Geneva Cook Named Camp and Retreat Ministries Accountant

by Todd Bartlett

Camp and Retreat Ministries is pleased to announce that Geneva Cook, who has been the registrar for 21 years, has been hired as the accountant for Camp and Retreat Ministries. Geneva has served with five executive directors during her time as the registrar. She has supported tens of thousands of campers and retreatants, assisted countless parents with their questions, worked with many volunteers and dozens of site directors.

At the end of August Janice Repin completed her work with us as the accountant for Camp and Retreat Ministries. After a search with very specific parameters in mind, we focused on two persons whom we believed would contribute to the mission of this ministry well. Out of that process Geneva was hired. Some of the skills we were looking for were: organization, attention to detail, knowledge of our sites and our staff and the software programs that we use, as well as a deep love for Camp and Retreat Ministries. Geneva has demonstrated all of this in her role as the registrar. Her love for the ministry began as a camper in her childhood and has remained strong throughout her life.

This staff position is a key bridge between Camp and Retreat Ministries and the Oregon-Idaho Conference Office of Finance and Administration because the Conference Treasurer is also the treasurer for Camp and Retreat Ministries. This means that Geneva will work closely with: Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer; Sandra Reinemer, Assistant Treasurer/Controller; Lisa Pronovost, Human Resources; Andrea Cooper, Accounts Receivable. Geneva becomes the link between these staff and all of the site directors, the executive director, Todd Bartlett, and our donor relations staff member Eric Conklin.

When you have the opportunity please send a note to Geneva to wish her well in this new role.  She can be reached at

Update on Fires from a Camp and Retreat Perspective

by Eric Conklin

Photo of the Eagle Creek Fire taken from the Washington side of the Bonneville Dam area on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Photo by Tristan Fortsch)?

We all have that sacred space in our minds that we go to in our need of spiritual refill. For many of us this place is a camp or retreat facility.

If we close our eyes, we can smell the musty cabins and pine tree pollen; we can hear lively songs around a warm campfire; we can feel our hearts race as we prepare to jump in the cool water for the first time; we can hear echoes of conversations with God and about God.

Now, imagine that this place is in danger of being enveloped by a raging forest fire.

For people who hold Suttle Lake Camp dear to their heart, the memories of the 90,000 acre B & B Complex fire, which surrounded the camp with intense flame in 2003, and the thoughts of what might have been, are haunting. Evidence of that fire's impact can still be seen on Highway 20 from Salem and from the ridge trail on the camp's hillside.

Currently the Milli Fire, about 9 miles west of Sisters, OR is the fire closest to any Camp and Retreat Ministries facilities, about 10 miles directly south of Suttle Lake Camp - the smoke and nearby evacuations sparking memories of that 2003 event. In mid-August, the risk was high, particularly for those closer to Sisters and Black Butte Ranch. A Suttle Lake volunteer who lives in the Black Butte Ranch area kept his friends informed regarding their personal safety and status of their home throughout that tense time. The outlook is much better now as the 24,000 acre fire is 60% contained and waning in its strength.

A large portion of the Gorge along the Columbia River remains ablaze, with the Eagle Creek Fire still threatening homes and wildlife. Menucha, a ministry of Portland First Presbyterian Church, is a retreat facility in Corbett, OR, 10 miles west of the 37,000 acre fire. On September 5, Menucha staff, along with the city of Corbett, were notified of a Level 3 evacuation, which means "Go! Leave for safety right now". This is stressful to a retreat staff for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, as of yesterday, that evacuation notice was reduced to Level 2, which simply means, "Get Set! Be Ready to Leave". The staff have returned and, as the fire seems to have slowed its westward journey, are cautiously returning to their "normal" activity.

There are several other fires in the region of which to be aware. (check out this very helpful interactive fire map produced by The Oregonian: Hint: zoom in on the red circle markers to see the acreage outline of the fires).

We are grateful for the many people who have offered their lives to containing these fires and that our Camp and Retreat facilities and most of our sister program sites are not in imminent danger at the moment. However, we are mindful and prayerful for those whose property, lives, and livelihoods are still under threat of destruction.

Be Alert to Future Job Announcements

Considering the pending retirement of Dave Hargreaves from Sawtooth, and the above change in position for Geneva Cook, Camp and Retreat Ministries will soon be putting out a employment notices for a Sawtooth Camp site director and a registrar for Camp and Retreat Ministries. If you know of anyone who might be interested in either of these openings, let them know to start preparing their resumes and that more details will be coming out!


Go Camping E-News is a publication of Camp and Retreat Ministries, a collaboration of the OR-ID Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.

1505 SW 18th Ave
Portland, OR 97201