Most people never dive deeply into who God created them to be and how God created them to lead. ELI is specifically designed to be that deep dive.
It’s not a Bible study, or a Sunday school class, or a passion-packed worship event. It’s a guided tour of who God created you to be, how God created you to lead, what it means to be a servant leader, and what it means to live in Christian community.
ELI is a multi-week, immersive leadership development experience. Highly trained coaches guide rising 11-12th graders to discover their God-given gifts, reflect on what it means to function as a Christian community, and practice servant leadership while making a difference as day camp counselors.
During ELI Leader Week, participants focus on discovering their natural strengths followed by learning servant leadership theory, small group dynamics, and how to cast a vision. Then, during Practicum Weeks, participants put to practice what they’ve learned as volunteer counselors at Grow Day Camps while continuing to receive guidance from ELI coaches.
GROW IN FAITH
Be part of a ministry team committed to fostering Christian community and spiritual growth while ministering to children across the state.
MAKE AN IMPACT
Be a counselor and young Christian role model as part of a team reaching out to hundreds of day campers at local churches this summer.
DEVELOP AS A LEADER
Be challenged as you discover your God-given strengths and learn servant leadership theories, small group dynamics, and how to cast a vision.
“I have learned to have a deeper understanding of myself and how I operate, and that has immensely helped me in school, work, and anywhere else where I am working with other people. I have learned to cooperate and get along with everyone, not just the people that I share the same views with.”
The first 50 accepted ELI participants receive an automatic $500 leadership award toward the actual cost of ELI ($850) reducing the ELI fee to just $350 for a summer of leadership coaching and experience.
“ELI not only helped me dive into who God created me to be, but it helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses and how I can use them to spread the love of Jesus.”
– ELI Participant
For questions about ELI, contact Stephen. For questions about the application or registration, contact Ian. To reach Stephen or Ian by phone, call the North Georgia Camp & Retreat Ministries office at (706) 864-6181.
Stephen’s first experience with the NGCRM family of ministries was serving multiple years on summer staff at ELI’s sibling ministry, Glisson. After graduating from Kennesaw State with a Bachelor’s in History 2012, he began a year-long internship with Glisson, then joined the year-round team as our first-ever Program Director focused on our expanding Outpost program. As Co-Director of Summer Ministries, Stephen’s role with NGCRM now includes coordinating all aspects of our summer programming. Stephen, his wife, Ellen, and their sons, Micah and Owen, live in Dahlonega and attend Dahlonega UMC.
Autumn began her camp ministry journey as a Glisson camper in 2005. She went on to participate in ELI and Crew. In 2016, Autumn served on Summer Staff as a Village counselor and a Site Director for Grow+ELI+Shoreline from 2017-2019. Autumn graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership and Psychology. She returned to North Georgia Camp and Retreat Ministries in 2020 as a Program Intern focused on Grow+ELI, then joined our year-round team as a Camper Coordinator in September 2021.
Some people collect baseball cards; Cameron collects camp job titles, apparently. After multiple summers as a Glisson camper and then counselor in ’05, Cameron came back to camp in ’08 and never really left: Challenge Course Director in ’08, Program Intern from ’08-’09, Day Camp Director in ’09, Project Manager from ’09-10, Worship & Media Coordinator in ’11, Director of Communication & New Initiatives from ’11-13, and Director of Emerging Ministries from ’13 to ’15. Cameron now serves as Director of Communications & Program Advancement for the NGCRM family of ministries (Glisson, Grow Day Camps, Experiential Leadership Institute, Shoreline Camps). Cameron is married to Britt who is a dietitian at Emory Decatur Hospital. They live in Decatur with their children, Eli and Callie, and are members of Decatur First UMC.
Stephanie joined the year-round NGCRM team in 2015 as Director of Grow+ELI+Shoreline after having served on the summer leadership team for ELI’s sibling ministry, Glisson Camp & Retreat Center (’09, ’10, ’12, ’13) and then as a program director for Grow and ELI (’14, ’15). As Co-Director of Summer Ministries, Stephanie’s role with NGCRM now includes coordinating all aspects of our summer programming. Prior to her role at NGCRM, Stephanie taught high school science and Spanish in North Carolina and Georgia. Stephanie and her husband Ian live in Dahlonega and attend Dahlonega UMC.
C. Russell Davis is Executive Director of the North Georgia Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries, Inc., in his twelfth year serving the churches of our conference. He leads a team responsible for the ministry and facilities of Glisson Camp and Retreat Center, for Grow Day Camps and the Experiential Leadership Institute and for the newly launched Shoreline Camps. In 2018 these summer ministries served 4,486 children and youth.
In his twenty-six years in camping, he has served camps in Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina prior to coming home to Georgia. He serves as Chairperson for the Association of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries, has led and designed workshops and events for a variety of United Methodist and American Camp Association regional and national conferences, has been a visitor for the American Camp Association for twelve years, and is a representative to the ecumenical Outdoor Ministries Connection. He attended Georgia Southern College in Statesboro during the Erk Russell national championship years and attended seminary at the Candler School of Theology at Emory.
He is married to Rebecca who is Chief Development Officer for Action Ministries. They have two children, Sam, a history major at Kennesaw State, and Libby, a second-year art teacher in Camden, SC.