by Mike Little of Crestfield Camp and Conference Center (Slippery Rock, PA)
Heartland Center in Kansas City, Missouri graciously and wonderfully hosted this year’s Maintenance Connection at the end of January. Sixteen camp and conference centers from the United States and Canada were represented this year, all of whose ministries will certainly be blessed.
We toured both Heartland and the Hollis Renewal Center (Lutheran). There we learned how other camps may do things differently (or the same) and get new perspectives including a no fee or suggested donation billing system like they have at Hollis. Also, we toured the local Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant and dealership. No, they don’t give you a free one for touring even though we asked nicely.
There were “hands on” demonstrations and installations for super polymer insulated siding and ceramic tiling. The week was filled with discussions including but not limited to: alternative energy, working with volunteers, roofing, high efficiency boilers, carpeting and flooring, solar energy, trail maintenance and much more. During one session, we broke into groups and had discussions with the staff at Heartland about their particular departments - directing, programming, hospitality, and maintenance.
Of course there was fun, rest, and vespers. Thursday afternoon we went to a World War I Museum and had world famous BBQ from Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. Many evenings were spent in conversations about our camps and catching up with friends. Even a game of Class Struggle broke out one evening. All Hail Mitch from Canada - eh! Each evening concluded with reflection and a bible study led by one of the Heartland staff members.
Thanks to Dan, Michael, Luke, Emma, and the interns at Heartland for making this a successful event. The 2018 Maintenance Connection will be held at St. Columba Episcopal Conference and Retreat Center in Memphis, TN. See you then!