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Faces of UMCRM: Reflections From Ron Schane

10 Nov 2021 8:19 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

After a fruitful career serving in Camp & Retreat Ministry and 19 years as Director of Pocono Plateau, Rev. Ron Schane sat down with Apryl Miller (Gretna Glen, Eastern PA) to reflect on lessons learned, changes he's witnessed, and words of encouragement for current UMCRM leaders. 

How were you called into C&R ministry?

Growing up, my C&R ministry experience was limited to church youth group retreats. I never attended summer camp. However, my parents took our family on camping trips all the time and that’s where I acquired my love of the outdoors. During my high school years, I worked at a summer camp, and felt drawn to pursue a career in C&R ministry upon entering college. But upon graduation, however, God redirected my path into church-based ministry. During my 20 years of youth ministry, I remained connected with the summer camp ministry as a volunteer. Then, as my wife and I re-evaluated God’s will for our own family, the opportunity to enter full-time C&R ministry opened. So, my calling went full circle, remembering that in following God’s will, it’s in God’s timing and not in ours.  

Where have you served? (years, places, roles)

I served on the summer program staff at Tel-Hai Camp from 1975-1980 and 1982.  Camp Hebron in the summer of 1981 on the program staff. Then, a volunteer counselor and program director for Jr. High camps at Pocono Plateau from 1986-2001. And of course, as the Camp Director at Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Camp from January 2002 to January 2022. I also served in Youth Ministry at Olivet UMC in Coatesville from 1982 to 2002.

What significant changes have you seen over the years in this ministry?

The most significant change I’ve seen is sadly the decrease in our United Methodist Church membership which has a direct effect on C&R ministry. Churches have much fewer children available for summer camp and less participants for retreats. It’s been an alarming trend. The repercussions are enormous. Another change is within our culture – the pace at which people live-out their lives. Everyone is on the go all the time; there’s no slowing down. People need a breather from their nonstop life styles.  They need to take a break from the toxic social media and reconnect with God and one another. The need for spiritual retreats has never been greater and yet it is underutilized.

Describe your greatest blessings in this work?

If I were to list my greatest blessings we’d be here all day. So I’ll focus on two. First, I feel blessed that every day I got to experience God’s handiwork. Being outdoors surrounded by creation was a wonderful blessing, but observing our amazing God actively involved in the lives of individuals was truly incredible. To see the growth in others, whether it was campers, staff, volunteers, or retreat guests, was extremely rewarding. The second blessing was watching my two children serve on my summer staff. What can I say, it made me proud as a Director and a father. 


What's one thing you're looking forward to doing in your retirement?

Honestly, spending more time with family. As you know the commitment to C&R ministry means working when typically everyone else is not. So, I’m looking forward to weekends off and vacationing during the summer. 

What's one important thing you've learned that you would like to pass along to other camp & retreat leaders?

Even though C&R ministry can be rewarding and a blessing in so many ways, it can also be extremely challenging, stressful, and draining on an individual. It’s vital to care for your own health – physically, mentally, and spiritually. No one else is responsible for your health, so you need to do it. 

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