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 Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Board selects no more than 40% of its members.
The nonprofit organization owns and manages 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.
The mission of the Board of Directors is to grow disciples of Jesus Christ by providing camp and retreat experiences.
The vision of the Board of Directors is reaching out and changing lives by faith experiences which inspire relationships through quality camps.
President Stuart Smith
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 valuable 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. email
Vice President Deb Fennell
Deb is a lifelong United Methodist. She is currently a lay leader at Mason United Methodist Church and serves on the Michigan Conference Personnel/Human Resource Committee. She has over 40 years corporate experience in Human Resource Management and earned her master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University.
As a child and youth, Deb attended several different Michigan United Methodist camps. Although a regular church attender, it was in her camping experiences that she realized she wanted to commit and connect her life to her faith. email
Secretary Michele Hills
Michele has been part of United Methodist camping for most of her life through her home church Jackson First UMC. 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. email
Treasurer Bob Wyatt
Bob is a management consultant and licensed professional engineer with over 25 years in management. He has prepared and managed multi- million dollar annual operating and project budgets. Bob and his wife Christine attend Clarkston United Methodist Church. His children attended Camp Kinawind and Lake Huron. His young grandsons love Teddy Bear Camp. Bob has served on the conference personnel committee, is currently co-chair of the Eastwinds District Location & Building Committee and serves on the steering committee for the South Flint Soup Kitchen. email
Rev. Dwayne Bagley, Cabinet Representative
Rev. Dwayne Bagley is an elder in the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church as serves a District Superintendent to the Kalamazoo District. As an undergraduate he attended Western Michigan University. Seeds planted at his home church- Delton Faith UMC- began to take root during this time largely through experiences made possible by United Methodist Campus Ministry. He holds a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Rev. Bagley has also served as Dean of the Lansing District Senior High Camp. He and his wife Shelly have two sons and two daughters. email
Rev. Terry Euper
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 Detroit Conference 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.” email
Rev. Anita Hahn
Rev. Patricia “Patti” Harpole
Rev. Joel Walther
Rev. Dave Wichert
Pastor Dave serves 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. email
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 over 36 years ago. Susan says, “Camping brings out the best in families! Camping is a great way to reconnect and grow spiritually.