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The Bulletin - Summer 2021
The Encouragement Circle (TEC) seeks to unite individuals who have demonstrated leadership, a high level of involvement, and a passion for the ministry of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. We aim to offer fellowship and updates to its participants and provide opportunities to help support and encourage the current leaders of the Christian Camp and Conference Association.
Twice a year TEC sends The Encourager to keep everyone updated on events in the world of CCCA and beyond. We also hope to provide insights into a few of the members and fun facts about our shared heritage.
These newsletters are designed to keep the TEC community connected between Zoom calls which we plan for January and September each year.
Thanks for your years of service and for continuing to support the great work of CCCA. If you have a story to tell, a little-known fact to share, or an encouraging word to offer, please feel free to send submissions to Lori Price or post to our new Facebook Group Page (more details below)
Center Stage with Brian Ogne
by Dan Bolin
Throw back to 1993: Brian Ogne, Bob Kobielush & Dan Bolin
My recent phone conversation with Brian Ogne was like a year with an extra Christmas! As we talked, he delivered gifts of joy and encouragement while he unpacked delightful stories from yesteryear and today! Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation.
Brian and Barb remain deeply committed to their three children and innumerable grandchildren and great grandchildren! Their extended family is quite extended; they live several hours away, their two sons in Minnesota and their daughter in Missouri. They stay connected through frequent visits as well as phone and Zoom conversations!
Timber-Lee, where Brian spent most of his Christian camping career, is under new ownership and Brian is excited that the property was not sold to a developer and sees the new owners ensuring that the ministry continues, expands, and improves in the years ahead. Brian said, “This will be a first-class camping ministry.”
Brian reminisced about his early life as an IRS tax-collector and how his uncle, Carl Weir, an evangelist, invited him to come to Willow Bay as the assistant director of camping. That invitation redirected him from tax-collecting to decades of leadership in Christian camping.
Stories of Brian’s service on the CCCA (CCI/USA) Board and his leadership of CCI/Worldwide were delightful. He shared about the time he, Bob Kobielush, Fred Miller, and I rendezvoused in Colorado Springs and visited numerous possible office buildings that might become home to CCCA. God opened the door for CCCA to buy the site the association still calls home.
While on a CCI/Worldwide trip to New Zealand with Bob Kobielish and me, we were lost in a borrowed car driving through the gorgeous city of Wellington. Lost, driving on the lefthand side, and with the sun going down a young police officer pulled us over. His opening question was, “Have you gentlemen had too much to drink today?” to which Brian replied, “No sir, we are Americans! We are just trying to find a place to eat dinner!” That explained our erratic driving and the helpful officer led us through town to a wonderful, harbor-front restaurant. So many great memories!
Brian and Barb continue to be deeply involved in their church and community. They remain engaged in Wednesday evening prayer meetings, choir, and Sunday services. Brian has recently handed the reigns of his Prime-Time Sunday school class to a new leader after 17 years.
When I asked Brian what advice he would give himself if he could go back 50 years and talk to the young Brian Ogne he quickly and confidently replied, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.
We all stand on the shoulders of Brian and so many others who have gone before us! Thank you for your leadership, service, and godly example!
Center Stage with Gregg Hunter
by Stan White
We’re honored to be able to pull back the curtain with Gregg Hunter, our association’s CEO, to get a long view of things before us. We hope it gives you some insight on how to pray more precisely for Gregg, both professionally and personally, and for CCCA as it moves forward maximizing the ministry of our member camps and conferences.
In your years as president of CCCA, what are the exciting trends you're seeing in our industry? What are the concerning trends?
Over the last several years, I’ve noticed an increasing trend toward professionalism among member camps. Specifically, I see more camps learning from business and pursuing solid business practices as a basis for excellent ministry. From board training to continuous quality improvement to solid marketing strategies, camps are using best practices of business to ensure the success and sustainability of their ministries.
I’m concerned about any trend that causes division in the church, or that pits the culture against Christian ministries. Social and cultural trends pose that type of threat. I know that years ago, under the leadership of my predecessor Bob Kobielush, CCCA (then CCI-USA) asserted its desire to stay true to the fundamentals of the Christian faith while recognizing that members may vary in some particulars of their denomination or faith tradition. Our statement of faith remains solid and unchanged today. (See https://www.ccca.org/ccca/Vision,_Mission,_Values.asp.)
The team is also watching the trend toward experiences – including experiential learning and recreation as well as the research around time in nature and the benefits to mental health and well-being.
When you look into the crystal ball to 2033, what do you think our member camps will be in the thick of? Why?
I believe that 10 years from now, Christian camping will be at the center of a spiritual renewal in our country and around the world. At a recent CCCA staff retreat we shared many stories of changed lives that God reached through camping ministry. Overlaying these stories on the approximately 7 million campers and guests who attend CCCA member camps each year, one can see that the potential for widespread impact is tremendous. We believe one of the most important things we can do as an association is to raise the awareness of, and esteem for, the Christian camp experience, and we are committed to doing that. As we work to gain a seat at the table for important conversations about youth evangelism, camp will gain greater mindshare among Christian leaders and influencers, and more will seek a camp experience for their children, for their youth groups, for kids at risk. We believe God loves camp, as it is the most effective tool on the planet for introducing people, young and old, to Him.
As research continues to point the challenges of local churches connecting to the unchurched, unbelieving world, especially teens, I believe Christian camps provide one significant answer to that challenge. In the next 10 years I think we will find that to be more and more true.
