NLOM 2018 Gratitude Report

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Thank you.

2018 Gratitude Report

Mission Statement Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries is called by God to be a Christ-centered, Spirit-powered ministry: • to equip, teach, and excite people for discipleship through camp experiences, • to provide conference and retreat guests with places set apart and serve with sacred hospitality, • to nurture leadership or service in the church and world.

Welcome Statement As part of our joy in serving the church and the community, as well as in justice to our guests, campers, volunteers, and staff members, Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries—including Carol Joy Holling Camp, Conference and Retreat Center and Sullivan Hills Camp—is committed to principles that enable opportunities for full participation in our programs and activities. These programs and activities include Christian education, spiritual, psychological, social, personal, and professional development. We welcome all people, and we do not tolerate behavior that discriminates based on race, religion, color, creed, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, age, or ancestry. Such discrimination is demeaning, destructive, and directly at odds with the Gospel of Christ and our goals of fostering equity, mutual understanding, and cooperation.


Table of Contents 3

Board President’s Message


Executive Director’s Message


Inspiring Faith through Camp


Serving with Sacred Hospitality


Nurturing Faithful Leaders


Your Gift Makes an Impact


Looking Ahead

This Changes everything.


Board President’s Message Wow! Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM) had a great year! We enthusiastically welcomed our new Executive Director, Jason Gerdes. With a rich history of serving NLOM, Jason is an experienced leader who helped us explore future opportunities for growth, while continuing our commitment to provide places set apart to grow in Christ. Last year thousands of young people came together to learn, explore, grow, and serve. During the past 40 years camp has expanded from one location with a single program site to two full camps with multiple program sites serving different ages and interests. Our reach now stretches across Nebraska. During the past four decades, we have played different games and sang different songs, yet NLOM’s purpose has remained the same: to bring each person into a closer relationship with Christ. Through special camp experiences, we give children the cherished gift of connecting with God, nature, and one another. You are the reason that NLOM exists. Thank you to our generous supporters, who bless us with the funds needed to carry out our ministry. Thank you to our generous volunteers, who give their time and energy to get things done. Thank you to our Summer Ministry Team members, who open their hearts and share their faith journeys with campers and one another. Thank you to our campers, who share experiences, make new friendships, and create memories that will last forever. Thank you to our retreat and conference guests, who participate willingly, appreciate our sacred hospitality, and return home with significant experiences. With your continued dedication and commitment, we look forward to carrying on the ministry of NLOM for the next 40 years and beyond! In Christ, Linda Stubbendick Board of Directors, President


Executive Director’s Message As I reflect on this past year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to serve as your new Executive Director. In looking back over my life, I know NLOM’s people, places, and experiences have played a key role in shaping me into the person I am today. As a camper, I learned about God from counselors who served as faith-filled role models. I also saw God in the beauty of His creation and in the community of campers. As a member of the Summer Ministry Team, NLOM provided me with both life and faith lessons. I was transformed by the immense responsibility of caring for other people’s children and modeling my faith in a way that was real and authentic. As a staff member, I have been humbled by your generous and sacrificial giving that enables NLOM to provide significant faith experiences for summer campers and to serve conference and retreat guests with sacred hospitality. During the past 19 years, I have developed great relationships with many of you. I appreciate your trust in me, and look forward to making a difference together through this ministry. I am thankful for your continued support as we grow the next generation of leaders for the church and world. I am honored to lead this ministry that has positively impacted my life and personal faith journey. I am dedicated to helping NLOM thrive and continue to provide outstanding camping experiences that grow people’s relationship with Christ. Thank you for being wonderful partners and friends! Sincerely, Jason Gerdes, CFRE Executive Director


Seven Summers of Service—and Counting Only a handful of Summer Ministry Team members have served NLOM for seven or more summers…and Eli Neitzel is one of them. “My mother passed away before my first summer as a camper, and I was at a difficult crossroads in my life,” Eli shared. “Thanks to the staff, I was able to not only get through that time, but I found a new passion for helping others. That is the reason I decided to work at NLOM and why I continue to come back—to help others experience the joy of camp and Christ, and to find a place where they can call home.” There have been many special moments along the way, but he recalls one particular moment in 2018 while praying with a group of campers. “For one camper—a high school senior—I had been her counselor for a number of years. She let me know the impact I had on her life as a Christian, and she broke down crying, as did I. It was a very moving moment.” Summer Ministry Team members serve as faithful role models. Throughout the week, counselors help campers cultivate great friendships, grow in their self-confidence, and deepen their faith. It is a responsibility Eli doesn’t take lightly. “Camp is a safe space where people can be themselves, and where they are going to experience God’s unconditional love and grace.” Eli believes the gracious people involved in all areas of the ministry are what set NLOM apart.“ The grounds and buildings are all great and wonderful, but without the people here doing God’s work I don’t think there would be nearly as many significant experiences.”


