Meehan to Lead Camping Campaign



As the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching campaign to support Western PA Conference Camping and Retreat Ministries enters its third year, Judy Barkus Meehan, an experienced non-profit executive and fundraiser, has been selected as the new campaign coordinator, effective Feb. 17.

 She’ll step into the part-time position that has been vacant since November, when Jessica Gamache became executive director of the United Methodist Camping and Retreat Ministries Association. 

“Judy demonstrated a passion for the campaign goals of increasing access to our camping programs and facilities for all people, regardless of their financial situation or abilities, and her resume shows a track record of growing initiatives and organizations through grants, contributions and creation of revenue streams,” said the Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, WPAUMC director of connectional ministries. “She also is adept at mobilizing and motivating volunteers.”

A native of Pittsburgh who spent many years in the Washington DC area leading and raising support for non-profit public health-related organizations, Judy served as CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. She also worked as director of development and strategic alliances for National Organizations for Youth Safety, based in Alexandria, VA. In Western PA, she has been a consultant for Pittsburgh organizations such as the Spina Bifida Association of Western PA and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. 

"I couldn't be more excited to be part of the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Campaign.  The title itself speaks to a strong foundation and potential, both key to fundraising success!” Judy said.

"Camp and retreat experiences in life are ones that I treasure and feel are formative. Being able to increase access to this kind of programming and support the expansion of the amazing offerings that WPAUMC has within its faith-based model is truly an honor. I feel like part of the WPAUMC family already!" 

The Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Campaign, officially launched in 2018, seeks to:

  • Increase annual summer participation of children and youth by 2,000 by 2025 
  • Increase annual family participation by 1,000 by 2025 
  • Increase annual non-summer participation by 1,000 individuals by 2025 
Another goal is to increase the diversity and accessibility of camping and retreat ministries so that the sites better reflect the communities in which our churches and facilities are located. The campaign enables our site leadership to focus more on program development than on financial concerns. 

To achieve these goals, the campaign seeks to raise at least $2.5 million, with a stretch goal of $5 million. Half of the funds raised will be invested in capital facility construction and enhancement and half to be invested in scholarships. To assure that gifts to Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching campaign have a long-term positive impact, each site is developing a long-term strategy to assure they are fully funding their facility refurbishment. The campaign is designed to jump-start each site to make progress on improving their facility, attaining more guests, and remaining vibrant for the future.

As of early February 2020, gifts and pledges to the campaign have totaled over $1.25 million, allowing for the distribution of $500K to our camping and retreat ministries.  These distributions have enabled:
  • Installation of a new boiler for Healthy Village Learning Institute,
  • Acquisition of work truck for At The Lake Ministries,
  • Establishment of an Endowment fund ($100K+ and growing) to support camperships and other programs going forward, as well as
  • $293K to support capital projects ($218K) and provide scholarship funds ($75K) to Camp Allegheny, Jumonville, Wesley Woods, and Olmsted Manor (collectively).
Learn more about the campaign at