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Community Conversation Recap: "The Great Resignation"

01 Sep 2021 11:57 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

The "Great Resignation" is the current phenomenon of large numbers of people making job and career changes. Camping and retreat ministries across the country are seeing this play out at their sites and related ministries. 


Why are folks feeling the desire to move out of camp and retreat ministries?

  • Burnout. Leaders were feeling burnout pre-summer. This summer did not provide relief, and in many cases made stress and exhaustion worse. This has been a factor in some early retirements and career changes.

  • COVID lay-offs. Furloughs and lay-offs caused talented folks to seek work in other industries. They have not returned.

  • Career advancement. Camping and retreat ministries often have few opportunities for "moving up the ladder."

  • Weak support systems. Some leaders are feeling like they are "going it alone." 

  • Salary. Camping salaries and non-profit salaries, in general, tend to be lower than average.

Strategies for addressing these challenges:

  • Camp/Retreat Ministry is both a career and a "life calling." 

  • Create a culture of growth. Even in ministries that don't have a lot of room for advancement, leaders can adjust job descriptions to bring newness to staff who have been around for a while.

  • Give the gift of time. Offer staff times of renewal and days off that don't count against their PTO.

  • Provide professional development or educational opportunities. Explore staff persons' career goals and help them learn skills to keep them growing. 

  • Encourage staff to grow and move on to wherever God is calling them. Don't hold too tightly to staff who are ready for a new challenge. At the same time, be continually looking at who can step up into year-round positions. Create an intentional and healthy flow of year-round staff.

  • Commit to increasing fiscal health so that can translate into better pay and benefits for your best asset: awesome people.

  • Look for opportunities to show how much your staff matter. Could credit card points go toward gift cards? Does housing need a facelift? Can you add bonuses to base pay? Could retirement contributions increase with longevity at the job?

  • Advocate for your own needs so you can best lead those around you. Don't be afraid to ask the Conference or your supervisor for support when you need it.

Thanks to all who participated, shared ideas, and articulated your values around staff retention and appreciation. Join us on Monday, September 13th for the next UMCRM Community Conversation! 

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