Shirley Weyrauch, who has ably served as Chair of the Division of Outdoor Ministries for the past three years during very challenging times, resigned that position several months ago, but remained until the Ohio Conference found a replacement for her. Bobby Burtt was nominated to that position and approved by the board on Friday, Sept. 23. This is Weyrauch’s final letter to the conference in this capacity. We are deeply grateful for her leadership in this role and welcome her gifts for finding curriculum and other resources, for promoting the program with her beautiful photographs and with her passion for supporting and training our many volunteers.
This is her final update to the conference as Chair of the Division of Outdoor Ministries:
Dear Ohio Conference Friends,
As I conclude my term as the Chair of the Division of Outdoor Ministries, I want to thank each of you for your ongoing encouragement and support during this time of transition. There are two groups of people for whom I wish to specifically express appreciation – our volunteer summer camp directors and the members of the Division.
Our camp directors carried on admirably leading their respective summer events during a very challenging time and in the midst of nearly constant change. They have my utmost gratitude and respect for making sure that we still provided a faith filled and safe camp experience for each camper who attended in the last two summer seasons.
I also want to thank our members serving on the Division. Their job descriptions changed drastically from when they first agreed to serve, as we transitioned to a mostly volunteer-led program. We met more frequently and had more hands-on responsibility for the summer program than ever before. They are still carrying on with the task at hand, as we continue making changes and moving forward toward a new vision for the future.
Additionally, I want to thank John Kropf, the previous Chair of the Division, and Phil Hart, our designated Conference Minister, as they served as mentors, sounding boards and encouragers when I had many questions and frustrations. Since joining the Ohio Conference staff, Nicole Havelka has also been my faithful partner in this work. Pam Brown, the Conference office administrator, was invaluable for her knowledge and grace under pressure and an enormous workload.
While the last two years were focused on survival, I believe that our view may now be broadened as we look to the future and discern how we want to offer Outdoor Ministries programs going forward. The Division of Outdoor Ministries and our volunteer summer camp directors met at Pilgrim Hills Sept. 23- 24 to plan, dream and brainstorm for both our short-term and long-range plans. This group shared excitement and optimism about the future of Outdoor Ministries in our conference. We are seeking new ideas for programs, not only in the summer, but year-round. Policies and procedures are being updated, our core values clarified, and goals set for our future endeavors.
Also attending this retreat was Bobby Burtt, the newly appointed Chair of the Division, who brings to this position his lifetime of involvement as camper, site staff member, volunteer counselor, and camp director. Bobby is energetic, enthusiastic and creative, and I hope that you will encourage and support him as you have me. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of his tenure with the Division, and I’ve offered him my wholehearted support.
Thank you, and many blessings!