The Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) is bringing United Camps, Conferences and Retreats in to provide management services for Pilgrim Hills Camp & Conference Center, located in Brinkhaven, Ohio. Organized as a cooperative, UCCR provides accounting, marketing, human resources, facility operations, and other administrative oversight. One of the changes is that the staff at Pilgrim Hills will be employees of UCCR.
One of the greatest values to this partnership and the model for cooperative services in the camp and conference industry is the collegial support for camp site directors and staff. The staff at Pilgrim Hills will join an existing team of camp management professionals who understand the challenges and benefits of working in a camp setting year round and can provide mutual support related to the vocation.
Another asset is engaging UCCR’s core competency of camp property management.
Camp and conference property management is a unique and specialized field. It is more than infrastructure of water systems, lighting, and food service. Building strong and enduring relationships with the myriad of groups that are served as well as understanding the nature of camp and retreat program needs is essential to how an atmosphere of partnership is created. Owner groups, like the UCC in Ohio, and other program providers, should be able to come into a camp and conference site and focus on their program without worrying about if the bathrooms are working or the kitchen staff is going into overtime.
Phil Hart, Interim Conference Minister for the UCC Ohio Conference, said, "The Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ is excited about our collaboration with United Camps, Conferences and Retreats. The experience and expertise they bring to our Conference in camp management will greatly benefit us and allow us to focus on creating and maintaining wonderful camping experiences for our churches. We look forward to this new chapter with both of our organizations and believe great things will come from our work together."
UCCR currently manages eight camp and conference facilities and two California State Parks, including sites owned by the Southern California-Nevada and Northern California-Nevada Conferences of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Hart knew of UCCR when he served the Northern California Conference and made the initial contact with UCCR’s President Mike Carr.
UCCR is set to begin management at Pilgrim Hills on September 1, 2014.