Part I: New Staff In August of 2023, Camp Concordia will add a new year-round staff position, the Director of Programs. God has answered prayers by leading Ayla Kennedy from Carmel, Indiana, to this position! Ayla received her BS degree from Purdue in Psychology and Biology. Ayla has experience as a summer ministry staff and intern for Camp Lakeview, an LCMS camp in southern Indiana. She is very excited to finish her camp season at Camp Lakeview so that she can hit the ground running here in Michigan.
But wait, there’s more! In 2014, when Craig (Executive Director) and Mary Oldenburg came to Camp Concordia, Mary began to support the camp as registrar. Over time, as the board of directors discovered her abilities with organization and implementation, she expanded her duties to include (at various times) Assistant Camp Director, financial bookkeeper, donor relations, registrar, and executive assistant to Camp Concordia’s Executive Director. This fall, she will begin to transfer her roles and knowledge to a new year-round staff position, the Director of Operations. Sam Schmidt, from Seymour, Indiana, will be Camp Concordia's Director of Operations beginning in August. Sam graduated from Hanover College with BA in theology, mathematics, and computer science. Sam has experience as a summer ministry staff member at Camp Lakeview. As Director of Operations, Sam will also oversee the camp facilities.
The Oldenburgs and the Board of Directors are excited to welcome two promising and ambitious new camp ministry leaders to Concordia! The new division of responsibilities among the Director of Programs, the Director of Operations, and the Executive Director allows the Executive Director position to focus more on strategic planning and oversight of the ministry at Camp Concordia. Much prayer and discernment has taken place over the last two years, and especially in the last several months, as these positions took shape. Please join us in praising God for his provision of Ayla and Sam to Camp Concordia and for the campers and families that will be blessed through their ministry!
Part II: Changing Roles and a Search As implied in the title of this article, changes are coming.
The Oldenburgs, having faithfully served Camp Concordia since April 2014, are ready to begin the process of finishing their time as leaders of the camp, and they each desire that any staff changes keep Camp Concordia a strong children's ministry supporting families and congregations. To ensure this happens, Craig will continue in the Executive Director role as the Board of Directors begins its search for a new Executive Director. Craig and Mary will coach Ayla and Sam in their new roles, provide the Board with essential camp information, and pray for the process. Once the Board selects a new Executive Director, Craig will graciously step into retirement (and yet stay available for the urgent questions that inevitably will come up).
For some historical perspective, in 1957, Camp Concordia was formed by a group of dedicated men and women who foresaw the need for this kind of ministry in west Michigan. They saw the need to be a strong children’s ministry. The ministry quickly began reaching out to youth and their leaders from areas around Detroit, Northern Indiana, and Chicago. The ministry went through many transitions - even for a while trying to compete with the large non-denominational camps in Michigan and trying to focus on being an adult public campground. However, Camp Concordia has found its home in being a strong advocate for the conservative Christian values of the LCMS as a children’s ministry.
Over the last decade, Camp Concordia has become a premier children’s ministry in the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and established itself as an important support to parents and church leaders who care that kids grow up with a faith in Jesus Christ. The camp is currently staged for a new shower house and additional property improvements which will expand usage into the fall. Camp Concordia is also striving to open its doors to outdoor education in cooperation with our Lutheran schools, to support the faith formation process for children and youth.
In 2023, Camp Concordia is ready for the next step forward as the Board of Directors begins a search for the next Executive Director. If you or someone you know could take a lead in carrying on the vision of Camp Concordia, be an incredible advocate for what currently exists, advance camp through development skills, and be a strong support to the parents and church leaders working hard to pass on the faith in Jesus Christ, please email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org so that the Board can provide the job description and qualifications. Preferably, candidates are rostered LCMS workers and/or an active member of an LCMS congregation. We continue to seek the LORD’s guidance as Camp Concordia moves into this next chapter in its ministry of providing opportunities for children, youth, and families to encounter Christ in the midst of God’s creation!