There are a few more interesting tidbits that I think you'll want to know about.
I was in Colorado the week before last. I had a brief visit to Rainbow Trail and enjoyed the hospitality of Dave and Nell Jarvis. It was a great visit to a great outdoor ministry organization. The ELCA, and as a result, LOM, is fortunate to have two great organizations in Colorado. I was invited to be part of a Ministry Review Team, May 11-14, organized in this case by the Rocky Mountain Synod and invited by Sky Ranch. This was a great opportunity for Sky Ranch to get some affirmations for their organization and programs (there are many affirmations to be had), and to get some recommendations for moving forward from a few people not totally embedded in their organization. It was, in my opinion, an excellent process and I think executive director Brad Abbott and the Sky Ranch Board members would all agree. LOM is now in a position and poised to organize similar Ministry Reviews, and I encourage you to contact me (email@example.com) if you are interested in exploring such a possibility for your outdoor ministry organization.
Then, at the end of this past week, LOM once again was in a position to be of service to another of our member organizations. Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center in SW Virginia (Chris Stevens, executive director) invited me to their Board retreat to have a consultation with the Board, sort of a mini Board development workshop. Once again, it was an excellent opportunity for LOM and I'm pretty sure an excellent experience for their Board. They've had some pretty serious struggles making ends meet during the last several years, but they nevertheless committed to a donation of $500 to the LOM Annual Fund at the conclusion of their retreat (and I didn't even twist anyone's arm!). One of the great things about where we are now as an organization is that LOM can serve camps and retreat centers in these kinds of ways. If you are interested in LOM providing a similar experience in your context, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
LOM is about to move into a new strategic planning process!. We've been on the current strategic plan since 2013, and given the promise and optimism sweeping over LOM because of the renewed confidence in what we can all do for each other by providing for each other through LOM what is difficult to provide on our own. So the LOM Board has decided that this is a strategically good time for the next phase of strategic planning. We'll be working with Evan Moilan of Gronlund, Sayther, Brunkow (GSB) as our consultant. The Planning Team consists of: Deanna Christensen, Board member and chair of the Planning Team; Russ Senti, recording secretary; Rev. Angel Marrero, Board member; Rev Tim Taylor; Heather Eggert; Joel Abenth; Rev. Nikki Fielder; Don Johnson, LOM executive director The first meeting will be on May 26 by video conference. We expect to have a draft strategic plan ready to review with everyone at the LOM Annual Conference from November 7-11, at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Nebraska (registration will go live on the LOM website by September 1). Please feel free to contact any of the Planning Team members with ideas you have for LOM during the next few years.
Another great idea keeps popping up in many of the conversations I have with LOM's individual members throughout the network - an LOM administered and organized interim executive director program. We're getting much closer to LOM being in a position to activate this idea. On June 28, at Churchwide Office in Chicago, a planning group will be meeting to make decisions regarding how we will be able to move forward with this initiative in the very near future. Included will be a plan for Interim Executive Director training so we can have a cohort of prospective interim executive directors, fully trained in a program tailored specifically for serving as interims in outdoor ministry organizations, ready to explore the possibility with organizations in transition. The planning group for this initiative will include: Rev. Meggan Manlove of the LOM Board, Jerry Olstad who has served as an interim executive director on a few occasions, Kathy Haueisen, a retired executive director who served in a few outdoor ministry organizations, Mark Burkhardt of the LOM Board, who needs no introduction in these circles, Rev. Gordon Straw, ELCA churchwide staff who relates to interim ministry, Bill Slocumb, my conterpart who serves the Episcopal Camps and Conferences, and John Czarnota, a seasoned veteran of interim ministry training.
Mar-Lu-Ridge Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center in Jefferson, MD, will be inviting their campers and staff this summer into an opportunity to support the work of LOM as we provide support to outdoor ministries experiencing times of difficulty or crisis. The description of this program, provided by Sarah Lefler, executive director of Mar-Lu-Ridge, is attached here. Thank you, Sarah and everyone at Mar-Lu-Ridge, for this great way of supporting future ministry opportunities for LOM!
And finally, for this email anyway, one possibility for those of you still looking to fill summer camp staff positions. I have recently been contacted by a student at Morgan State University and serving there in the office of the Chaplain. Her name is Lori Ann Christian and I met her when we were having an LOM summer staff recruiting event at Morgan State. She just now has arrived at a point where she would be able to serve in leadership at one of our LOM camps or retreat centers. Her resume and cover letter are attached.
Here's wishing you all the best in these very full days of great expectation.