Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Summer camps’ new names signify other changes too


July 2-6, Camp Egan, LEAD for high-schoolers. July 16-20, Canyon Camp, LEAD for middle-schoolers.
A new approach to youth leadership camps begins this summer in the Oklahoma Conference. The change starts with their names: LEAD.
The redesigned camps will focus on creating young leaders with unique, measurable skills that will help them to directly serve in their churches, in camp ministry, and Conference-wide programs.
For many years, middle- and high-school students have had the opportunity to participate in leadership camps specifically tailored to their ages. Those events were called CYME and JEM.
“In the past few years, those acronyms have lost their meaning. Not many people could really say what either of them stood for,” said Derrek Belase, director of Discipleship.  
Those camps have been a partnership between several Conference entities: Discipleship, Camp and Retreat Ministries, and the Council on Youth Ministry (CCYM).
The new name of LEAD for the two camps will include taglines related to grade in school — senior high and middle school.
That rebranding is not the only change.
According to Camps Director Ed Parker, “We are refocusing the curriculum and delivery system as well. The names alone are more descriptive and clear.”
Another noticeable change will be curriculum that bands together the camps for continuing growth in youth leadership skills. The focus also will be on experiential learning rather than a more academic, lecture-focused environment.
“We hope to utilize the features of our camp sites as we develop this new model,” said Parker. He spoke of incorporating the various Camps’ challenge courses, such as the ropes at Cross Point beside Lake Texoma. Additionally, the nature settings provide an ideal “incubator” for testing and developing a variety of skills.
A roundtable discussion with Conference leaders last fall helped refocus the work of these two camps on what good leaders say and do, Belase explained.
“We want concrete outcomes that are measurable and observable.”
The leaders of CCYM have overwhelmingly approved the name change, according to Adam Brinson and Madison Boyle, who co-chair that organization.
One thing that will not change is the goal to create young leaders for Oklahoma’s churches, “and not just clergy leaders,” Belase emphasized, “but strong lay leaders who transform the world.”
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