By Gene Hollenberg
The Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) of the Church of the Brethren hosted a networking session during Annual Conference on July 2. Attendees were updated on the work of OMA’s board and member camps. They were also reminded that camps can join OMA this year and determine their own fees based on what they can afford.
From a very difficult year and a half, there were several takeaways. First, camp leaders throughout the denomination demonstrated their creativity and resilience. Across the country, it became clear that Church of the Brethren summer camps were vital to local and district communities. Finally, all have experienced God’s protection and care.
Awards were presented to camp staff and volunteers for many years of faithful service:
Erica Leeds of Camp Carmel in Southeastern District shared about the importance of volunteer Gary Benesh in pitching in wherever needed.
Betsy Kuecker of Camp Pine Lake in the Northern Plains District shared the many ways volunteer Steven Brunk has contributed to their success and program. She also discussed the contributions of Barbara Wise Lewczak, who recently retired as program director.
Kevin Eichhorn introduced Melissa Hinton, food service director for Camp Koinonia in the Pacific Northwest District, and told the story of their journey together in creating a solid and very effective working relationship.
All attendees were able to share a camp story and an artifact to build camaraderie together. The session was smaller than the usual luncheon, but it was filled with laughter and joy, just like the summer camps happening across the country.
— Gene Hollenberg is chair of the Outdoor Ministries Association and executive director of Camp Alexander Mack in Indiana.