Buffalo Mountain Camp prepares for new phase, expresses appreciation for Onks

Buffalo Mountain Camp prepares for new phase, expresses appreciation for Onks


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. -- A beloved Holston Conference camp director is completing his leadership and service as Buffalo Mountain Camp begins a new era with a changed focus.

Jason Onks, Buffalo Mountain Camp director since 2006, will be honored and celebrated during a drop-in reception at Gray United Methodist Church in Gray, Tenn., on Saturday, May 17, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“As the Buffalo Mountain Camp board continues to deal with the aftermath of the flood of August 2012, clearly, everything has changed,” said the Rev. Randy Pasqua, executive director of Holston Camp and Retreat Ministry. “The job requirements of the camp director have changed from managing a camp operation to camp ministry development.”

Buffalo Mountain camp leaders have been working with Kaleidoscope Inc., a consulting firm, to determine “the best ministry offering, location and design, and the feasibility for rebuilding,” according to Brad Overturf, board chair.

“The gifts, talents and skills which Jason Onks shared so effectively as camp director during summer camp, year-round retreats, and environmental education programs are not being utilized in this current phase of ministry,” Overturf said. “So our conference camping director, the board of directors, and Jason have determined that Buffalo Mountain Camp needs a new executive director to champion this phase of discernment for the ministry.”

The Rev. Walter Weikel, Johnson City district superintendent, said that Onks had served with “grace and distinction” following the catastrophic flood that led to the closing of Buffalo Mountain.

“We are about to embark on a new phase which we hope leads to recovery,” Weikel said. “This new phase would necessitate an interim director who would have skills in strategic planning, marketing, and new site development.”

Camp leaders encouraged those who love Buffalo Mountain Camp and Onks to express their appreciation with written memories, cards, and financial love offerings. Gifts and remembrances may be delivered during the May 17 reception or mailed to: Jason Onks, Camp & Retreat Office, 262 Bart Green Drive, Gray, TN 37615. (Please make checks out to Jason Onks.)

“Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Jason and his family, the Buffalo Mountain Camp board, and the discernment processes that are taking place,” Pasqua said.