Board of Directors
Michigan Area United Methodist Camping is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation led by a Board of Directors. At least 60% of the board members are elected by the West Michigan and Detroit conferences of the United Methodist Church. The Board selects no more than 40% of its members.
The nonprofit organization owns and manages nine properties that include camps, campgrounds and retreat centers across Michigan. It was created in 2015 by action of the West Michigan and Detroit Conferences of the United Methodist Church to combine their outdoor and retreat ministries in one state-wide entity.
Joel operates a private consulting firm that provide financial and management services to deficit schools and municipalities. He retired from the State of Michigan after 40 years having served as CFO and Sr. Deputy Dir. of the Department of Military Affairs and worked for the Legislative Auditor General.
Joel’s education includes bachelor’s of science in accountancy from Ferris State College and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and Michigan State University.
He’s a member of Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church and has been active on the local school board and city council. He and his wife Karen have two grown children and one granddaughter. Having been an avid United Methodist camper since since the 1970s, he camps often with his RV at Lakeview and Lake Michigan Camps.
Rev. Paula Timm
Rev. Paula is an Elder in the Detroit Conference, a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary in 1990, and currently serves at Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Howell. She has been strongly involved in United Methodist camping since she was eight years old; progressing from camper to counselor to staff to Dean to Board. Her personal interests and professional experience blend themselves well to service on the Board of Directors.
Michele has been part of United Methodist camping for most of her life through her home church Jackson First. She previously served on the West Michigan Board of Christian Camping during the long-range planning that led to the creation of Michigan Area United Methodist Camping. She lives in Parma and has two adult children and one grandchild.
Rev. Dwayne Bagley, Cabinet Representative
Jim and his wife Julie live in Clarkston and three adult children and five grandchildren. Their years of family camping at Lake Michigan have brought them many fond memories and serve as a “relaxing outlet, a peace of mind, and a gentle closeness with our Lord.” They worship at St. Joseph Catholic Church & School (Lake Orion). His professional experience as an engineer with a MBA has made him highly effective with developing business plans, forecasting and competitive analysis. His motto: Not all who wander are lost.
Rev. Sherry Foster
Rev. Sherry is an ordained deacon of the Detroit Conference (serving at Milford UMC) and a retired high school teacher. She attended church camp as a child, served as camp coordinator for two churches, has been a counselor and dean. She previously served on the DAC Board of Outdoor & Retreat Ministry. Youth and Outdoor/Retreat, as well as travel, ministry have always been her passion. She says, “I feel people can come closer to God out in nature with programs of an extended period of time and guidance.”
Lisa works in nonprofit management. In addition to her MBA and nonprofit experience, she brings to the board her experience as a summer staffer at Camp Kinawind and grew up attending United Methodist camps at Judson Collin and Lake Huron. She lives in Birmingham with her husband Dan and their two teenagers. They attend St. John Episcopal Church. Lisa values camp for her own spiritual formation and appreciates that her parents made it a priority when she was growing up.
Craig enjoys nature and the fellowship time and Bible study that he has experienced camping UMC campgrounds over the years, including Lake Michigan. He brings 37 years experience as an independent insurance agent and a partner in a development company that built a condominium project. He attends Otsego UMC where his lives. He as two adult children and 7 grandchildren.
Stuart lives and works in Jackson. He’s a CPA for Dawn Food Products and brings experience from serving on various boards. He and his wife Joani have two adult children. Family camping at Lake Michigan has been a valuable to for the family to get away and reconnect. “I love the ‘big lake’ but also the closeness the camp brings everyone. It’s one of our ‘thin spaces’ where we feel closer to God,” Stuart says.
Rev. Dave Wichert
Pastor Dave serves as at Christ UMC in Au Gres, where he lives with his wife Janet. They have three adult children and two grandsons. His life experience includes serving in the U.S. Army and Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a state park officer and conservation officer. Dave explains that Christian camping offers an introduction to God’s revelation of our individual purpose and plan.
A UMC camp canoe trip on the Manistee River, when he was in middle school, showed him that God can leave the church building and the Bible can be studied around the campfire.
Susan attends Rockford UMC and grew up camping at Lake Michigan, Albright and Lakeview camps. She was a camp counselor at Crystal Springs and still camps annually with her family at Lake Michigan with the same families that started there 36 years ago. Susan says, “Camping brings out the best in families! Camping is a great way to reconnect and grow spiritually.”