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Exciting News! Welcoming UMCRM's First-Ever Association Director

09 Oct 2019 9:37 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

The UMCRM Board of Directors announced this week the selection of Jessica Gamaché as its first-ever Association Director. We are excited about the new potential for our Association under Gamaché’s leadership!


The Process

Jessica was recommended by the Director Search Task Force after a three-and-a-half month process that began with over 300 initial applicants, saw almost 50 complete the essay and video requirements, narrowed to six phone interviews, and finished the first of October with three candidates interviewed in person. We were blessed to choose from an incredibly strong pool of talented individuals from within the UMCRM & UMC communities and beyond.


The UMCRM Association Director position was made possible last spring by a generous foundation grant that will fund the position in full through 2022 and will phase out by 2024. The UMCRM Board developed the search process and an independent task force to find a person whose skill sets would help the Association best pursue its mission. Hearty thanks to our dedicated Task Force members for their commitment to what turned out to be a pretty time-consuming process: Todd Bartlett (OR), Kim Carter (AR), Abi Fuesler (NC), Pam Harris (NY), Jody Oates (OH), Mike Selleck (GA).  They were asked to recommend to us a seasoned leader to assist our member-driven, volunteer-based association toward our strategic goals of developing the servant leadership and faith-forming capacity of camp/retreat ministry professionals. A profile was developed to help communicate the Board’s priorities of acquiring project and volunteer management skills in filling the position. 


Why We’re Excited

Jessica Gamaché is an engaging camp and retreat professional with proven success in administrative oversight and fund development in the faith-based nonprofit context. As Camping and Retreat Ministries Coordinator in the Western PA United Methodist Annual Conference for the past eight+ years, she has been resourcing and leading camp and retreat site directors in meeting operational, financial, and programmatic objectives. Through her leadership in Western PA  and her elected service on the UMCRM Board of Directors since 2015, Jessica has earned respect as an ambassador of camp and retreat ministries and as a gifted collaborator. She understands this ministry we all share and its importance as a pathway of discipleship in the Church. Her deep Christian values and strong understanding of organizational leadership, volunteer engagement, and hospitality will certainly be assets to our Association.


Background Information

Having grown up as a camper, Jessica first came to United Methodist camping leadership as Assistant Site Manager and Nature Resource Guide at Wesley Forest in Central PA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Resort Recreation Management and a Master’s in Parks and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University. In her most recent role as Camping and Retreat Coordinator for the Western PA Annual Conference, Jessica oversees the Directors of 6 sites, has spearheaded an extensive multi-year, multi-million-dollar capital campaign, worked with hundreds of volunteers, and championed camping ministries in the local church, Conference, and beyond. She was elected as a Northwest Jurisdiction representative to the UMCRM Board in 2012 and has served in various roles, most recently as Board Vice-Chair. Jessica is a proactive initiator at work and in her volunteer service, too. As a volunteer in our Association, she has been a primary driver for the Intentional Leadership Groups, UMCRM Book Group, and Online Volunteer Training, in addition to her contributions to policy governance and strategic planning. We can’t wait to see what she will be able to accomplish when UMCRM is her full-time work and primary focus!


Getting Started

Jessica will begin her work as Association Director on Monday, November 4th. She will participate in the Great Gathering at Lake Junaluska on November 10-14 and will meet with the Annual Conference Camp/Retreat Staff from across the country at their annual Summit, November 14-16.


Please join us in congratulating Jessica and in praying for her as she and her family embark on this new adventure. You can reach her by email at jessica.gamache@umcrm.org.

Questions?  Please contact our Association Registrar

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