9 • • • • • • • • •

“At camp, I have seen God in Friendos. My sister gave me one, and that inspired me to make one for someone else.” -Wyatt, TrailHead camper

Inspiring Faith through Camp

Community Partnerships Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools Tri-County Public Schools Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands Lutheran Family Services Right Turn Habitat for Humanity Fremont Project Embrace Morning Star Lutheran Church Rupert Dunklau Center for Healthy Families Messiah Lutheran - South Sudanese Ministry

NLOM’s community partnerships allow kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford camp, to enjoy a faith-growing experience here. Donors have provided free camp for kids from these communities.


Everyone is Included and Valued Rachael Sandri, Site Coordinator for the Sjogren Center, loves serving people with special needs through the J1:9 Program. Named for Joshua 1:9, this program’s theme is “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” “What I love about campers with special needs is not so different from what I love about other campers— their excitement, the diversity of perspective they bring to the group, the way they support one another, and moments when they stretch out of their comfort zone.” In Summer 2018, J1:9 campers had their first opportunity to participate in high ropes activities. Campers were introduced to the idea of challenge by choice—venturing beyond what feels comfortable on their own terms. “I loved watching the campers support one another, whether or not they decided to be lifted in the Levitation Chair,” Rachael shared. “One quiet and reserved camper had a blast with it. She swung, smiled, and didn’t want to come down. She led by example. Seeing her challenge herself inspired campers who were unsure if they could do it. This camper demonstrated that courage is contagious.” One of Rachael’s favorite aspects of the J1:9 Program is the community that is formed and continues to grow. “Many individuals have been coming to camp far longer than I have, and they bring stories with them of long past summers. Most come the same week or two each year, reuniting over sno cones to deepen their friendships and to see what’s new.” This environment of love and support is made possible by generous donors who believe in the power of inclusion.


Real Impact on Real Kids


Summer campers


• Campership assistance for nearly

200 387

• Community for • Welcome for


campers without a home church

campers from outside the ELCA

“Matthew had a really great time at camp and loved being there. The funny thing is his sister was away at camp at the same time, so they got to argue over who had a better time. It was all in good nature. Thanks to you and all your donors who gave Matt this chance to enjoy camp and the experiences that came with it.” -Matthew’s father

Inspiring Faith through Camp


Places Set Apart Throughout 2018, our Guest Services team had the opportunity to serve 19,050 people associated with 672 retreat and conference groups. Carol Joy Holling Center and Sullivan Hills Camp provided inspirational settings for a broad range of businesses and companies, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, church groups, and more. Guest comments confirm that NLOM’s warm welcome and sacred hospitality resulted in many powerful outcomes. “Your staff was gracious and giving during every interaction,” said Wayne Anson of the Nebraska Writers Guild. “In addition, your spaces are very beautiful and customer friendly, enabling our guests to have very significant experiences in all of our activities.” After a recent event, Kelsey Wittstruck, a women’s ministry leader for Emmaus Bible Church, said, “It was a perfect place to have our retreat.” She added, “The staff was gracious; the environment was a relaxing, quiet place; and we had a great experience.” Cari Taylor with Nathan Hale English Leaders described her group’s significant experience. She mentions that “students were encouraging each other and challenging themselves to grow personally.”

In 2018, NLOM facilitated eight leadership and faith formation events, as well as nine adult and family retreats. Almost 400 people found inspiration and growth in the beauty of God’s creation.


Breaking Bread

28,575 19,050

• More than


Serving with Sacred Hospitality

meals shared

people served


Summer Job Transforms Faith & Future As Summer Ministry Team member Scott Johnson was walking along the freshly chipped trails after worship one summer day in 1994 with former Executive Director Roger Sasse, Roger posed a question that would change Scott’s life. “Scott, have you ever thought about going into ordained ministry?” Roger asked. “To that point, I really hadn’t. But after he asked me that question, I started thinking about it… and then I discovered I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Scott recalls. He graduated from seminary in 2003 and currently serves at St. Petri Lutheran Church in Story City, Iowa. Whether or not they feel God calling them into full-time, professional ministry, all Summer Ministry Team members have an experience that impacts their faith. We are grateful for the 73 young adults who served as role models for campers in 2018, helping them grow their confidence and independence while developing life-long friendships in a safe, loving, and faith-filled community.


