Category Archives: PYOCA

Fall Conferences at PYOCA

High School Conference – “Take the Challenge”

This fall, Pyoca is hosting our first annual Pyoca High School Conference, and we want you to join us October 16 – 18th! Keynotes by Bruce Reyes Chow and worship/music with Jorge Sayago-Gonzalez make this weekend one for the books.

More Info Here

UKirk Regional Retreat for Kentucky/Indiana – October 9-11, 2015 

Do you feel drained? Do often wonder if you will ever get a chance to rest? Do you long to reconnect with nature and with God?

You might need a Pause.

This year in connection with Pyoca Camp Conference and Retreat Center we are offering a Ukirk Regional Retreat for all the PC(USA) Campus ministries in Kentuckiana. We offer a chance to take a rest, learn from each other and experience the beautiful outdoors. There will be workshops, worship, prayer and peace. We welcome this chance to pause.

More Info Here


PYOCA Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center –

PYOCA Summer 2015 Update

Summer Camp Registration

Registration for summer camp will remain open through July. Join us for another amazing summer at Pyoca. Sign up now!

Dearest friend of Pyoca,

I can’t believe it! There’s only 5 days until summer staff arrives for training and only 17 days until summer camp officially begins!  Pyoca staff is working tirelessly to get things ready to make 2015 the best summer yet.

New for this year, we’ve added: new elements onto both the high ropes and the low ropes courses and an aqua log addition to our water trampoline.  Along with our amazing summer camps at Pyoca we our continuing our Day Camp programs at churches around Indiana.  This will be our first year with dedicated Day Camp staff, focusing on taking the best of Pyoca out on the road.

Our theme for this year’s summer camp is Power Up: Living in the Spirit!  Campers will learn the impact of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  They will reflect on their individual fruits of the Spirit and also living Spirit-led lives in community.  Campers will learn about the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will be with them always.

This summer, we will also begin a new strategic planning process.  With the help of professional camp consultants, our staff, advisory council, stakeholders, and guests will create the “roadmap” that Pyoca will use to grow over the next 5 years and beyond.  We invite you to be a part of this process through your input and resources.  While we are not accepting Capital Campaign donations currently, we’d greatly appreciate donations to go towards our annual fund to make both our summer camp programs and this strategic planning process successful!

Christ’s peace,

Rev. Jake Hofmeister
Executive Director

High School Conference – “Take the Challenge”

This fall, Pyoca is hosting our first annual Pyoca High School Conference, and we want you to join us October 16 – 18th! Keynotes by Bruce Reyes Chow and worship/music with Jorge Sayago-Gonzalez make this weekend one for the books.

More Info Here

PYOCA Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center –

Celebration of Service

You’re invited to a Celebration of Service
Please join the Pyoca Advisory Council for an open house honoring Rich Swartwood and his family for their 20 years of camp ministry.

March 1, 2014
From 2pm to 5pm
4:30pm – Closing Blessing

Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center Lodge
886 East County Rd 100 S
Brownstown, IN 47220

In honor of Rich’s twenty years of service, the Advisory Council will be collecting donations for the general scholarship fund. If you are unable to attend, cards are being collected by Mandy Ernest. Please send these to the address above. Checks can be made payable to Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center. Please add “Scholarship Fund” to the memo line.

There will be a memory book at the open house.  We encourage you to bring a memory message or photo to add to the book.  Again if you are unable to attend this event, but would like to add a memory or photo, you may email these to Mandy Ernest.

PYOCA Transition Information

As news of Rich Swartwood’s (Executive Director) call to serve Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center was announced on Saturday, the Pyoca Advisory Council has been diligently working on establishing and executing a transition plan for his departure on March 7, 2014. Please find a few frequently asked questions below related to the transition and upcoming events.

(1)    Is Pyoca operating “as normal” during this transition time?

YES! All programming (retreats, work groups, camps, and other activities) will continue as scheduled. For more information on scheduling a retreat or registering for camp, please visit the Pyoca website ( or contact Mike Davis.

(2)    Pyoca’s Summer Camp Ministry – Are all programs still planned?

Camp will go on! Summer programming will not change; all camps have been scheduled and registration is now open (visit Volunteer directors have been identified, summer staff applications have been received, and the Advisory Council is anticipating summer staff hiring recommendations within the next few weeks.

(3)    Where is Rich going? Who will assume his responsibilities?

Rich’s leadership of Pyoca will end on March 7, 2014. Rich was not looking to leave Pyoca. Instead, God called him to his next ministry as Executive Director at Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center. This is Rich’s childhood camp, and the Swartwood family is excited to begin a new chapter in their ministry.

Effective March 7, 2014, Mike Davis has been named Interim Head of Staff. Mike is currently the Interim Assistant Camp Director; he has been in different leadership capacities during the past four summers at camp and has greeted many retreat groups during the retreat season. The Advisory Council is thankful for Mike’s dedication, commitment, and future leadership of Pyoca’s staff.

