and I encourage you all to attend.  Visit for more information. 

Here's a video teaser.

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August 2, 2011

Another Blog from the Eco-Stewards

Eco-Steward Gerard Miller studied modern languages, linguistics and intercultural communication at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. He is working this summer as an intern at Greenwood Farm in Hardin, Montana. Here he reflects on a day from our June Eco-Stewards Program. Looking back on our week of active learning in Eastern Montana, the one thing [...]

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July 28, 2011

Breaking Through

Honest conversations about the future are essential, but sometimes tough to start and changed with emotions.

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July 26, 2011

Another Blog from the Eco-Stewards

There is another new blog post on the Eco-Stewards Program blog from Eco-Steward Andrew Fultz-Morrison, who is interning this summer at Krislund Camp in Pennsylvania.  In the post Andrew reflects on events from the Eco-Stewards weeklong program in Montana as well as his internship at Krislund.  

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July 22, 2011

Inspiration for a Tiring Summer

We are in week 5 of Summer Camp.  My Director of Summer Camp used this quote at the end of a memo to summer staff, and I am still laughing.  Feel free to use it!

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July 21, 2011

A Transforming Life

I can tie a string in a knot with one hand.  Not a bad skill.  Sort of useless, but in it's own way, transforming.  Pete Rasmussen taught me that a few years ago.  Though it may not have changed my life, it was his calm presence and the heartfelt connection with everyone that made him special and filled his ministry.

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July 12, 2011

What Matters?

If you read my blog, you will find I am interested in a wide variety of subjects related to camp, conference and retreat ministry.  I like to look at the ministry facilities we have as "Centers for Mission and Ministry" because they are one of the most flexible resources we have in our church.  From facilities for education and retreat, to acres of God's creation, to skilled and multi-talented/flexible staff to help put any idea into action, to their reach into all aspects of church life, our centers are truly under-used and undervalued.

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July 5, 2011

The Narrow Gate

A good friend of mine, Ray Jones (and the Coordinator for Evangelism, the Mission Area Camp and Conferences is housed in at GAMC), posted this prior to Easter and I enjoyed his reflections so thought you might as well!

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June 30, 2011

Hope for Meeting the Challenge of Camp and Conference Ministry (Part three of three)

Robert Allen, long time PCUSA camp and conference director and PCCCA Consultant Network consultant, shares his insights on the challenges facing camp and conference ministry today.  He provides questions and suggestions along the way on a variety of issues.

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June 23, 2011

Hope for Meeting the Challenge of Camp and Conference Ministry (Part Two of three)

Robert Allen, long time PCUSA camp and conference director and PCCCA Consultant Network consultant, shares his insights on the challenges facing camp and conference ministry today.  He provides questions and suggestions along the way on a variety of issues.

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June 23, 2011

Eco-Steward Program 2011

The Eco-Stewards Program website has been updated to include the a multimedia presentation created by program participants and program leader and journalist, Becky W. Evans.  The 2011 program in Montana focused on "reconciliation and sustainability through agriculture, health and green building" in the context of the Crow Reservation and surrounding areas.  

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June 14, 2011

Hope for Meeting the Challenge of Camp and Conference Ministry, (Part One of three)

Robert Allen, long time PCUSA camp and conference director and PCCCA Consultant Network consultant, shares his insights on the challenges facing camp and conference ministry today. He provides questions and suggestions along the way on a variety of issues. No...

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June 7, 2011

Trending up? Now what?

From my recent talks with several camp leaders, summer camp numbers appear to be heading up. I know this is not the case for all of our sites, but it is exciting to see a trend moving up when the...

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June 2, 2011

Why? Community Building as THE Mission

Just had a wonderful conversation with Rev. David Ensign, (for those of you who knew Rev. John Ensign, long serving director of Camp Hanover, David is his nephew) exploring where the ministry of camp, conference and retreat is heading. It...

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May 31, 2011

Go to Church...It's good for your ministry!

When our camps first started, they were an outgrowth of the Christian education in our congregations. During the school year, children would go to Sunday School and in the summer they would be encouraged, or would all go together to...

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May 26, 2011

Welcoming the Other

Jesus tells us story after story about how we are to welcome the other even at cost to ourselves. Whether it’s the story of the persistent neighbor who knocks and knocks until he wakes his neighbor to help him provide...

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May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Simple communications throughout the year with your campers leads to a higher level of retention. Ask any of the “big” camps in your area and I bet you will find they are effective in reaching their campers throughout the year....

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May 17, 2011

"Come on baby light my fire" ....water???

BREAKING NEWS: Fracking (extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits through fracturing) has been scientifically linked to water contamination. Take a moment and listen to the "Here and Now" episode discussing the issue. ‘Fracking’ Scientifically Linked To Water Contamination And...

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May 12, 2011

10-A Passes...What do I need to know?

10-A, the amendment to the Book of Order's ordination requirement removing the 'fidelity and chastity' requirements, has been approved by enough Presbyteries to pass. This happened on Tuesday May 11, 2011. The following links will help you learn more about...

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May 10, 2011

Outsourcing….mentoring and vocation

I was able to experience the vast depth of talented young adults we have in our ministry this past week when I spent a weekend sailing. The young man who sailed us around in his yacht was so talented and...

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May 5, 2011

Success! (For a Time Such as This - Part 6)

How do we know when we are thriving and not just surviving? If we are not striving to be the best at what we do, we will miss opportunities. Focusing on surviving is not enough anymore. We remain relevant if...

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May 3, 2011

New Quarterly Emails

This year, the PC(USA) has begun to develop email “blasts” sharing highlights of ministry areas. You should be receiving an email from PC(USA) Camp and Conference Ministries office. The email will lift up resources specific to camp and conference ministry...

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April 28, 2011

The New New Normal (For a Time Such As This – Part 5)

Sorry. Had to go here. How do we create an organization that continues to adjust, to be adaptive, to recalibrate as change happens and still remain sustainable? As soon as we identify, accept, and assimilate a change, it seems everything...

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April 21, 2011

Slow Down? Speed up? Defining Relevance (For a Time Such as This – Part 4)

Is the ‘new normal’ that things will continue to change more and more rapidly? Will we continue to feel out of breath running to stay in place? About 5 years ago, when my children were 3 and 6, they said...

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