The Ohio Conference Board of Directors held a special meeting April 27, 2017 to move forward with its plans to reopen Templed Hills Camp in late 2017.
Several teams, who were named by the board following its February vote to sell Pilgrim Hills and move all site operations and camping programming to Templed Hills, reported on the quick progress they have made since that last board meeting. Templed Hills, the conference’s church camp site located in Belleville, Ohio, had been put on “sabbatical” nearly four years ago when financial distress made it clear the Ohio Conference UCC could no longer afford to keep open two sites. At that time, all of the conference’s church camp and faith formation programming was moved to the Pilgrim Hills site, where it has been running for the past three seasons with the help of ministry partner and camp managers United Camps, Conferences and Retreats (UCCR).
Board Vice Moderator Cathy Green reported that she had convened a new Camp Business Team as requested by board. The board has charged the business team with creating a one- to three-year business plan for the camping program which will be presented at the conference annual meeting in September.
Green said that the business team agreed with that one goal for Templed Hills is to make the site more adult-friendly in order to better serve the congregations across the conference. Other goals will be identified as the work continues.
An Operations Team has also been formed to determine what repairs and capital improvements the site needs to be more viable and appealing. This ream will oversee the needed repairs and upgrades at Templed Hills. It has determined to tackle two main issues first — improving the water system at Templed Hills and upgrading housing for site managers. Jim Ditzler, member of Trinity UCC, Wooster, will serve as the chair of this team. He also serves as the chair of Disaster Ministries for the Ohio Conference.
To support in doing these upgrades, the board voted at this meeting to create a Templed Hills Capital Improvement Fund that will be held with our camp management partner UCCR. The board voted unanimously to move $150,000 of the $200,000 that the board had already designated for upgrades at Templed Hills. They also voted to move another $110,000 to that fund earmarked for improving site managers’ housing. That money came from the sale of an off-site manager’s home that happened in late 2015.
The board emphasized in its discussions that only certain designated members of the board and staff could authorize repair projects of up to $5,000 and all other larger repairs and site maintenance would need board approval.
Board Treasurer Sam Buehrer reported that the camp sales team was moving forward with plans to sell the Pilgrim Hills camp property, located in Brinkhaven, Ohio, by fall of 2017. After the current camping season is completed, the board also asked Interim Conference Minister John Gantt to form a team that would host a de-commissioning and farewell celebration at Pilgrim Hills in early October.
Meanwhile, registration for summer camps and fall retreats for Pilgrim Hills’ final season is open on the conference’s upgraded online system. The final registration for all summer camps is May 15. Already several camps have reached capacity. Register NOW so you don’t lose your spot!