The Dakotas and Minnesota conferences’ camp and retreat ministries are continuing to find new ways to work together to maximize effectiveness, and the latest shift includes some staffing changes that will enhance services.
On March 8, two Minnesota staff members—longtime Camping Coordinator Mary Wright and Camping Assistant Stacey Edwards—transitioned to an area-wide function.
The shift comes after the Dakotas camp coordinator made the decision to leave her position to pursue another opportunity. That imminent departure prompted the leadership of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area to rethink how to best staff both conferences’ camp and retreat ministries.
“This vacancy allowed us to evaluate and address the opportunities for long-term ministry impact and effectiveness in the Dakotas camping office and for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area camping team,” said Keith Shew, area director of camp and retreat ministries. “In order to care for registrations and customer service needs that are beginning to grow as we quickly approach the camping season and allow us time for discovering, hiring, and training the next person who will join the area camping team, Mary and Stacey will offer registration support and customer service for our six beautiful area camps.”
People can still contact either the Dakotas or Minnesota Conference offices with registrations and questions about camping.
The recent Dakotas office vacancy will be filled—however, the title and role for the position may change. Shew said there will be additional staffing shifts in the area camping offices in the coming months as well, so it is a good time to evaluate all staffing positions for effectiveness, efficiency, consistency, function, and alignment with the established camping outcomes and annual conference missional pathways.
In February 2016, the Dakotas and Minnesota conferences’ camp and retreat ministries combined their strengths and leadership and came together to form a joint governance team. This new arrangement expanded the camping-related offerings for United Methodists in each conference and allowed the conferences to share best practices to create the strongest possible area camp and retreat ministry.
Since September 2015, the two conferences have been sharing a director of camp and retreat ministries.
Camping staff across the area meet regularly and have developed a keen understanding of both the cultural differences and the shared values across the Dakotas and Minnesota conferences.
“Your Dakotas and Minnesota camp and retreat ministries have a strong commitment to excellent customer service and place the highest priority on the safety of our campers and providing a strong impactful program,” said Shew. “We are blessed with outstanding staff—both at our sites and within our conference offices—and we are grateful for their passion and commitment as we journey forward together.”
The Dakotas has three camp sites: Wesley Acres near Dazey, North Dakota; Storm Mountain Center outside of Rapid City, South Dakota; and Lake Poinsett Camp and Living Waters Retreat Center near Arlington, South Dakota. Minnesota also has three primary camp sites: Northern Pines in Park Rapids, Koronis Ministries in Paynesville, and Kowakan Adventures near Ely.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church