Gathering As One

A Virtual Outdoor Ministry Conference

November 17th-19th, 2020

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We hope you will be a part of the virtual conference that brought 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.


Our Conference Theme

GATHERING AS ONE explores 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.

Our Workshops

Two Sessions during Workshop #1

The Absolute Necessity of Intergenerational Play

Sponsored by UKirk Collegiate Ministries
An avid board gamer and hobby game designer, Jason Brian Santos will explore how a more robust “theology of play” - drawn from a pre-Fallen understanding of creation – calls into question our traditional understanding of fun and formation in the context of age-segregated ministries often found in camp and conference ministries. Seeking a more intentional way of engaging communities in intergenerational interaction, this workshop will offer a fresh way of thinking and practice for how we play together.

By Jason Brian Santos (see bio in Keynoter section above)

Lessons Learned from In-Person Programming

Sponsored by UltraCamp
As we look to Summer 2021, there is so much we can learn from our sites that ran programs in 2020. Since we will likely have safety protocols next year, it will be good to hear what folks experienced this year. Our panelists will focus on what went well, what would they do differently, and if there are any new facets they want to keep even after the pandemic is over.

Panelists include:
Vicki Nelson, Executive Director of Lumsden Beach Camp (Regina, SK)
Bri Payne, Executive Director of John Knox Center (Ten Mile, TN)
Phil Regetta, Program Director at Camp Harmony (Hooversville, PA)
Janis Sloka III, Executive Director of Camp of the Cross Ministries (Garrison, ND)

Two Sessions during Workshop #2

Sacred Conversations to End Racism

Sponsored by the Insurance Board
Rev. Dr. Velda Love will offer a workshop and facilitate conversation based on the United Church of Christ’s Sacred Conversations to End Racism curriculum. It is a guided resource based on cultural immersion and cultural perspectives and is a restorative justice journey moving people beyond anti-racism conversations to active engagement. This resource provides new language, strategies, and realities that engage all the intersections of our lives to unmask, dismantle, and eradicate racism. The ongoing impact of racism and xenophobia in contemporary society requires Christians to commit to a journey of restoration and repair among God’s people impacted by individual and systemic oppression and marginalization.


Rev. Dr. Velda R. Love currently serves as Minister of Racial Justice in The Justice and Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ. Velda has a working knowledge of critical race theory and creates comprehensive and strategic approaches for UCC national conferences, congregations, and staff colleagues to explore and understand the intersection of racial justice with other justice issues. Velda brings an African-centered approach inclusive of biblical and theological knowledge in liberation and womanist perspectives.

Employee Management in the Time of COVID-19

Sponsored by the Board of Pensions of the PC(USA)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and financial conditions, many sites faced difficult staffing and operations decisions in 2020. In this workshop, we will discuss some of the considerations and human resources best practices related to furloughs, dismissals, employee compensation, and staffing in 2021.


Katherine Hamilton began her career in Human Resources as an HR Generalist and a Benefits and Payroll Specialist at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation and Trion. Her experience providing strategic advice to employers on benefits and benefits administration led Katherine to her current role as the Strategic Relationship Manager at The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Katherine’s unique background in Human Resources and Consulting, as well as her experience as a healthcare consumer and cancer survivor, are the foundation of her passion for helping employers and employees alike, navigate the complexities of employee benefits and healthcare literacy.

Two Sessions during Workshop #3

Intergenerational Camp and Conference Ministry: When, Where, Who, What, and How

Sponsored by the Presbyterian Youth Workers Association
Dovetailing from Thursday's keynote presentation, Melissa Cooper will explore the “nuts and bolts” of making your camp and conference ministry more effectively intergenerational. Drawn from hands-on experiences and actual camping ministry, Cooper will help connect the dots between the theory of intergenerationality and it’s practice in your ministry context.

By Melissa Cooper (see bio in Keynoter section above)

Maintaining Relationships with Campers and Their Families

Sponsored by the American Camp Association
This workshop will present the successful ways that sites have stayed connected with campers and their families, whether they ran face-to-face programs this past summer or not. Our panelists will share what they have done, what seems to be working, and what are their plans to help keep campers and their families engaged between now and next summer.

Panelists include:
Lindsey Feltis, Camp Director at Pearce Williams Summer Camp & Retreat Facility (Fingal, ON)
Ryan Gackenheimer, Executive Director at Silver Lake Conference Center (Sharon, CT)
Emily Wernsdorfer Hooker,  Associate Director at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center (Little Rock, AR)
Betsy Kuecker, Camp Director at Camp Pine Lake (Eldora, IA)

Two Sessions during Workshop #4

Your New Intergenerational Retreat Resource

Sponsored by the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network
Come, let’s explore “Shine! Living as Children of God in a Restless World” - the new resource by GenOn Ministries that provides your staff what they need to lead intergenerational retreats (a printed version was in every conference box and the digital version is available on this website). An abundance of “choose your own adventure” options and ideas give you the flexibility to create what works for your center and the churches that will attend your retreats.


Liz Perraud has more than 30 years of experience in Christian faith formation. As Executive Director of GenOn Ministries, she is frequently called upon to speak and lead training in the US and Canada (or wherever she can go virtually). She is a contributor to “InterGenerate” (“The Art of Christian Relationships” chapter) and the forthcoming “Engage All Generations” (“Intergenerational Community Around the Table” chapter). In her spare time Liz enjoys volunteering in her church, hiking with her husband, and spending time with her granddaughters.

Creative Fund Development during COVID-19

Sponsored by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators
In this workshop, we will explore the creative ways our sites have pursued sustainability during the pandemic. Our panelists will share examples of how their sites have diversified operations, reached beyond their normal audience, and prioritized fundraising initiatives.

