HOPE (Helping Overcome Problems Everyday) Camp at Jumonville (PA) brings children who live in poverty into a safe environment to be encouraged, loved, and challenged to grow in their spiritual, social, and personal lives. The program is a key part of the ministry of Program Director Rebekah Patterson.
Back in her days as a summer staffer at Jumonville, Rebekah experienced camp as a place where people weren’t afraid to be their true selves, and where she could grow life skills that couldn’t be developed anywhere else. Her position on year-round staff has given her the opportunity to live out her purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In her role, she is at home. She has made lifelong friendships and even met her spouse. Rebekah finds support in her calling through a mentor relationship with the previous Program Director and through her connections with UMCRM. At events like the National Gathering and Sustainable Pathways (a collaborative event with other denomination partners), Rebekah has “found like-minded people who love camp and are facing similar situations.” But one of the strongest supports she has found in UMCRM is through the Solomon Cramer Grant. For three years, funding from this grant that is distributed by UMCRM has enabled the growth of HOPE Camp, which is a significant part of Rebekah’s ministry. Through the grants, UMCRM has come alongside Rebekah and HOPE Camp to encourage her in her leadership as well as impact the next generation of leaders. Rebekah recently shared, “Because of the Solomon Cramer Grants, we have had several young people go from CITs (‘Counselors in Training’) with HOPE Camp to become summer staff.”
The UMCRM network exists to support camp and retreat leaders like Rebekah in many different ways. For Rebekah and many other camp and retreat leaders, this support gives them the skills and resources they need to develop the next generation of leaders for camping, the Church, and the world.