Welcome to the 
Association of UMCRM

UMCRM Conference Staff Summit 2019: Reflection by Ethan Porter, with Jessica Gamaché

11 Dec 2019 12:31 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

Pictured, L to R: Russell Davis (N.GA), Mike Standifer (FL), Ron Bartlow (Desert SW), Arthur Spriggs (SC), Jen Burch (UMCRM), Sue D'Alessio (WI), Alan Rogstad (Pacific NW), Kevin Witt (Susquehanna), Dail Ballard (NC), Jessica Gamaché (UMCRM), Gary Lawson (Memphis), Todd Bartlett (OR-ID), Ethan Porter (Great Plains), David Berkey (Cal-Pac), Ryan Clements (Greater NJ), Jack Shitama (Pen-Del), Chris Schlieckert (Balt-Wash), Shea James (WV), Keith Shew (Dakotas-MN), Russell Casteel (TN), Ken Overholser (W.OH)

Present but not pictured: Mike Huber (Upper NY), Brooke Bradley (NY)

For several days in November, twenty-three Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries representatives gathered to fellowship and vision at the annual Conference Staff Summit. Among times of worship and education, this group worked together as strategic advisors on the direction and vision of UMCRM. Several meaningful and inspiring conversations were led by UMCRM Board Chair, Russell Davis. Topics included timely issues such as our Association identity in the changing UMC environment, supporting members through data-driven marketing and development resources, and strategies for leadership development and growth in expertise around faith-formation.  

Attending the Summit for the first time this year was Ethan Porter, representing the Great Plains Annual Conference. Here is his reflection on the value that the Conference Staff Summit brought to him as a camp and retreat leader.  

My time at the Conference Staff Summit at Lake Junaluska was an amazing learning, fellowship, and networking experience. It was a great time to be able to grow in my position under the guidance of some of our more experienced and knowledgeable leaders in our field. We had many strategic conversations about UMCRM going into the future. Being able to listen and participate in these talks was not only informative for questions that we have here in the Great Plains Conference, but it was nice being able to share some of our experiences in return. The most informative topic for me was the discussion on “Organization of a Reorganization” from the transitional team from Camp Tekoa and the Western NC UMC Conference Council. Listening to how they managed to re-envision one of their camps as opposed to shutting the doors provided valuable insight on how they turned the site around. In another information session, attorney Lach Zemp shared the general process and implications of non-profit incorporation and engaged us in conversation about the benefits and risks, along with answering specific questions from the group. 

Keep your eye on S’more Mail for information about next fall’s Conference Staff Summit. It would be wonderful to have each Annual Conference represented at this valuable event. 


Ethan Porter has served as the Director of Camp Norwesca in the Great Plains Conference since October 2019. Before coming to Norwesca he was an Assistant Manager for Walmart. He lives onsite with his trusty dog Scout and enjoys swimming and playing games with friends.  

Questions?  Please contact our Association Registrar

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software