Sumatanga Action Team October Communique


RECRUITING FOR NEW STAFF: Daphne Orr and the Action Team have posted two new positions - Director of Summer Camp Ministries and a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant.

We have a goal of hiring the Director of Summer Camp Ministries on or before December 1 in order to prepare for Summer 2020 camp programs. As stated in the full job description, the primary responsibility is:

To direct the planning and implementation of the summer residential and day camp programs and ensure their success which is defined as well-executed and meaningful for the participants. The Director of Summer Camp Ministries will work directly with a team of Methodist ministers and camp staff to design/select age-appropriate curriculum and corresponding programming. In addition, the Director of Summer Camp Ministries will manage all aspects of recruiting, vetting, hiring, training and supervising of the summer camp staff and volunteer participants consistent with the mission, vision and values of Sumatanga and policies of the Board of Trustees and the United Methodist Church.

The Receptionist/Administrative Assistant is an immediate opening we want to fill quickly. This team member is critical to supporting daily operations and ensuring Sumatanga hospitality standards are met. The primary responsibility is:

Provide a wide variety of administrative, clerical and operational support for the Executive Director, Staff and guests of Sumatanga. In addition to strong customer service skills, a high proficiency in office software as well as the ability to learn other applications such as the reservation software used by Sumatanga.

Please spread the word. The job descriptions are posted on the Sumatanga website. Applicants are asked to send a resume along with a cover letter to


COMING NOVEMBER 1 – Creating Camp Connections – An Annual Campaign for Sumatanga: Similar to other non-profit organizations, we need to raise funds for daily operations as well as our Water Tank refurbishing. The Action Team is working with Swell Fundraising and 49 Camp Champions who will be leading an online campaign starting November 1 ending December 3, #Giving Tuesday. Our goal is $300,000!

The Champions are in friendly competition with one another. Who will be the first team to reach the figurative top of Chandler Mountain? When one of the Champions asks you to “connect,” please give generously!


WATER TANK REFURBISHING: The updates and repairs to the Water Tank are scheduled to begin November 25, 2019. This will require the entire Sumatanga campus to be closed from November 25 until early January. Groups that have a reservation during this time period will be contacted by the Hospitality team to choose alternative dates.


STEWARDSHIP OF SUMATANGA: As the Action Team continues to develop the long-term plan for the programming as well as the property, we have reached a point where we can segment the requirements and prioritize the immediate work.

Primary constituencies we serve:

  • Summer Camp 2020 and beyond – overnight camps and day camps
  • Recurring hosted group functions such as Emmaus, Behold, North Alabama Conference meetings, Academy of Spiritual Formation, Camp Farthest Out, UMW, Exit 456, and individual Church retreats
  • New hosted revenue-generating functions

Summer Camp: For the 2020 season, sessions will be held at Pool Camp for all ages. The Retreat Centers will be used for any special accommodations.

Meetings/Retreats: Beginning in January 2020, all hosted groups will be housed in the Retreat Center (Buildings 1 -5) with access to Hutto Auditorium, Hundley Dining Room as well as McKinney-Atkins for their meetings/gatherings. Hosted groups may also use Pool Camp facilities.

The Sumatanga staff and our volunteer teams will focus on upkeep in Pool Camp, the Retreat Centers, Hutto Auditorium, Hundley Dining Room and McKinney-Atkins making the improvements you have requested. As professional labor can be secured, larger projects will be completed. Yes, the Pool Camp Kitchen is on that list!

Delivering Sumatanga hospitality, defined as ensuring a well-executed and meaningful experience for each participant, is important to all of us.

Conversely, the following buildings will be closed after November 25, 2019: Lodge sleeping rooms, Eva Walker, Guest House and East Wing sleeping rooms. In their present condition, those areas do not meet our Sumatanga standards for hospitality. At this time, we do not have a timeline on reopening those areas. The Hospitality team will contact those who may have meetings or overnight rooms scheduled in these buildings in order to shift sleeping rooms to the Retreat Centers and meeting space to other viable options.


RESERVING POOL CAMP AND RETREAT CENTERS IN 2020: As you begin to schedule meetings for 2020, choose Sumatanga and encourage others to do so, too. Our Hospitality Team will be asking for specific information such as a guaranteed minimum number of rooms and meals in the Retreat Centers or Pool Camp along with a processing fee and contract to secure the dates you need. Your assistance will help us prepare properly and ensure you and your organization have the best experience at Sumatanga.


VOLUNTEERS FOR GROUNDS MAINTENANCE NEEDED: Please contact Daphne Orr and Rev J. Mark “Bruno” Hughes via& to schedule your personal, family or team ‘specialty’ and date/time availability. Also notify Daphne and Mark if you are aware of access to donated or discounted materials such as treated lumber, indoor and outdoor paint, painting supplies, etc,

We’re not done yet, but let me pause and thank the Action Team and those involved in the fundraising campaign including Swell Fundraising team, Laura Eanes and all the Sumatanga Champions. Their dedication and work have been outstanding. And, it would not be possible without your encouragement, financial support and prayers - thank you.

Please call me or Daphne Orr if you have resources we can leverage or if you have questions we can answer. And if you are not contacted by another Camp Champion, go on-line and choose me (!) or one of our Action Team members for your donation so all of us can get to the top of Chandler Mountain!

Andy Wolfe, Convener

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