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Center Stage with Jeff Carlsen
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 Jeff Carlsen
by Steve Altick
Jeff Carlsen is probably best known for his 26 years at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center, first as Program Director in 1983, then Executive Director in 1996. Jeff retired from his Executive Director position and became the Development Director heading up a major project of building a new dining facility, just recently completed.
Jeff’s introduction to Christian camping began in 1973 at Mount Hermon in California as a summer staff counselor, he then worked as summer staff at Sambica in Washington. In 1975 he became the full time Program Director at Sambica until 1983 when he moved to Cannon Beach as the Program Director.
Jeff’s wife, Jean, has been a partner in ministry throughout their career, and their son and daughter are both involved in full-time ministry. Jeff has been active in global CCI ministry beginning with a partnership between CBCC and Latin American camps. His son works with camp outreaches in Costa Rica.
Jeff lists the highlights of his career as seeing God change lives, working with young people, and seeing the growth of Cannon Beach in numbers and expansion of facilities. He has been named Director Emeritus at Cannon Beach and will continue to be connected with the ministry in the area of fundraising. He and Jean hope to continue to visit Costa Rica to see their son’s family. Currently, Jeff is an Elder in his church and on the board of a nonprofit ministry to the homeless and mentally ill.
When I caught up with Jeff, he and Jean were visiting Yellowstone Park and visiting friends along the way. So if you add the years, Jeff Carlsen is approaching fifty years as part of our Christian Camping family.
Well done Jeff!
Center Stage with Dave Auker
by Dan Bolin
Dave Auker has been involved in Christian camping for over 50 years. He served at Camp Shamineau in Minnesota for 26 of those years and made stops at Timber-Lee, Covenant Harbor, and Harbor Point Ministries along the way.
In 2016 Dave ended his formal involvement in Christian camping but continues to help whenever opportunities arise. I recently talked to Dave and explored his more than five decades of camp ministry.
What are you doing these days? And how are you staying involved in Christian camping?
I’m enjoying being retired and working at a little slower pace. I don’t have any formal role but love to help out and volunteer as needed. My daughter and son-in-law both work part-time at camp. And now my granddaughter is helping out on staff too.
What are your most fond memories of your involvement in CCCA?
Wow! There are so many. It was an honor and privilege to serve as chairman of the CCCA Board. I learned so much! There was great camaraderie! I don’t know where I’d be without my involvement in CCCA. If I had to pick one moment it would probably be the Tinning Symposium at Glorietta in about 1998. That was a wonderful time of learning, sharing, deepening relationships, and being inspired by the people around that table.
I was privileged to speak at the CCI-Brazil conference in about 2001. That was a highlight. We had some wonderful discussions, not about the program or operations of camp, but about the ‘why’ of camp. I loved the opportunity to see Christian camping at work outside the USA and share with them the common philosophy that makes camp such a powerful ministry.
Who were some people who influenced you the most and shaped your camp ministry? What did they do to help you along the way?
That would be a very long list! There were so many people who made an impact on me and influenced my time in Christian camping. I’m sure I’ll leave out a lot of people, but Lee Kingslee and Bill Guinn were both big influences in the early day. Stephen Holbrook taught me a lot about management and decision making! John Pearson, Bob Kobielush, Stan White, and so many more shared their knowledge with me! The list could go on and on!
What changes have you seen in Christian camping since your start in 1970?
Well, just about everything – except the mission! Back then, it was easy to get people involved. Everything was much less complicated. Today people have so many choices; camps must innovate or die. That is a big challenge. Running a camp requires a lot more expertise today than it did back then.
If you could go back 50 years, what advice would you give to a young Dave Auker starting out in camp ministry?
I’d say, hire your development officer before your program director! You cannot do it all by yourself! If you try, you will wear yourself out and hurt your family in the process. And I’d tell him, you will never find a better way to serve the Lord. It will be tough at times but always rewarding!
Thank you, Dave, for a lifetime of dedication to the Lord through Christian camping!
by Sue Nigh
A sneak peak of the upcoming CCCA national conference with Gregg Hunter
After not being able to meet in person for a national conference since 2019, the importance of gathering for fellowship, learning, and inspiration has never been clearer.
“Online is great and has sustained us, but there is nothing like being together in a room with people who know you and get you,” says Gregg Hunter, president of CCCA, “and this is why the theme “Together” is so important to us.”