(4)    If I have questions, whom do I call?

For any camp, retreat, or programming questions, please contact: Mike Davis (812-358-3413). Mike will hold office hours on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and all-day Friday. You may leave a message or email him at anytime. If you have an immediate need, you may contact: Frank Mansell (317-291-0308), Advisory Council Chair or Allen Colwell (812-945-3531), Executive Committee Chair.

(5)    How can I celebrate Rich’s ministry?

The Advisory Council is hosting an open house to celebrate Rich’s ministry on March 1, 2014 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Pyoca Lodge. All are invited to attend. In honor of Rich’s twenty years of service, we will be collecting donations for the general scholarship fund. If you are unable to attend, cards are being collected by Mandy Ernest. Please send these to 886 East County Rd 100 S Brownstown, IN 47220, and address to Mandy Ernest. Checks can be made payable to Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center. Please add “Scholarship Fund” to the subject line.

The Advisory Council’s initial focus has been establishing a short-term transition plan (March through August), continuing all programming as normal, and establishing a framework for a long-term plan. This long-term plan will include creating a job description, establishing an Executive Director search committee, and continuing to execute on Pyoca’s mission.

With a full and grateful heart,

Pyoca Advisory Council

Celebrating Rich Swartwood’s Ministry at Pyoca

The last 20 years have been full of God’s grace at Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center. We have witnessed incredible changes to the camp and its ministries: new and improved facilities, expanded programming for all ages, and innumerable stories of lives transformed by the Holy Spirit through outdoor ministries.

None of this would have been possible without the energy, vision, and leadership of Rich Swartwood. Rich’s passion for outdoor ministry is evident in the quality of staff who work alongside him, an irrepressible desire to always look to what is next, and his deep belief that children and adults discover the triune God in nature and through the church’s ministry in places like Pyoca. Rich and his family have been a blessing to the Presbyteries of Ohio Valley and Whitewater Valley, and the Body of Christ has truly been strengthened in his faithful service as executive director at Pyoca these two decades.

But, as we know from Ecclesiastes, there is season for everything, and a time for every matter under heaven. For Pyoca and for Rich, a new season is about to begin. Rich has been called to serve as the Executive Director of Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center in Deerwood, Minnesota. Rich’s last day at Pyoca will be March 7, 2014, and he will begin his work at Clearwater Forest the following week. The Pyoca Advisory Council met with Rich today, and has begun the process of planning for this transition. While we are saddened to have to say goodbye to someone we have grown to love and respect, we also know that we are in a healthy and strong position as we look to a future guided by God’s abiding presence.

There will be several opportunities over the coming weeks for you to celebrate Rich and his family’s ministry with Pyoca including an Open House on March 1st at Pyoca. We hope you can share with Rich and Caroline our gratitude to God for all they has done in our collective lives. We will keep you informed of not only plans related to this time of transition in leadership, but also the excellent spring and summer programs which will take place this year at Pyoca. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us, as we are grateful for your ongoing support and prayers.

With a full and grateful heart,

Frank Mansell (317-291-0308)
Allen Colwell (812-945-3531)
Carol Foulke (317-908-6993)

Celebration of Rich’s Ministry

The Pyoca Advisory Council invites you to come and celebrate with Rich and his family at an Open House on Saturday, March 1 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Pyoca.

A Facebook event has been established for RSVP’s.

Christian Education Opportunity

Attention, all members of our POV churches! Would you like to…

  • Map your educational ministry perspectives and contexts for dynamic faith formation today,
  • Discover the basics and best practices for teaching the Bible with congregations and faith communities,
  • Explore education as the integration of discipleship, worship, and evangelism for social transformation,
  • Locate and evaluate resources in multiple formats for education through the Reformed faith lens?

Then plan to attend the POV Academy’s next class, “Christian Education, Creating a Climate for Lifelong Faith Formation,” at Camp Pyoca on March 14-15. Our instructor is Candace Hill, Coordinator of Educational Ministries for Congregational Ministries Publishing, PCUSA. Registration closes February 14. For details and registration forms, please see the POV Academy webpage.

How Can YOU Share in the Ministry of Care?

ALL members of POV churches, especially Deacons but also others, are invited to learn more about assisting with caring for those in your congregation.

The POV Academy’s January 17-18 class, “Sharing the Ministry of Care,” will help you:

  • Gain comfort and competence with home, hospital/nursing home visits
  • Practice ministry of Presence listening skills
  • Reflect on boundaries, confidentiality, and legal responsibilities
  • And much more!

Registration for this class, to be held at Camp Pyoca, closes on November 17. 

Posters and registration forms are on the POV Academy webpage.
Contact Barbara Snyder for more information.