Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Exploration Transition Team Update

You may be aware that 2016 is a transition year for Camp Greenwood.  This gives opportunity for much confusion.  So let me clarify a few things.

First, Camp Greenwood is open and operating in 2016 under the leadership of Suzanne Bates, Director of Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake.  We have a covenant agreement for the collaboration of the two camps for 2016.  The two camps are sharing one full time support person, we are utilizing their online registration platform.  We look forward to a good summer camp season.  Registrations are already up from this time last year.

Second, the Presbytery of Lake Michigan will NOT be operating the camp in 2017.  Due to camp financial deficits in 2014, the Presbytery Leadership Team in early 2015 appointed a task force, which studied the camp's operations, and engaged Sessions, Presbytery Ministry Teams and the Presbytery at table conversations at a Presbytery meeting concerning four potential future scenarios for Camp Greenwood.  They reported to the Leadership Team in December a consensus that the status quo was not acceptable.  The Leadership Team approved the Task Force's recommendation.  A new Exploration Transition Team was appointed to explore the interest of congregations and individuals who may want to form and financially support a corporation to develop and manage the camp independent of the Presbytery, and to explore possible mergers and collaborations with other camp(s).

Third, an Exploration Transition Team has formed and has been working.  Serving on the team are Amy Henson-Bohlen (First, Sturgis) and Mike Noteboom (First, Kalamazoo), both members of the Greenwood Agency, and Brian Koon (First, Lansing) and Rev. Barrett Lee (North, Kalamazoo) who are members of the Leadership Team.  I am convener of the team.  The team has met five times so far-- once with George Hunsberger for orientation, twice with Brian Frick, Presbytery Mission Agency Associate for Camps and Conferences, twice with leaders of the Howell Nature Center, a newly incorporated camp of Detroit Presbytery, and with the Presbytery Trustees (Budget and Finance Committee).  We have been in communication with Camp Henry,  Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake, the Howell Nature Center, the Michigan Land Conservancy, and are reaching out to Alma College to explore creative collaborations.  We have also received an overture from the Greenwood Ministry Association, a group in formation, which seeks to incorporate to develop the ministries and operate of the camp in a new way in 2017 in collaboration with Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake.

Lastly, the Exploration Transition Team does not know what the future holds.  But the Leadership Team and the Budget and Finance Committee, which serves as the Trustees of the Presbytery, have made clear, the Presbytery will not be financially underwriting or operating the camp in 2017.  Other creative collaborations and options are being explored.  BUT, please note that no determination has yet been made on these scenarios being explored.  If you or your Session have interest in funding a future camping plan, please contact me, one of the Exploration Transition Team members listed above or Barb Tornholm, contact person for the Greenwood Ministry Association.  Time is of the essence.  It is our charge to present the Leadership Team with a preliminary proposal to be shared with the Presbytery at its September 17th meeting for review and comment.  After receiving input through the fall, it is our intention to provide the Leadership Team with a proposal for consideration at the December 6th Presbytery meeting.   Whatever plan Presbytery approves at that meeting will then be put into action.

Please keep the Exploration Transition Team and those who care deeply about this matter in your prayers.

Exploration Transition Team:
John Best,
J. Barrett Lee,
Brian Koon,
Amy Henson-Bohlen,
Mike Noteboom,

Organizer for Greenwood Ministries Association:
Barb Tornholm, btornholm@sbcglobal,net