environment where authentic relationships are formed. Our Mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
strives to create a Christian
GLEN LAKE CAMP AND RETREAT CENTER
Nov. 3, 2021
The Glen Lake Board of Directors has announced Maria Shupe as the next Executive Director of Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center, concluding a nearly two-month search that began in September following current Executive Director Natalie Davidson’s decision to step down from the role she’s held since 2015. Maria, who served as the Executive Director of Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center in Allenspark. Colorado for the past 16 years, is set to step into the Glen Lake Executive Director role on Dec. 1 and is looking forward to the opportunity of leading the Glen Lake team as they advance their strategic and ministry plans.
“I’m excited that the staff and board have already done so much important work!” exclaimed Maria. “They have a strong sense of the ministry and strengths of Glen Lake, and they are moving forward. They also know what they need, and what is not their strength. I think my gifts, skills and experiences can help them build up those places. There is a very strong foundation to build on . . . and that is exciting!”
Maria was selected by the Glen Lake search committed comprised of Betsy Spencer, chair of the Glen Lake Board of Directors, Randy Bell, member of the GLC Board, and Jeff Roper, executive director of the Roberts Center for Leadership and Administration. The committee worked with the nationally recognized camp consulting & recruitment firm Kaleidoscope and reviewed applications from across the U.S. Glen Lake lead staff were also instrumental in the interview and decision to add Maria to the Glen Lake team.
“We are so very thankful for the prayers during our search, for the interest in how we are going to move forward, and in Natalie’s leadership,” commented Board Chair Betsy Spencer. “Natalie has left a real footprint at GLC and her leadership and gifts will be felt her for a very long time. Maria is also a very gifted leader we are excited to see how she complements the already excellent team at Glen Lake Camp.”
“Natalie has done tremendous work in her time as Executive Director at Glen Lake Camp and there are simply no words to adequately thank her for her service and dedication,” stated Jeff Roper, executive director, Roberts Center for Leadership and Administration. “She has built a great team, navigated the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic with aplomb and has positioned Glen Lake for much success going forward.”
“Maria brings a bevy of Christian camping knowledge and experience as well as a wealth of fund development resources,” Jeff continued. “She will assist in the development of a strategy for long-term fund connections and help complete and advance the five-year strategic plan begun by Natalie and the board three years ago. We are all excited to see what she and the GLC team bring forth going forward.”
Natalie will work with Maria for the next six to eight weeks and help the GLC lead staff transition to Maria’s leadership according to Betsy. “Natalie has graciously agreed to help us in this transition and smooth transfer.”
Maria’s call to ministry is in the area of Christian Education and has a passion for thinking about and working on faith formation with people of all ages. She also believes that camp and retreat ministry provides unique opportunities to live out mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
"I believe that we make disciples and transform the world one person at a time through deep relationships and experiences together,” claimed Maria. “Whether it is young adult staff who are giving their all for a summer or a young person who is trying something new and challenging, time at Glen Lake Camp provides life changing opportunities for faith formation, new friendships, new experiences, new perspectives and time to reflect on all of these. These opportunities plant the seeds the grow into the courage to change the world.”
Beyond her excitement over joining the Glen Lake Camp family, Maria is also looking forward to moving back to Texas, learning more about the ins and outs of The United Methodist Church and especially, getting to know the people of the Central Texas Conference.
“I have lived in Texas during two other times of my life (age 9-15 in Houston and when she served at Mo Ranch in the Texas Hill Country), and with my son and daughter-in-law living in Flower Mound and friends throughout the state I feel like I am moving home,” Maria remarked. “Also, I’m not a United Methodist, and I didn’t grow up at Glen Lake, so I have a lot I get to learn and I look forward to hearing stories about Glen Lake Camp from the people of the conference and why it important to them.”
“I am grateful for this opportunity and excited to see where God is leading all of us!”
Please join Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center in welcoming Maria and in praying for her and her ministry.
Glen Lake Camp Announces New Executive Director.
Maria Shupe will join the GLC team Dec. 1 and is excited to continue and build upon “a very strong foundation” set forth by exiting Executive Director Natalie Davidson and the GLC staff and board.
Maria brings 30-plus years of Christian Education ministry experience (with nearly 20 years in camp, retreat and conference ministries).
Please join Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center in welcoming Maria and in praying for her and her ministry.
Maria Shupe is a Certified Christian Educator and elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. She has served congregations for more than 17 years, as Director of Christian Education. From 2005 to 2021, Maria served as the Executive Director of Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center in Allenspark, CO.
Maria is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with an undergraduate degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her ministry has been committed to developing educational ministries that provide opportunities for God’s children (of all ages) to grow up in Christ. he loves camp and conference ministry because it provides a unique setting for God’s people to live in community and grow in faith.