The “Together” conference will be held at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, North Caroline, December 5-8, 2022. What is Gregg looking forward to the most? He shares, “My favorite part of every national conference is opening night worship. This is when hundreds of Jesus followers from across the country and even other parts of the world, come together – we put our various backgrounds and faith traditions aside – and together, we praise Jesus. Hallelujah! We’re in it! We are focused on what matters most, and we get a beautiful glimpse of heaven.” Hunter also looks forward to his second favorite thing, which is connecting with people. While his schedule is usually packed during the conference, Gregg has a room set aside for times to reconnect with people he has met and friends he has made.
Speaking of connecting -- while The Encouragement Circle members may not have an opportunity to formally gather at a national conference until 2023, Gregg suggests that any TEC member in attendance at this year’s conference consider connecting informally either Monday evening or Tuesday during Exhibit Hall hours.
How can TEC members pray for the upcoming conference? Gregg asks that we:
Pray for the health and endurance of the entire CCCA conference team.
Ask the Lord to give strength for the long hours and days as the team prepares for, and serves during, the national conference.
Pray for the entire program to connect with those in attendance.
Lift up the general session speakers and seminar leaders – for God to protect and equip them for ministry, and for them to listen to the Spirit to hear what God wants them to say.
Ask the Lord to open hearts and for the team to offer the best possible conference experience to impact the lives of all attendees.
Gregg and his team are currently in the throes of preparation, so your prayers are both needed and appreciated. The months leading up to the national conference is, for the national office, what May through July is for camp personnel, with the same goal of lives impacted for the glory of God. We are certainly blessed to be part of an association of life-changers who are building the kingdom of God!
Worldwide Director Search
Update by Dan Bolin
Meet Bill Fernald, the new director of CCI-Worldwide.
Bill is a camp guy. He loves Jesus. Loves his family. And loves camp. Bill has invested himself deeply in Christian camping for three decades, primarily at Mount Hermon in California.
As a freshman is college Bill new there was more to life than studying and parties. God intervened in remarkable ways and a group of Christ followers embraced him. Leaders from that band of believers shared with Bill the good news of how to have a relationship with Christ, and that has made all the difference.
One of the members of that small group was Patrice. Bill and Patrice dated for seven years before they married. During those years they worked at Sugar Pine Christian Camps for five summers where Bill developed a deep love for Christian camping.
Early in his career, Bill took a job in the retail world and excelled at it, gaining promotions, and expanding his professional opportunities. But all the while his love for Christian camping was also growing. He declined an amazing promotion and instead took a summer staff position at Mount Hermon. During the summer he was offered an internship at camp. After a few months as an intern, Bill was asked to join the full-time staff of Mount Hermon and coordinate the camp’s guest services.
Bill and Patrice married soon after joining the Mount Hermon staff and their son Landon joined the family about 10 years after. Over the years, Bill’s role expanded and eventually he led the camp’s entire marketing and guest services arena.
One area that challenged Bill was how to connect with and serve the many national minorities living in Northern California. His outreach and engagement with many minority communities led him to appreciate their contributions and to learn from his widening circle of friends.
His connection with believers from around the world, provided opportunities for Bill to visit camping ministries in China, Albania, India, and Ukraine. As his interest in camping expanded and he gained a worldwide perspective, Bill realized he needed more training. He is currently finishing a master’s degree in Global Leadership at Fuller Seminary.
When asked about his goals going forward, Bill didn’t share a long list of specific goals, he simply focused on how he wanted to listen and learn as he starts his engagement. He said, “I want to be an ambassador, sharing what CCI is already doing so well. And I just want to be a genuine friend to my brothers and sisters in Christian camping around the world.”
Norman Doney, interim director of CCI will stay in place through the Global Gathering in the Netherlands this spring. Norman said, “I am thrilled at the appointment of Bill Fernald as CEO of CCI Worldwide and look forward to working together in a time of transition leading into the Global Gathering in 2023.” Bill will begin his new role in February and take the reins fully at the conclusion of the Gathering in May.
Please join in praying for Bill and his family as the Lord redeploys him from a significant role at Mount Hermon to the leadership of CCI Worldwide. For more information please see the CCI Worldwide Announcement.
Do you provide consulting services?
Periodically, The Encouragement Circle receives requests from CCCA member camps for consulting assistance. TEC does not provide consulting services; however, many TEC members serve the Christian camping community as consultants.
To help those seeking these services, TEC is compiling a simple list of its members who offer consulting services whether fee based, expenses only, or entirely pro bono. This list will be shared with any camp ministries that request consulting services.
If you would like to be added to TEC’s list, please submit your information on the brief Consultant Contact form.
I hope this is of help to the CCCA community and to the TEC members.
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.