LANSING, Mich. (February 24, 2016) –With sadness the Michigan Area United Methodist Camping Ministries announced today that major reductions in camp staffing are being made leading up to the 2016 church camping season.
The Rev. George Ayoub, Interim Executive Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries said, “It breaks my heart to have to reduce staff at our camps. These are exceptional people who have dedicated their lives to camping ministries.”
Eight of the Area’s nine United Methodist camp sites across the state were affected. Reductions involved lay-offs of maintenance, housekeeping, and office personnel; cuts from full-time to part-time positions; decreased staff training time; and shortening of camp seasons for staff members. One assistant director position was eliminated. None of the cut-backs will affect the quality or safety of summer programs, as they are focused on “behind the scenes” positions.
Ayoub cited increased costs, decreased attendance and financial support as reasons for the cut-backs. “These actions are about fiscal responsibility,” he explained. “Both Detroit and West Michigan conference camping systems have been running at a deficit for a number of years.”
Ayoub also offered some positive corrective measures. “Everyone can be part of the turn-around through strong support of our camping ministries. Our mission is to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ. We cannot do that if campers, families, and retreat guests do not use our camps,” he stressed. Send children to United Methodist camps.
Go camping as a family to one of our campgrounds. Bring a church group on a retreat. Donate to camping ministries. Support neighborhood children by offering camp scholarships. These are some of the suggestions the director shared as ways to contribute both to the financial health of the program and the spiritual lives of children, youth and families.
Registration is now open for all 2016 camps, campgrounds, and retreat centers. Information and registration are available online at umcamping.org. Print copies of the camp brochure may be obtained from Camp Registrar/Administrative Assistant, Pamela Stewart. Email or phone 1-888-217-1905.
by KAY DeMOSS, Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Area