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).
Nov. 3, 2021

The Central Texas Conference and the Glen Lake Board of Directors is excited to announce Maria Shupe as the next Executive Director of Glen Lake Camp. Maria’s hiring concludes 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. Colo. 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 Glenlake, 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 Shupe, who is passionate about camp & retreat ministry, faith formation and young adult ministry believes that the friendships, experiences, perspectives and deep relationships built at camp plant the seeds that grow into the courage to change the world.

Maria was selected by the Glen Lake search committee 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 Inc. and reviewed applications from across the country. The 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 great deal 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 will 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 loves being outside and is eager to get to know the people and campers of the Central Texas Conference and build upon the excellent foundation already in place at Glen Lake Camp.
Maria’s call to ministry is in Christian Education and she has a passion for thinking about and working on faith formation with people of all ages. She also believes that camp and retreat ministry provide unique opportunities to live out our 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 about 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 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 Glenlake, 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 is so important to them.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity and excited to see where God is leading all of us!”
Please join the Central Texas Conference and Glen Lake board and staff in welcoming Maria to Glen Lake Camp and in praying for her and her ministry.

About Maria

Maria Shupe is a Certified Christian Educator and elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. She has served in local churches 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, Colo.
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. She 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). Maria enjoys reading, cooking and being outdoors. She particularly loves 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!