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Program Connection 2024

An engaging conference for program-minded camp and conference professionals. 

Hosted at Cedarkirk Camp & Conference Center | Lithia, FL


PROGRAM CONNECTION is a meeting of program-minded professionals from faith-based camps and retreat centers in the U.S. and Canada. It is an affirming and uplifting time and space to discuss theory and practice, to ask questions and share experience and resources.

Built on the idea that we build each other up and improve our ministries through the sharing of insight, experience, and lessons-learned, we will spend time in discussion, spiritual retreat, networking, and learn during workshops with experts in various fields. You will leave refreshed and energized with lots of new ideas and resources.

Keynote Sessions

Key Theology for Camp Ministry:
Empowering Young Adults Through Faith Formation

Led by: Rev. Kelly Fitzgerald & Rev. Anne Russ

Current Practices in Human Resources and Staff Onboarding

Led by: Annie Taylor Slattery
Faith formation for young adults is an essential aspect of camp and conference ministry. We expect our young staff to provide spiritual leadership and education to our campers, but how do we engage a generation of Jesus followers who haven’t grown up in the church and might need some leadership of their own? How can we equip and inspire them to lead with confidence and create the kinds of safe and open spaces we strive to create each summer?

Anne and Kelly will present a core theology for camp ministry to help you impart key concepts to your staff during training and continue the process of education and growth throughout the summer camp season.

Large companies are great at hiring and onboarding employees in a way that not only prepares them for their positions, but empowers them to thrive within the framework they’ll be working in. Few camps have a dedicated HR team, but there are basic strategies we can implement in our organizations to set ourselves up for success.

This workshop will focus on universal standards of HR compliance as well as best practices for hiring employees in a way that invites them into your mission and ensures their success. You will identify where and how your staff selection and hiring processes can be streamlined and have an opportunity to get answers to those vexing questions that pop up every hiring season.

Rev. Kelly Fitzgerald
Kelly is a pastor, artist, recreation leader, family ministry specialist, and president of the Cedarkirk Camp & Conference Center board. She is also the mom of three, so she lives intergenerational ministry on the daily.Rev. Anne Russ
Anne is a pastor, worship and workshop leader, digital creator, and president of the Johnsonburg Camp & Retreat Center board. She has written liturgy for Montreat Youth Conference and other conferences.
  Annie Taylor Slattery
Annie has over 15 years of experience in Human Resources, Leadership Development, and Coaching. She began her career in consulting and has worked for global, billion dollar firms as an HR business partner as well as an organization effectiveness and design leader. Currently, Annie is the owner of Your One Big Life Professional Coaching and partners with her husband, Patrick, in their sober living residential and outpatient treatment business, Real Recovery.

Free Day

We are excited to host Program Connection and know participants will have a wonderful experience at Cedarkirk and the Tampa Bay area. Options for the conference free day include a visit to Tampa Bay and St. Pete, enjoying a local beach (yes, people go to the beach in Florida in January), or the Busch Gardens theme park. The Disney and Universal theme parks are only about 60 miles away. We will collaborate with participants to choose a few options that satisfy everyone!

Optional Pre-Event | January 12-14

In conjunction with Signature Research, we are offering a three-day pre-event to certify high challenge course practitioners. Participants may choose to pursue a Level 1 or Level 2 Certification in high challenge elements. There is also a hybrid low element certification add-on that blends online training (ahead of participant arrival) with in-person training and testing. The following links provide more information on Level 1 and Level 2 high element training and the hybrid low element training programs. Use these links to register for the pre-event certification course(s). Reserving meals and lodging for the pre-event can be done through the Program Connection registration link at the bottom of this page.

Signature Research High Element Certifications  |  Signature Research High & Low Element Certifications

OPTION 1: Signature Level 1 or Level 2 High Elements Training & Certification
Level 1/2 High Elements Training is a 3-day, hands-on experiential training targeting the knowledge and skills to operate and manage risks of high challenge course elements. This comprehensive course covers high elements and includes a curriculum regarding inspections, high element facilitation, gear/equipment, belaying, knot-tying, and emergency action plans. The practitioner will acquire the tools to operate most educational/recreational courses with high elements and the knowledge to test for Level 1 or Level 2 High Element certification.

* If you registering for the level 2 training make sure you have a portfolio with at least 200+ hours of documented program delivery (see all prerequisites on registration page) Download Portfolio Template Here: https://www.acctinfo.org/practitioner-certification

Option 1 Level 1 or 2 High Training  |  $475 Option 2 Level 1 or 2 High Training w/ Low Elements Add-on  |  $600 Meals & Lodging during Pre-event | $160

OPTION 2: Signature Level 1 Online Low Elements Hybrid Training & Certification
The Online Low Element Level 1 training is a 20-hour hybrid course consisting of online work and in-person hands-on testing targeting the knowledge and skills to operate and manage risks of low challenge course elements. This comprehensive course covers low elements and includes inspection, low element facilitation, experiential theory, and emergency action plans. This program is offered as an add-on to the high element training; participants will complete the online training portion remotely with the in-person training and testing for low elements taking place at Cedarkirk on January 14th.  *This course can be completed in conjunction with the Level 1 or Level 2 High Elements training outlined above.

Accommodations & Travel

Participants will be housed at Cedarkirk in Hickory Cottage, Kirk Cabins, or Cedar Lodge. Meals will be provided from dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Friday, with the exception of the Free Day where lunch and dinner are on your own.

Group-Style Room | $280
(4-6 Occupants)
Shared Room | $315
(Double Occupancy)
Airport Shuttle | $35

Shuttle service will be offered from Tampa International Airport. If flying, please plan to arrive before 4:00pm on January 14th. Please schedule departing flights after 10:00am on January 19th.

Conference Registration

Registration is open online. You will be able to indicate your lodging preference, roommate requests (if any), dietary restrictions or food allergies, and submit payment from the link below.

You may also call 813.685.4224 x3 to register by phone.


Sponsored By…

This event is sponsored by the following professional organizations.

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Contact Info

1920 Streetman Drive, Lithia, FL 33547

Phone: 813.685.4224

Fax: 813.689.9170

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