Maria has a son and daughter-in-law who live in Flower Mound, Texas. Her son makes people and things fly for live movies and live performances. (Think . . . Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Pink for their stadium tours). She love to swim and is excited to live somewhere where she can swim outside a lot! She has six brothers (and a sister) which she says prepared her for a lot of things in life!
Maria enjoys reading, cooking, being outdoors.
Dear friends of Glen Lake Camp & Retreat Center,
On behalf of the Glen Lake Board of Directors, it is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that I write to share the news with you that our Executive Director, Natalie Davidson, will be stepping down as Executive Director of Glen Lake Camp.
Natalie stepped into the role of Executive Director to take Glen Lake to the next level. She has accomplished that and much more. Her inspiring leadership and connections have played an important role in the growth of GLC and its impact on the lives of so many. We are grateful for her years of dedicated ministry and service.
Natalie has just finished guiding us through a successful summer of camp. The growth and success of GLC has been a true testament to Natalie’s skillset as a leader. She leaves the organization in a strong position, both programmatically and financially. GLC now has a top-notch staff that will continue the vision and mission implemented by Natalie. They, together with the board of directors, will help ensure that the camp continues to serve our campers, families, churches, and community partners.
Our Board has formed a search committee to find our next executive director to lead the organization moving forward. As we conduct our search in the coming months, we welcome your prayers. Natalie will be working with us throughout the transition process to ensure health and continuity. Thank you all for your support of Glen Lake Camp, of Natalie, and of our ministry together. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Grace & Peace,
Chair, Board of Directors
Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center
Jeff Roper, executive director of the Roberts Center for Leadership and Administration and Glen Lake Camp board member, says that no firm timetable is set for Natalie’s departure and that he's delighted that she will stay on during the transition and actively participate in the search for her successor. “Natalie has been a fantastic leader and partner with the conference during her time at Glen Lake Camp,” Jeff observed. “The growth and success of the camp is a tribute to her leadership skills, style and dedication. Our conference camp has a superb staff that will continue the vision and mission set forth under Natalie’s administration. She has set the bar quite high, but I’m confident that with her assistance, the search committee set up by the GLC board will be able to identify the right person to take Natalie's excellent work and lead the camp to an even brighter future.”
A Note About Natalie Davidson
Natalie shared her decision with the Glen Lake Camp board following yet another successful summer camp season – her 12th as a member of the director team at GLC. In 2009, she joined the team as the camp’s Program Director – a role in which she not only made her mark with the programs offered to campers, but also in the more than 200 staff members recruited, hired and mentored.
Since 2009, Natalie Davidson has made an significant and positive impact on the campers and staff of Glen Lake Camp and has the camp positioned for long-term success and growth - photo courtesy Patrick Turkett
In 2014, Natalie moved to the position of Operations Director where she developed methods of effectively measuring and reporting the ministry impact of areas not immediately obvious as “areas of ministry” – i.e., facilities, guest services, and food service. She was also responsible for creating and managing the annual budget for the ministry of Glen Lake and reporting for financial accountability and best practices.
After a very successful year as the Operations Director, Natalie was named as Executive Director in 2015, and in the six years that followed she and her team have set Glen Lake Camp on a path that has the camp primed for success far into the future, including a five-year strategic plan and a 10-15 year master plan for ministry. “We are currently in our third year of the strategic plan and have seen growth in our program, leadership development model, Board development, and impact of the retreat ministry as we tackle the strategies for effective service,” Natalie reported.
“I love Glen Lake and will miss being a daily part of the ministry, but look forward to seeing what God has next,” Natalie said. “I am beyond thankful to the Central Texas Conference and the Glen Lake board of directors for the opportunity to serve and grow at Glen Lake.”
“I am truly grateful to the summer staff and full-time staff over the last 12 years that have contributed to the successful fulfillment of our mission in making disciples,” she continued. “I have learned so much from these team members and have been forever changed by witnessing firsthand their commitment to Christ’s love, grace and hospitality.”
Natalie Davidson, Executive Director of Glen Lake Camp, says, “I love Glen Lake, our team, our guests, and our campers; but the time has come for me to transition into the next chapter,” reflected Natalie. “I plan to work with the camp’s outstanding board throughout this transition period to help identify the right person to take the Executive Director reigns and lead our team and camp forward in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
We have worked really hard over the past six years developing a strategic and master plan for the ministry of Glen Lake, I am hopeful our next Executive Director will jump on board with the dream team at Glen Lake and will add their talents and experience to continue to advance our plan as we are just three years into it.”