Traveling Volunteers Shower Love on Sacred Spaces

With gratitude we celebrate 2022 as our biggest season ever with the NOMADS volunteer organization! Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service (NOMADS) provide volunteer labor for United Methodist organizations. “NOMADS demonstrate God’s love through our work and by listening to the people with whom we work,” according to the official NOMADS website.

For many years, NOMADS have made annual treks to two of our camp and retreat sites: Lake Huron Retreat Center (Burtchville, MI) and Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat (Pentwater, MI). Thanks to a grant to build RV sites at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center (Dowling, MI) the NOMADS were able to volunteer there for the first time in a long time.

Wesley Woods built five RV campsites with grant money received from the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries Association (UMCRM) — allowing the NOMADS to stay onsite in their RVs and trailers.

Wesley Woods

“We had a huge project list, and it seemed daunting as we first walked the camp together,” explained Site Director Nicole Holton. “But after the first week of completing two of our major projects and starting on the third, I knew this was an amazing team!” During their three weeks on site, the NOMADS along with two contractors and Wesley Woods staff were able to build a new bridge deck to the retreat center, fix the stairs and deck at the Daisy/Trillium Lodge: as well as reset the stairs, add gravel and a top hand rail to the stairs heading to the nurse’s cabin. At the waterfront, they built a shed to hold paddles and life jackets. The group also helped organize the camp store, laid mulch and fixed the Chapel deck.

Having the five NOMADS at Wesley Woods for the first time was such a blessing. We built new friendships. It’s great to have others see your passion for camping ministry and match it. They see the potential that Wesley Woods has and want to work to make it better for future campers and retreat participants.

In addition to all the hard work, the work teams and the staff were able to enjoy lunch together each day and have conversations. “I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each one of them,” Nicole said. “There is a love for what they do and they are excited to go to the next project and help another camp out.

“God knew that we needed to have the NOMADS come because they have skills and resources that we don’t have. Thank you for coming to Wesley Woods Camp and making it better for others to enjoy.”

Lake Michigan

At Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat the NOMADS accomplished several projects. They completed two handicap-accessible ramps so that two of the family cabins are now more accessible. The group also painted the south bathhouse and, when it rained, they came inside and helped trim out the dining hall and give the new drywall a few coats of paint.
“The NOMADS blow me away with their energy and dedication to this work,” said Site Director Erik Bengston. “They work so hard and everyone can see what a difference these improvements make all over camp.”Lake Michigan is looking forward to two visits from NOMADS in 2023.

Lake Huron

Eight terrific volunteers from NOMADS spent three weeks at Lake Huron Retreat Center, in June. These volunteers worked on a number of projects including splitting wood, repairing and painting the entrance fence, striping the parking lot, and setting up tents for God’s Treasures Camp. Site Director Rev. Ann Emerson said, “We are blessed by their commitment to servanthood. It helps us sustain our safe, beautiful, and welcoming site for each of our retreat groups throughout the year.”

If you are interested in volunteering at any of our sites, please contact the site directors. To learn more about the NOMADS, visit their website