Yay, Education!

Part of the UMCRM Association’s mission is to resource United Methodist Camp/Retreat Ministries. We are invested in the future of UMCRM leaders and strive to provide excellent educational opportunities so we all are constantly getting better at what we do, for the glory of God.

All Are Welcome

All educational opportunities are available to anyone, regardless of their religious background or anything else (age, race, sexual orientation, etc.) Please let us know if you require special accommodation due to a disability so we may help remove barriers to your participation in UMCRM educational experiences.


We believe in experiential education, so we endorse hands-on camp/retreat ministry experiences as a key way to grow. All are encouraged to serve at a United Methodist Camp/Retreat Ministry in a volunteer or paid staff capacity. Use our Camp Finder feature to find a camp/retreat ministry.


We encourage professional certification in Camp/Retreat Ministry through The United Methodist Church. Certification is The United Methodist Church’s recognition that an individual has been called, made a commitment to serve, and has fulfilled the required standards for academic training, experience, and continuing study to serve with excellence in an area of specialized ministry. The UMCRM Association encourages our members to give preference to certified leaders when making hiring decisions. Learn more about Certification


UMCRM Immersion Experience

This special opportunity focuses entirely on camp/retreat ministry in the United Methodist tradition. Methodists have been impacting lives through camping ministry for over a century, and this heritage, along with our unique theology, polity (church structure), practices, and missional priorities, make UMCRM leadership special, powerful, and sometimes challenging. If you are developing as a leader in a United Methodist camp/retreat ministry, this is for you. If you are seeking certification, this event is a requirement. If you have camp experience but are new to United Methodism, this event will immerse you in the tradition and equip you to lead a United Methodist ministry with insight, confidence, and grace (three kinds!) The next Immersion experience is tentatively scheduled for January 2022. Learn more and register

UMCRM National Camp & Retreat Leaders’ Gathering

Traditionally held every other year in odd years, the last week of January, this is the premier gathering of the UMCRM community for fellowship, inspiration, personal and professional development. The Gathering includes educational workshops on a wide variety of camp/retreat ministry-related topics presented by volunteer leaders. It is open to all (United Methodist or not, camping professional or not). Learn more and register for Fall 2022 Gathering

Compass Points

Compass Points is a cooperative program of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference AssociationOutdoor Ministries Association of the United Church of Christ, and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in partnership with Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. It is designed for those looking to deepen their understanding of camp and conference ministry. Prospective students may be new to the field or may be seeking to widen their base of knowledge. The certificate program is comprised of eight courses of study, which are scheduled on a repeating two-year cycle. Each class covers key areas that are relevant to this unique ministry.

Sustainable Pathways

An annual series of workshops promoting sustainability in camp and retreat ministries, offered (usually in September) in collaboration with the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA). Past topics have included Board Governance, Sustainable Finance, Marketing, and others. This event is open to all; it’s especially geared for Christian faith-based camp and conference leaders.

New Execs Onboarding

A one-day training held the day before the annual UMCRM Conference Staff Summit, an event for those who relate to United Methodist Camp/Retreat Ministries at the Annual Conference level. Learn more about the powerful opportunities, unique challenges, and supportive resources available to those serving with an annual conference, whose portfolio includes camping ministries. Seasoned conference staff lead this day, customizing content to the needs of attendees.

View upcoming UMCRM-sponsored events here

Others providing educational experiences for Camp/Retreat Ministry leaders:

Online Training

The UMCRM Association is in the process of developing online training modules to meet the needs of the thousands of volunteers who serve with us in ministry. Our pilot effort was offered in summer 2019 in partnership with BeADisciple.com.

The component modules were:

  • Faith Formation (Kevin Witt)
  • Physical and Emotional Boundaries (Kelly Peterson Cruse)
  • Camper Behavior (Cat Holbert)
  • Duty of Care/in loco parentis (Jack Shitama)
  • Small Group Leadership (Hope Montgomery)

More info about online training


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