Camping and Retreat Ministries of the Desert Southwest Conference

Go Camping as a Volunteer

Serve others, inspire children and youth, and be a witness to the love of God all while enjoying elements of the awesome creation we live in: volunteer at camp!

Our Desert Southwest Conference camping ministry has been founded on the volunteer service of pastors, church leaders, Sunday School teachers, and other church members just like you. We have all been given gifts by God that can be used in ministry with others. We invite you to serve others at a conference camp!

Ready To Volunteer?Click here to complete a Volunteer Staff Application for 2016 Winter or Summer Camp(s)!

Becoming a Camp Volunteer

All ministries in our annual conference that work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults are guided by a policy to create a safe sanctuary for all. To that end, all camp volunteers must:

  • complete a volunteer application (now online)
  • agree to a background check (online)
  • complete a volunteer health form (online)

Responsibilities of a Camp Counselor / Cabin Leader:
As a camp counselor (or “cabin leader”), you will primarily be responsible for a group of campers. Over the course of a camp day you will lead 6-8 children or youth, guiding them through various activities of camp life including small group discussion, crafts, games, and other activities. The hope is that you will find “God moments” throughout the day to help the youth in your care deepen their faith in the context of Christian community.

What It Takes to Be a Camp Counselor:

  • Active In Your Local Church: While membership in a local United Methodist Church is helpful, it is not required. However, we do expect all camp volunteers to be active in some local church and committed to helping others grow intentionally as Christian disciples.
  • Age Requirement: At a minimum, any volunteer staff at a camp must be at least 4 years older than the oldest participant. Beyond that, youth, middle-aged, and senior adults all can serve as inspiring leaders at camp. Camp can bring out the best in all of us! Your camp dean will work to pair cabin leaders together in ways that compliment your talents and ability.  (check specific age requirements on paperwork and include here)
  • Training Opportunities: Each camp dean provides some training on site 24 hours prior to each camp session, and may request staff to attend additional training. In addition, our conference and camp offices are planning general training events for camp staffs. 

Already a volunteer?

Looking for resources to help you prepare for your service at camp? Click here.

Who Do We Need At Camp?

  • Counselors / Cabin Leaders
  • Trained Health Care Providers (e.g. the “camp nurse”)
  • Musicians and Song Leaders
  • Program Leaders
  • More! (depending on the camp!)

Ready to apply?
The link below will take you to our Desert Southwest Conference registration site. Once there, log in to your existing account or create a new one, and then choose the link for “Volunteer Staff Application” to complete your application.

  • Volunteer for 2016 camps

Cabin Assistant Program

In addition to adults serving as volunteers to staff our summer camps, we have an “in-between” ministry option for high school youth interested in attending camp in a leadership role. We encourage youth interested in pursuing service as a Cabin Assistant to download the forms, and talk with their pastor about serving in this way.

The Cabin Assistant Program allows for youth 16 and older to serve in partnership with an adult at a few of our summer camps for elementary students (note that Cabin Assistants must be at least 4 years older than the oldest camper at an event). As a part of our larger commitment to leadership development, it is our hope that individual camp deans and counselors will engage Cabin Assistants in ways that lead to self-reflection and personal growth related to their experience at camp.

Please note that because Cabin Assistants can not be factored in to the adult-to-camper ratio of a camp, there is a greater cost for their participation in the program than our adult volunteers. As a result, we ask Cabin Assistants to pay 1/2 the cost of the camp registration fee. Once again, we encourage interested youth to inquire if their local church might help offset their part of the camp-cost to enable them to serve Christ and others in this way.

For more information about the Cabin Assistant Program, you can:

  • Register online at our Conference registration site (choose “Camps for Children and Youth”)
  • Contact our conference Director of Camping, Rev. Ron Bartlow