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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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August 7, 2009

Learning...go with the flow or set out on something new?!

I'm sure we all come to these crossroads sometimes.  When what we want to happen (and we know is right!) doesn't fit into the current structure and you're not sure if adjusting it to fit, abandoning the idea, or striking out on your own.CrossRoads
I've lived a life as a program director and have relied a lot on my varied background and skill set.  Howard Miller, my first boss in camping at Johnsonburg told me, "Brian, Camping is one of the last bastions of the Generalist' and I take pride in that.
I think sometimes I rely on that too much and need to slow down.
There is a lot of talk of doing new things in new ways and that the old ways in our church are not working.  That leads to a lot of new initiatives - some of which are good, and some of which duplicate or make redundant, things we are already doing.
So I am going to slow down a bit and do some learning and discerning.  The issues facing our church and our camp are too big to move full steam ahead on and too urgent to wait for perfect fixes.  So the balance lies in there somewhere.
My specific questions rely around how to help our summer staff remain engaged throughout the year.  Do we find ways to educated their camp's leadership with options for college ministries for them to connect with?  Do we create some new network of camp counselors at college?  Do we turn them over to CampusCrusade and InnerVarsity?  I don't know enough of what is available to feed and foster faith development and discipleship sustaining at our colleges for our Presbyterian and other counselors. 
I'm going to commit to some discerning here.
I would love to hear input on what you see that works.  What is worthy to connect our staff with, and what ways we can support staff when they are away from camp so they don't come back each summer saying "I'm so glad to be back at camp so I can focus on my faith again."  I want to help them find the Oasis' in the desert that can be college life where their cup can be continuously filled so they are coming back to our camps stronger, more committed, and more in tune with what God is calling them to do.
What do you have to share?  My ears are wide open.