Gathering As One
A Virtual Outdoor Ministry Conference
November 17th-19th, 2020
We hope you will join us for a virtual conference that will bring together camp and retreat leaders from all over the United States and Canada. The event is endorsed by the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association, the Outdoor Ministries Association of the United Church of Christ, the Association of Disciples in Outdoor Ministry, the Outdoor Ministries Association of the Church of the Brethren, and the Outdoor Ministries Institute of the United Church of Canada.
We will be sharing more details related to this event each week, so please continue to check this website or look for updates in your association’s email blasts. We look forward to seeing you in November.
Our Conference Theme
GATHERING AS ONE will explore how we can build upon and enhance intergenerational connections in our camp and conference ministries, as well as connect us in deeper ways to our congregations and other partner ministries.
Research shows that intergenerational experiences are important not only for the formation of faith in our young participants, but for adults, families, and communities as a whole. Intergenerational learning connects all ages and generations together to learn with and from each other, build community, pray, and share faith. The key is that everyone is learning together in a shared faith experience.
Our Keynote Presenters
Rev. Melissa Cooper serves as the Minister of Worship and Arts at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Orlando, FL. She is also an Associate with Vibrant Faith, providing coaching and consulting services to help support congregations in leadership development and intergenerational ministry. Melissa once served as the Faith Formation and Retreat Ministries Coordinator for Camp Don Lee and as Program Coordinator for the Life Enrichment Center and Warren Willis Camp. Melissa is married to Will, and they are the parents to the cutest poodle and sassiest cats you’ll ever meet. When there's not a global pandemic, you can often find them frolicking around Disney World.
Rev. Jason Brian Santos, Ph.D. is the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church, a small mountain congregation located in Lake City, CO. For the last five years, he served as the national director for Christian Formation for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. He holds a Ph.D. in practical theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he also earned his Masters of Divinity. He is the author of A Community Called Taizé (IVP, 2008). Jason currently resides in an almost 150 year old historic church manse in Lake City, with his wife, Shannon and his two sons, Judah and Silas (aka Tutu). In his spare time, he plays and designs board games.
Our Worship Leader
Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka serves as the Director of Adult Educational Ministries and a Senior Associate Pastor at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Valley, KS. Born in Honolulu and raised in Seattle at the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Rodger is the son of a retired Presbyterian minister. Prior to his current position, Rodger taught at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta for 15 years in the area of educational ministry, specializing in youth and young adult ministry. Prior to teaching at the seminary, Rodger was the national coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (USA) from 1986-1999.
4:15-5:15pm Social Reception (separate reception for each denomination)
11:30am-12:15pm Zoom Workshop #1 (two options)
1:00-1:45pm Sharing Sessions #1
2:00-3:00pm Exhibit Hall
3:45-4:30pm Zoom Workshop #2 (two options)
4:45-6:00pm Social Reception
11:30am-12:15pm Zoom Workshop #3 (two options)
1:00-1:45pm Association Meeting (separate meeting for each denomination)
2:30-3:15pm Sharing Sessions #2
3:30-4:15pm Zoom Workshop #4 (two options)
4:30-5:15pm Closing Worship
5:30-6:30pm Social Reception (separate reception for each denomination)
Call for Video and Photo Submissions
There are some advantages of offering a virtual conference. For the “Gathering as One” event, we will have a library of recorded content. We are asking participants to contribute to this library. Through the videos and photos submitted, we hope participants will share their knowledge and/or a bit about the camps and retreat centers in which they serve. Conference participants will be able to log in to the website and view this video content until November of 2021. An online form for submitting videos and photos can be found below.
Here are the different types of content we are currently seeking:
Workshop (20-30 minutes in length)
In a virtual forum, we can all be contributors. Since we all have something to share, we will be asking participants to create workshops for the conference’s recorded content library. If you have a topic that would be meaningful to your fellow camp and retreat leaders, we invite you to pre-record a video workshop that conveys the material in a video format. You could use Zoom to record a call if you want to have more than one presenter.
Tour of a specific part of your camp or retreat center (4-5 minutes in length)
Take us behind the scenes of a specific area of your site. The options include tours of your dining facility, office, lodging, high ropes course, maintenance shop, new construction, new or exciting programs, and much more.. We encourage you to provide a tour of one or more areas at your camp or retreat center.
Site update (4-5 minutes in length)
How is your site doing? This short video will provide an update on your site and staff. It will be nice for each of us to check in and share our current triumphs and struggles. Your update could include how you have served campers and guests during COVID-19, new constructions, creative fundraising, updated staffing models, etc.
