1. You are an integral part of the event! As our theme is “Waters of Grace,” the different camps and retreat centers represented are invited and encouraged to bring water from your site. Check out more about this idea here (And remember to make and submit your water collection video for display at the Gathering!)
2. Bob Ditter is joining us for the duration of the event! So stoked! Bob will provide our keynote sessions as well as several workshops. Have you been wondering what it means to provide camp leadership in the 21st century? How about how to handle staff with a high degree of anxiety and depression? This and so much more will be shared by Bob.
3. The staff at Lakeview United Methodist Conference Center are super excited to welcome colleagues and friends in camp and retreat ministry. Lakeview has a rich history and has been in operation as a Methodist center since 1949. They are thrilled about sharing their many stories of ministry—one of them includes an occasion when they hosted over 300 evacuees due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many of those evacuees were from special needs group homes in New Orleans and had nowhere else to go. The Lakeview staff views this experience as a God moment as the evacuees were juggled about Houston for more than 5 days without any place to land. Due to that experience they now have evacuation agreements with special needs and retirement communities across south Texas and Louisiana. Learn about this and the many other ways they partner in the larger community!
4. The words and wisdom of Reverends Kevin Witt and Cedrick Bridgeforth. Both of these talented and passionate United Methodist clergy will spiritually nourish us, challenge us, and provide us perspective for our journeys. We come for the connections with our colleagues, we stay for the insight of our spiritual Christian leaders.
5. Storytelling & sharing are an essential part of camp and retreat ministry, and the National Gathering is no different. We’re excited to bring in local storytellers who will captivate us with the history and heritage of the region. Of course, we all have our own stories, and you are encouraged to spend time sharing and growing with one another. (Let’s be honest: it’s always good to make new friends who haven’t heard our stories yet!)
6. Texas BBQ—We actually have a BBQ Pit Master coming from College Station to prepare the Texas-themed lunch on Wednesday.The coolest thing is that Donny will be pulling a large trailer with all his BBQ pits. He is setting up the day/night before to start smoking the brisket (we’ll be able to smell it all over camp). Along with the BBQ will be traditional sides such as potato salad and beans. You will get a true taste of Texas!