Could we get a sneak peek into how the Association could be responding/leading our member camps into staying ahead of the curve? If so, what are some possible initiatives you are considering?
Our best approach toward maximizing ministry for our members is to execute on our strategic plan. Every year, we seek input from the CCCA Board, which represents each region of membership across the U.S., on our current plan, and what we should consider adding, increasing or stopping. Currently, our plan is crafted under the banner of Sustainability, with two initiatives leading the way: Thriving Ministry and The Power of Camp. Each of these initiatives has four elements that contain measurable goals for delivering ministry impact to members. We just completed the phase of developing the plan that involved harvesting board input. Over the next few months, the CCCA team will consider the best ways to incorporate board feedback into our updated Strategic Plan. We all agree that the most pressing need for camps across the country is recruiting staff – both for summer and year-round positions. It is the top priority for us at CCCA, and if we are blessed with a grant for which we have applied, we’ll be able to triple our efforts in this area. See #2 for some of the trends we are tracking and crafting programs, products and services around.
On a personal front, tell us about your favorite hobbies for you personally and what you and Penny love to do together.
I love to be in the outdoors. Hiking, hunting, fishing, or just driving through the mountains of Colorado – each one ministers to my soul. It’s been a busy season, but Penny and I look forward to getting back to our daily walks/hikes in our neighborhood. That has been a healing and nourishing discipline. This is also a season in which Penny and I are blessed to be walking through life with the families of our two adult sons. They both live very close to us, and we see them weekly, if not daily. We try to lean into the things our family members love so that takes us into adventurous territory like falconry, earth dog trials (you have to Google it!), musical theater, film and TV production and dressage. We’re always learning.
CCI's Global Gathering
Over 180 Christian camping leaders from 30 countries around the world gathered in Netherlands for CCI’s Global Gathering in Late April and early May. Meetings like this normally convened every three or four years, but due to COVID, the Gathering scheduled for Australia in 2020 was cancelled.
This delay heightened the anticipation for many to rekindle old friendships and created opportunities for new leaders to take a seat at the worldwide table. Many first-time participants from Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as Europe and North America joined the party with seasoned veterans of Christian Camping International.
Cultures, languages, customs, from around the world collaborated to create a unique, powerful, and significant moment in the history of Christian camping. General sessions were inspiring, seminars were informative and challenging, conversations enlightening, and worship energetic.
Paul Moses, a world renowned, retired cricket player from India, and now an outstanding Bible teacher shared God’s Word in daily general sessions. The sessions were challenging, biblical, authentic, and inspiring. The solid biblical teaching could be applied to people in any part of the world.
Each continent took turns leading worship with their own style and exuberance. About the worship, Diane Schnickels said, “It was exciting to see the different worship styles from each continent. It was like a slice of heaven each evening.” Each group had their style of dancing and motions.
Seminars provided opportunities to dive deeper into topics of mutual concern for all the participants. Rob Ribbe, Dave Frank, Muhia Karianjahi, Penny Hunter, Ray Schnickels, and many more shared insights and helpful ministry techniques.
Mealtimes provided wonderful opportunities to engage with leaders from around the world. Ray Schnickels said, “Sharing meals, and hearing first-hand what God is doing around the world was very inspiring. It was helpful to remember that people make huge sacrifices and take great risks to lead Christian camps in other parts of the world”. Ray went on, “Political, and regional differences were set aside, and we were all brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Gregg Hunter serves as the chairman of the board of CCI-Worldwide. He said, “It was a huge blessing; I had an opportunity to meet face-to-face with amazing leaders I had met only on Zoom. Over meals and coffee, we had the amazing privilege of sharing ideas and encouragement with Christian camping leaders around the globe. Never before have so many Christian camping leaders from so many countries gathered to share ideas and dream about what God might do through this ministry.”
The event was not without drama. Many hopeful participants were unable to gain the required visas to enter the Netherlands. Several Christian camping leaders who wanted to attend from Africa, Asia, and Latin America were unable to join. One participant experienced a serious medical problem requiring two visits to the hospital. The other guests took an impromptu offering and raised enough money to cover his medical expenses.
"All work and no play makes a dull conference." The timing was perfect for the group to visit Kerkenhof (along with thousands of other guests from around the world) to see a dazzling and immense array of exquisite Dutch tulips. The colors of the rainbow blended into a spectacular and memorable display.
Bill Fernald made a presentation during the final session. The onboarding into his new role as CEO of CCI-Worldwide, finished the Gathering and he took the baton (literally and figuratively) from Norman Doney from the UK, the outgoing CEO. Bill Fernald said, “The Global Gathering was perfectly timed for me to meet the Christian camping leaders from around the world, hear what God is doing first-hand, and to be inspired by the great work that is expanding around the world”.
After the final session people just stayed and talked, took photos, and no one wanted the Gathering to end.
Please pray for the leaders of Christian camps around the world and for the long-term impact of this Global Gathering.
We have created a private Facebook Group for the use of our members. Click the link to join!
Purpose / Use:
Stay connected with each other in Christian Camping
Encourage people in Christian Camping
Not a place to sell services or resources.
A place to pray for each other.
Click the link below to access our current membership list. If you would like a more detailed contact list of our membership, please contact Lori Price. We ask that all membership information be used solely for the purpose of personal communication and not to be used for other mailing lists or promotional purposes.
Feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested in joining TEC.