Serving the Church and World

44 4 Countless

Summer Ministry Team Alumni: • •

ordained pastors

current seminarians

lay ministers

“Serving on the Summer Ministry Team has helped to spark an interest in my own faith, to learn more about what it means to be involved in ministry, and to consider if a career in ministry is right for me. It has also lead me to meet so many great people and build relationships that I’m sure will last a very long time.” -Jesse Christensen, three-year Summer Ministry Team member

Nurturing Faithful Leaders


Your Generosity Matters to Us NLOM’s ministry is fueled by our faithful volunteers and committed donors. Your generous gifts of time and financial resources make a difference in the lives of every person we serve. In 2018, volunteers completed key assignments such as assisting with the Summer Service Project, maintaining our extensive buildings and grounds, managing our community garden, and tackling administrative responsibilities. We would not be able to operate without volunteers, and we are grateful for their commitment to our ministry. During 2018 we lost two dear friends of the ministry: LaVonne Loseke and Clifford Johnson. We are thankful for their faithful encouragement and support in ways large and small. As members of Club 10:14—NLOM’s heritage society—both LaVonne and Cliff ensured their legacy would live on by remembering us through their estate gifts. The club’s name comes from Mark 10:14 where Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” If you are interested in remembering NLOM in your estate plans, please contact our Special Gifts Officer, Dave Coker. After 11 years as Executive Director, Dave is taking on a new role in his retirement—continuing to help others find meaningful ways to support the life-changing ministry of NLOM.


Making a Difference

815+ 9,764 213 255

• •


volunteer hours

Fire Starters monthly donors

Club 10:14 planned giving members

Your Gifts Make an Impact


Your Dollars at Work Revenue - $3,353,143 44% Donations & Grants 28% Retreat Fees 13% Fundraising Events 11% Camp Fees 2% Nebraska Synod 2% Other

Expenses - $3,072,434 27% Guest Services 20% Programming 19% Buildings & Grounds 13% Marketing 12% Administration 9% Development


Assets Cash $255,761 Other current assets 868,325 Investments 1,053,214 Property & equipment, net 7,912,713 Beneficial interest in trusts 825,236 Total assets $10,915,249


Deferred revenue Other current liabilities Total liabilities

$145,157 58,993 $204,150

Net Assets

Unrestricted $8,392,828 Unrestricted-board designated 10,419 With donor restrictions 2,207,852 Total net assets $10,711,099 Total liabilities and net assets $10,915,249 Net assets end of year Net assets beginning of year Increase in net assets

$10,711,099 8,963,029 $1,748,070

Board of Directors

Foundation Trustees

Linda Stubbendick, President Robert Bell, Vice President Ramona Edwards, Secretary Bob Sall, Treasurer Stefanie Balcom, Executive Committee Member Rev. Tim Koester, Executive Committee Member Tom Birner Carolyn Blobaum Rev. Kris Bohac Hannah deFreese Dale Fornander Rev. Brian Julin-McCleary Linda Kenedy Bishop Brian Maas Rev. Steve Meysing Linda Miller Rev. Michael Peck Rev. Kelley Pedersen Rev. Marty Tollefson Bruce Wendt Sarah Willson

Donald Quinn, President Dave Coker, Secretary/Treasurer Linda Stubbendick, NLOM Board President Dr. Rodney Basler Brooke Gregory Linda Miller

Your Gifts Make an Impact

Leadership Jason Gerdes, Executive Director Les Robbins, Volunteer Chief Financial Officer Paula Lawhead, Pastor Korey Breutzmann, Director of Programs Casey Fuerst, Director of Marketing & Communications Roger Maxon, Director of Buildings & Grounds Brent Thomsen, Director of Guest Services


Excitement for the Future Thank you for being an important link in God’s chain reaction. As you share your time, talents, and treasure with NLOM, you are making it possible for us to serve more than 70 Summer Ministry Team members, 1,800 campers, and 20,000 retreat and conference guests.












In 2019, we anticipate welcoming more young people to Sullivan Hills Camp. Thanks to a number of generous donors, we are offering all summer camp sessions at no cost to campers or their families. By eliminating the financial burden, we hope to serve many children from across western Nebraska, northeast Colorado, southeast Wyoming, and beyond. We are excited to share Christ’s love with more and more campers who do not have a home congregation.

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In 2019, we will also celebrate 40 years of camping at Carol Joy Holling Camp. We are excited about what God has done in the lives of our campers, families, and donors. With your continued commitment, we look forward to providing outstanding camp experiences to new generations of young people for years into the future.

Reimagine the TrailHead site through a new dining hall and sleeping quarters Extend the opportunity to more kids through a Camp Scholarship Endowment Fund Empower future faith leaders through a Seminary Scholarship Endowment Fund

Visit to learn more! Looking Ahead


Thank you for making the work of Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries possible!

Sullivan Hills Camp Camp: Conference & Retreat: | 402-944-2544 27416 Ranch Road, Ashland, NE 68003

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