New Executive Director Hired

Camping Ministry Hires New Executive Director

Rev. David Berkey

Michigan Area United Methodist Camping is excited to introduce the Rev. David Berkey as its new Executive Director. David will lead the multi-site camping ministry in Michigan with his extensive leadership experience – most recently as Director of Camp, Retreat and Discipleship Ministries for the California-Pacific (Cal-Pac) Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC). His start date is Oct. 18.

“David brings a wealth of experience in the development and operation of camp and retreat programs and sites, and we are fortunate to have him join us at this critical time for Michigan Area United Methodist camps,” said Stuart Smith, Board President.

Prior to his eight years at Cal-Pac, Rev. Berkey was Executive Director for two different UMC conference camping ministries: Florida (6 years) and Eastern Pennsylvania (10 years). David holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary (New York) and United Methodist Certification in Camp and Retreat Ministry.  He is also a former national board member and current accreditation visitor for the American Camp Association.

David said, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the camp and retreat ministry among the United Methodists of Michigan at such a time as this. It feels like a homecoming for me, having been raised in the Cleveland area and spending summer vacations at Michigan lakes and forests. With family in the area, it will truly be a blessing!”

Michigan Area United Methodist Camping operates Lake Huron Retreat Center, Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat, Lakeview Family Campground and Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center. The nonprofit board recently approved a strategic plan to unify youth and family summer camp programming, grow multigenerational camp opportunities, partner with local churches for community-based day camps, and reinvest in facilities.

“The board has made great strides in reshaping the organization over the past year, and David’s strong leadership will guide us to becoming a self-sustaining, more-viable camping ministry,” Stuart said. “The board thanks Interim Executive Director Joel Wortley for stepping in and leading operations over the past number of months. His tireless efforts and devotion to the ministry is greatly appreciated.”

While David concludes his service out west and relocates to Michigan, staff members are working on the Summer 2021 programming calendar and plan to announce it next month. Learn more about Michigan Area United Methodist Camping online at

“Being outdoors in God’s creation and in community together is needed now more than ever,” David said. “With a new strategic plan and an energized board and staff, we are ready to meet this challenge and provide a sustainable future that continues to create transformative camp and retreat experiences that develop disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Meet Rev. David Berkey

David grew up in northern Ohio where church camp laid the foundation for the rest of his career. He holds multiple degrees including a bachelor’s in religion, a master’s in pastoral counseling as well as master of divinity. He’s done doctoral work in the areas of religion/education as well as camp and retreat ministry. From camp counselor to local church pastor in the New York Conference, God continued to call him into camp leadership roles. He developed camp programs and graduate-level theological programs, led mission trips, served on the boards of national camp organizations. He served as executive director for three different United Methodist Church conferences prior to leading Michigan Area United Methodist Camping in October 2020.