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Welcome to the Outdoor Ministries Institute

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Group photo taken at the 2016 Connections national camping conference. It was at this conference that Mat Whynott and Joe Richards began their dream of the Outdoor Ministries Institute.

United Church outdoor ministries are the largest faith-based camping organization in Canada. Our 54 outdoor ministries nurture the spiritual growth of well over 15,000 children and youth every year. But only a few outdoor ministries have full-time, year-round staff, and there have been few opportunities for leadership and networking.

Mat Whynott, Executive Director of Sherbrooke Lake Camp in Nova Scotia, and Joe Richards, Executive Director at Pearce Williams Christian Centre in Ontario, brought their energy and enthusiasm for outdoor ministries to a new project that would create opportunities to work collaboratively in a connection network for United Church of Canada camps, education centres, and retreat centres. The goal of the Outdoor Ministries Institute is to provide access to resources that will help outdoor ministries grow and shine.

The Outdoor Ministries Institute is funded by the Mission & Service of The United Church of Canada through a grant from the Embracing the Spirit program, which is enthusiastically and generously supported by the people of The United Church of Canada through their Mission & Service giving.

In the past year, the Outdoor Ministries Institute has brought together staff and volunteers from over 30 outdoor ministries, gathering by video conference to discuss how to grow the Institute, as well as facilitating conversations about practical issues faced by many outdoor ministries, such as engaging with parents, welcoming campers, and training staff. Supporting outdoor ministries in this way provides opportunities for conversation, collaboration, and stronger partnerships.

If you’re interested in participating in the Institute’s monthly video conference calls on a variety of topics and group discussions, please visit www.wearecamp.ca or follow the Outdoor Ministries Institute on Facebook.