November 26, 2016
I have been asked a couple times by friends and family, “So, what is it you do as the Chair of the Division of Outdoor Ministries?” Every time my answer is, “to be honest I am not really sure that I fully know.” What I do know is what I and the Division have gotten done so far.
First and foremost, we had a wonderful meeting in September between the Board of Directors, Division members, and volunteer directors. At this meeting, we diagnosed some needs that we have inside of the program; like communication, finances, and staffing. To address these issues, we have set up new working committees of volunteers. These committees are working hard to assess data, decide what actions need to be taken, and then with support of the proper parties will move forward with actions needed to rectify the needs of the program. We also probed into the core of who it is we are as a faith formation program, including what makes us different and why we do what we do. We hope to turn these ideas into a mission statement that will define us for years to come.
Then we are preparing for fall and spring programming including Fall Youth Event and Junior High Youth Event. Fall Youth Event happened Nov. 18 and 19, and it was a huge success in both attendance and programs. With 112 registrants, it was one of the biggest FYE’s we’ve had in recent years. However, every program comes with lots of background work — registrations, budgets, contract, and, of course, the reference checks to ensure the safety of our participants. In fact, those references take a lot of time. For nearly 40 adult chaperones, it took staff and a team of volunteers 30-40 hours to complete the reference checks alone. We owe a big thank you to all the people who volunteered to help take care of this vital component of the Outdoor Ministries programming this past month!
Oh, and the meetings. I can’t forget the meetings; there are lots of meetings. Meetings with the volunteers who serve on the Division. Meetings with the volunteer directors to keep lines of communication open and ensure they have all the tools they need as they prepare for their summer programming. Meetings with Ohio Conference Board members to learn of the good and bad news about budgetary realities. My favorites, though, are meetings with people who want to volunteer, people who want to see the program continue, and people who just want to tell me how much they love what we do. Those are some of the best conversations, and they mean the world to me–almost as much as our Outdoor Ministries mean to me.