YMCA Campfire Conference 2020

YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain, NC

January 12 - 15, 2020


We are excited to rekindle the fire each year at Campfire Conference. This conference is educational, interactive, fun and will challenge you to be the very best in camping. As YMCA professionals, we have the opportunity to strengthen the foundation of our community by delivering high quality youth programs.

2020 Workshop Evaluation Form



James Edward Mills
is a freelance journalist who specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. He has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer. He is the author of the book “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors”  and the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film An American Ascent.
James has written for the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine, and Wisconsin Trails. He is currently a contributor to several outdoor-focused print and online publications such as National Geographic Adventure, Rock & Ice, Alpinist, SUP, Elevation Outdoors, Women’s Adventure, the Clymb, Park Advocate, High Country News, Land & People, Outside Magazine and The Guardian

Mark Johnson’s career in education spans over two decades, including serving as an elementary school teacher for 12 years before becoming a principal position. He received the Milken National Educator Award in 2004 as a teacher, and as a principal was a National Blue Ribbon Award winner in 2010. He was also named Outstanding New Principal of the Year for the state of Nebraska in 2011 and was recently served as the President for the NAESP in Nebraska. His passion for Education and Elvis knows no bounds.

Sam Stecher has served as superintendent of East Butler Public Schools in Brainard, Nebraska since 2014. Sam got his start in education as a middle school history teacher. His passion for education led him to co-found Mission Monday with Mark Johnson. Mission Monday specializes in providing teachers, schools, and communities with interventions to foster a positive school culture. He has a small goal of making the world a better place, on human interaction at a time. They also are authors of “It Happens in the Hallway,” a dynamic account of their experiences in the classroom.

Jude Dooley is a lifetime YMCA person with a deep passion and experience in both Resident and Day camping. Now as the Executive Director of the Northwest Family YMCA he will bring a unique perspective of what it is like to grow in your YMCA career, especially by using the Campfire mountain top experience, back at your YMCA's so you can Rock the Summer.





Check out our 2019 Campfire Slideshow to see what you missed.

We are excited to use Whova as our event platform. Attendees please download Whova event app.

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We are excited to use Whova as our event platform. Attendees please download Whova event app, to access the documents and handouts shared by the organizers.

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