Iowa Conference Camping and Retreat Ministries Thrive under Johnson's leadership

Iowa Conference Camping and Retreat Ministries Thrive under Johnson's leadership

December 21, 2022

After 20 years in the camping program, the Iowa Conference announces the resignation of Bryan Johnson. Johnson has served as the Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries since 2016. His last day will be December 30, 2022.

“My first position with Iowa United Methodist Camps was as a Summer Staff member in 2002,” said Johnson. “I’ve been blessed to serve as a seasonal staff member, Program Coordinator, Site Director, and now as the Director of Camps for Iowa. So much of who I am today is a direct result of the Iowa Camping Ministry and the leaders who came before me. In addition to faith development that happens at every camp event, I grew both as a leader and as a person. I’ve made so many lifelong friends and experienced the excitement that occurs when others are able to do the same.”

Under Johnson’s leadership, the camping and retreat ministries of the Iowa Conference have grown with increased participation. Currently, registration at Iowa Camps is up 15% from this time last year, and some events are already at capacity. In the previous six years, Iowa Camps have retired debt, tackled deferred maintenance, and identified $4.5 million of new resources to help the camping ministry become self-sustaining in an era of changing apportionment funding.

“It has been a personal and professional joy to move the Iowa Camping Ministry from a challenging spot to a place of strength for the United Methodist Church. When I look back at what we accomplished over the last six years, I am humbled. While this is the end of my journey as an Iowa Conference employee, I have faith in the tremendous team of leaders at Okoboji and Wesley Woods and the structure we’ve implemented so that Iowa Camps will continue to grow and thrive. At the heart of that structure is telling the story of how camp changes lives. It’s one of the things that I believe Iowa should be most proud of as an Annual Conference. I can’t say thank you enough to the many people who help make this important ministry succeed,” said Johnson.

Thanks to Johnson’s dedication, Wesley Woods and Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camping and Retreat Centers will build on a solid foundation and are in a place of long-term development that will ensure Iowa youth will have Christian camping programs in their futures.

“We have the ability to financially support any young person coming to camp. We have the ability to support churches that need help sponsoring their youth. We can make a difference by trusting one another and working together. Iowa Camps are proof that our relationships really do matter," said Johnson. "I look forward to continuing to support Iowa Camps from a new vantage point."