CHICAGO, IL (March 19, 2010) – Three directors of Evangelical Covenant Church camps are traveling today (Friday) to Thailand, where they will spend roughly two weeks helping develop a program in that country.
The group includes John Gehring of Alpine Covenant Conference Center, Bryan Hayes of Mission Springs Conference Center, and Tom Cousineau of Covenant Heights Conference Center. They will represent their own camps and the Association of Covenant Camps and Conference Centers. Accompanying the group will be Covenant missionary Randy Bevis and Byron Amundsen, director of finance and administration for the Department of World Mission.
The directors will teach principles of camp management, training, and programming. “The Thai culture does not tend to consider long-range plans,” says Cousineau. “They live more in the here and now, so our challenge is to teach camp development in a manner they can work with.”
The directors also will bring back information to help promote this year’s summer camping project. Each summer, participants at all 22 camps give financially to a designated missions project, generally related to camping. The 2010 missions project, which is co-sponsored with the Department of World Mission, is the Thailand Covenant Camp.
The Thailand Covenant Church (TCC) owns two properties. The camp near Roi Et has been in development for several years, but has only a single structure – an open-air pavilion. Campers bring their own tents. Property near Chiang Mai consists of reclaimed rice paddies, but has yet to be developed.
The group is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok and then drive six hours to Roi Et, which is located in the east near the border with Laos. They will spend several days working projects at the existing camp and also will visit an adjacent fish farm that Bevis has developed to provide industry for Thai residents. The group will then travel about 10 hours to Chiang Mai, Bevis’ home station, which is in the northwest corner of the country.
The directors will get a taste of summer while in Thailand. They are traveling during the hottest time of the year. They will return during the first week of April.