Coming from a YMCA camp background prior to becoming the Executive Director of United Methodist Camps & Retreats in South Carolina, Arthur had already received great training in the nuts-and-bolts of camp leadership. He signed up for his first UMCRM event not knowing what he would gain from it. Because Arthur is also from a non-United Methodist denomination, he knew he would be an outsider.
Unexpectedly, Arthur stepped into an experience of warmth, love, and welcome. He recalls “people hugging me I didn’t even know.” He recognized quickly that UMCRM was a different kind of community, not just of fellow professionals, but of friends. These friends shared a Christian faith that deeply impacted their work, and they shared a commitment to transforming lives for Christ through Camp & Retreat Ministries. “God can use me here,” he realized.
Over the years Arthur has continued to develop relationships through UMCRM and has shared his talents and expertise through two terms of Board service, helping to coordinate Sustainable Pathways programs, teaching on the Compass Points faculty, contributing to Diversity/Equity/Inclusion initiatives, and more, including welcoming newcomers to the community through notorious card games! Now he says, “I have people I can call on at all hours.” It’s clear, though, that Arthur has paid forward at least as much as he has received from UMCRM in inclusion and collegial support, helping to extend the reach of this “different sort of community.”