UMCRM participants were: Geoff Fielder (Tanako, AR), Matt Williams (Sky Lake Camp, NY), Abel Salas (Suttle Lake Camp, OR), Brandon Gooch (Camp Lake Stephens, MS), Zach Brandt (Northern Pines, MN), Allison Doyle (Lakeshore, TN), Jonathan Gowan (Sumatanga, AL), Ashlee Phillips (Camp Wesley, OH), Whitney Winston (Camp In The Community, Holston Conference,TN), and Jeff Wadley (Camp Bays Mountain, TN)
Are you seeking to better understand your role and call in Christian camp and retreat ministry? Let me highly recommend the Compass Points certification program. I have attended various workshops at different conferences, retreats, and events that all sought to better equip us camp folks with knowledge and fun new ideas to take back to our camp. However, I have learned more from my time taking classes in the certification program than I ever did from these workshops.
First, the classes are more intensive because they last over a 3-day period. Most workshops are just an hour and you never get to interact with the speakers. With Compass Points, you have time and opportunity to ask all the questions you can think of. Our instructors teach on everything from fundraising to hiring summer staff counselors to creating a mission statement. I have learned so much from the wealth of experience all our faculty bring to the table. You also get the added benefit of hearing from your fellow classmates about how they are dealing with certain issues or have found solutions to common problems.
Getting to know Christian camping people from various denominations around the country has been my favorite aspect of the program. I have realized we are all asking the same questions and that there is more that brings us together in community than divides us. What unites us is our love for sharing Jesus and building His kingdom through camp and retreat ministry. The different ways we try and separate ourselves from others soon fall away as you hear other people’s passion for the work they do day in and day out. The community I have formed through the Compass Points certification program has truly been a blessing to me and one of the best parts of my whole experience.
The Compass Points certification program will help you be a better camp and retreat professional. Whether you are just starting out like me or you have 20 years of experience, the classes offered will enable you to be the best that you can be. It will help you to continue building God’s kingdom one camper, one activity, one encouraging word at a time.
Jonathan Gowan is Director of Summer Camp Ministries at Sumatanga Camp & Retreat Center, Alabama. He formerly served the summer camp ministry at Lakeshore (TN) for 7 years and as a local church Youth Director prior to that. Jonathan feels strongly that camp and retreat ministry is part of the greater church, and believes it is his call to pour into young adults to help them see their part in the Kingdom.