Panelists include:
Todd Eastis, Director of Business and Development at Camp Mack (Milford, IN)
Rob Morris, Executive Director at Christmount Conference & Retreat Center (Black Mountain, NC)
Joe Richards, Executive Director at Pearce Williams Summer Camp & Retreat Facility (Fingal, ON)
Doug Walters, Executive Director at Camp Hanover (Mechanicsville, VA)
Wade Zick, Managing Director at Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center  (Port Orchard, WA)

Our Sharing Sessions

Eight Topics during Sharing Session #1

  • Maintaining Relationships with Furloughed/Suspended Staff
  • Training Staff and Volunteers Through Online Interactions
  • Social Media Strategies During COVID-19
  • Zoom Recreation & Virtual Fun
  • High & Low Ropes Programming During COVID-19
  • Identifying New & Creative Revenue Streams
  • High Impact, Low Cost Facility Improvements
  • Share Your Story: Recent Successes in Fundraising

Eight Topics during Sharing Session #2

  • Virtual First Impressions: Camper Families and the Registration Process
  • Beyond Summer Camp: Using Registration Software for Booking Groups and Fundraising
  • Building a Vital and Fulfilling Work Environment for Your Staff
  • Taking Your Camp's Store to the Next Level
  • Changing Norms in Fund Development
  • Financial Sustainability for Outdoor Ministries
  • Continuing the Conversation: Shifts and Changes for Summer Camp 2021
  • Creating Welcoming Spaces: Making Hospitality a Focal Point of Your Ministry

Conference Schedule

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17th (all times are in Eastern time)
3:00-3:45pm  Conference Opening
3:45-4:45pm  Social Reception (separate reception for each association) 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18th (all times are in Eastern time)
10:00-11:15am  Welcome and Keynote
Keynote: "Sabbath Communities and the Formation of Christian Identity" by Jason Brian Santos
11:30am-12:15pm  Workshop #1 (two options)
12:30-12:45pm  Transition: Duck Race
Which duck will paddle the fastest? You'll be on the edge of your seats as these camp ducks race to the end of the stream. No actual ducks will be harmed in the making of this video 😉
1:00-1:45pm  Sharing Sessions #1
2:00-3:00pm  Exhibit Hall
3:15-3:30pm  Transition: Photo Contest Slideshow
Who has the strangest or most depreciated camp vehicle, the weirdest building or building feature, and the most unique camp store item?
3:45-4:30pm  Workshop #2 (two options)
4:45-5:45pm  Social Reception
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19th (all times are in Eastern time)
10:00-11:15am  Welcome and Keynote
Keynote: "Temporary Communities in Intergenerational Christian Formation" by Melissa Cooper
11:30am-12:15pm  Workshop #3 (two options)
12:30-12:45pm  Transition: Mug Shot Slideshow
This is a collection of images of our participants posing with the mug that is in the conference box.
1:00-1:45pm  Association Meeting (separate meeting for each association) 
2:00-2:15pm  Transition: Karaoke Challenge
Are you ready to laugh, cry, and sing along (on mute please) to some of your favorite hits of the decades?
2:30-3:15pm  Sharing Sessions #2
3:30-4:15pm  Workshop #4 (two options)
4:30-5:15pm   Conference Wrap-Up and Closing Worship
5:15-6:15pm  Social Reception (separate reception for each association) 

FAQ: Questions About the Conference Content

What is in the Conference Box?
It contains conference swag (coffee mug, note pad, beverage coaster, etc.), handouts, inserts from some of our exhibitors, three snacks, 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 do I access the recorded content?
You begin by logging in to the event website with the credentials you created when you purchased the conference box. This will take you to the conference dashboard. There you will find links to the listings for each of the event offerings. Clicking on the links will allow you to learn more about the session and access any handouts/resources related to the content. If you click on the Recorded Video button, you will  view the video from that session. 
What is a Sharing Session?
These are sessions when participants gathered to talk about a variety of topics and share their knowledge and experience. There is not a presenter leading the discussion. This is just camp and retreat leaders sharing good ideas with one another.

Are there any parts of the conference that were not recorded?
The social receptions, association meetings, and exhibit hall booths were not recorded.

How long do I have access to the recorded sessions and other content?
You will have the ability to log into the website and view all the recorded sessions and video content library until November of 2021. 
Who do I contact if I have a question about the conference?
If you have a question or are seeking a clarification related to one of the answers above, please contact Joel Winchip at .

Purchasing Conference Boxes

Purchasing one or more conference boxes includes the following:

Conference Box
Each box contains conference swag, snacks, event materials, exhibitor inserts, and a special curriculum resource related to offering an intergenerational retreat at your camp or retreat center. 

Login Credentials for the Conference Website
This gives you access to the event’s recorded sessions (like keynote presentations, workshops, and sharing sessions), workshop handouts/resources, and the Recorded Content Library (videos contributed by event participants - workshops, video tours of different camp facilities and programs, etc.). You will be able to log in to the website and view all of the content until November of 2021.


You choose the number of boxes you would like to purchase. The price for each box drops considerably with each additional one purchased. We are sorry for the higher prices for Canadian addresses. It costs quite a bit more to send boxes across the border. All boxes are shipped to the address your specify in the online form. Login credentials that give you access to the event's recorded content are included with any conference box purchase.

Boxes Shipped to Addresses in the United States
One Box: $25.00
Two Boxes: $30.00
Three Boxes: $35.00
Four Boxes: $40.00

Boxes Shipped to Addresses in Canada
One Box: $50.00
Two Boxes: $60.00
Three Boxes: $70.00
Four Boxes: $80.00

Please remember that login credentials for accessing the event's recorded content are included with each conference box purchase.

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