Since we are all singing from different locations, we are creating a video mashup of all of our contributors. We are requesting that anyone who is interested, please submit a video recording that meets the following criteria:
1. Select one of the following songs, and click on the link to its corresponding video:
• Take Me Home, Country Roads
• I Will Survive
• Lean on Me
2. Listen to the audio from the video link on any device using headphones, and record yourself singing and dancing along with a different device. This means that your voice should be the only audio on the final submitted video. Make sure to eliminate background noise when possible and record through the entire song (including intro/outro music and dance breaks). If you are recording with a smart phone, please keep the device horizontal.
Submissions for the Photo Competition
We would love to see your site’s best entry for each of the following categories:
1. Strangest or most depreciated camp vehicle
2. Weirdest building or building feature
3. Most unique camp store item
For all of the video submissions, we ask that you introduce yourself (and your site) at the beginning, eliminate background noise when possible, and position the camera in landscape mode when recording with a smartphone.
We do not have the capacity for participants to upload videos to the conference website, so we are asking you to upload your videos to YouTube or Vimeo and then supply us with the link. Another option is to give us the Dropbox or Google Drive link to the video or photo file on your computer (please make sure it is a shareable link that can be viewed by anyone). Conference participants will be able to log in to the website and view this video content until November of 2021, so we ask that you keep your files in their uploaded locations until then.
FAQ: Questions About the Conference
When will I get to hang out with the other leaders from my association?
The "Gathering As One" Conference will bring together camp and conference leaders from five associations (and two countries). The participants from the different associations will be mixed during the keynote presentations, the live content sessions, the sharing sessions, worship, and the social gathering on that Wednesday night. Your association meeting (on Thursday) and the social gatherings (on Tuesday and Thursday nights) will be times for your association to come together for information and fellowship.
If you are one of the first 300 people to register, you will receive a box in the mail that will prepare you for the event. It will contain conference swag (coffee mug, note pad, beverage coaster, etc.), handouts, inserts from some of our exhibitors, snacks for the social gatherings, and a special resource related to our theme. The latter is a curriculum that can help you offer intergenerational retreats at your camp or conference center.
How will the conference content be shared?
We know that Zoom has taken over your life, but it is the best way to bring people together and share content. The keynote presentations, live workshops, sharing sessions, worship, exhibit hall, and the social gatherings will all use the Zoom platform. Almost all of the conference will be recorded, so don't worry if you miss one of the sessions in "real time." It will later be found in the recorded content library (and will be available for viewing until November 2021). If you don't currently have a Zoom account, you have time now to get one (they are free) before the conference begins.
During the two sessions on both Wednesday and Thursday, you will have the opportunity to choose between two different live workshops. You will be able to view the description and leadership bios from each of the sessions. If you are having trouble choosing between your two options, just know that both workshops will be recorded (and will be available for viewing until November 2021).
There will be a time on Wednesday and Thursday when participants can gather to talk about certain topics and share their knowledge and experience. You will choose from a list of topics and will have the ability to switch between the different sessions if you prefer. If you are having trouble choosing between the topics, just know that all of the sessions will be recorded (and will be available for viewing until November 2021).
From 2:00-3:00pm on that Wednesday, you will have the opportunity to visit the companies and organizations that are a part of the event. You will be able to select from the long list of exhibitors. Each will have a Zoom room as their "virtual booth." If you enter their Zoom room and interact with their representatives (i.e. talk with them or are part of one of their short presentations), you receive one "slip" in the drawing for exhibit hall prizes. The more companies and organizations you visit (and talk to), the more entries you receive in the drawing. If you win one of the 25 prizes in the drawing (each is worth at least $75), the prize will be mailed to you after the conference.
In a virtual forum, we can all be contributors. Since everyone has something to share, the conference planners are asking you to create videos for workshops, facility tours, and site updates. There are also three photo contests. All of this will be available to event participants in the conference’s recorded content library until November 2021. Please check out the details and submit content today.
If you have a question or are seeking a clarification related to one of the answers above, please contact Joel Winchip at email@example.com.
Registration includes the following:
Login Credentials for the Conference Website
This gives you access to the event’s live content (keynotes, Zoom workshops, worship, exhibit hall, sharing sessions, social gatherings, etc.) and the recorded content library (workshops, video tours of different camp facilities and programs, etc.). After the conference concludes, recordings of the live content will also be available. You will be able to login to the website and view all of the archived content until November of 2021.
The first 300 registered participants will have a conference box shipped to their address. Each box contains conference swag, event materials, exhibitor inserts, and a special curriculum resource related to offering an intergenerational retreat at your camp or retreat center.
One individual: $75.00 USD
This includes login capabilities for one person (and a conference box for the first 300 registrants).
One camp, conference or retreat center: $200.00 USD
This includes login capabilities for an unlimited number of staff and board/committee members at your site. It also includes three conference boxes (if you are one of the first 300 registrants). Additional conference boxes are available for $30.00 each.