February 1, 2021

A New Adventure in a New Year

My name is Kenny Rigoulot and my wife and I are the new Executive Directors at Gilmont! Jennifer was a public school teacher and I was a pastor of a Presbyterian congregation when we felt called by God to serve as Directors of the camp where we met, where we have served in various roles, and where our kids have had formative faith experiences. Jennifer and I are familiar with many of Gilmont’s programs, staff, participants, partners and supporters – but there are many of you and many, many things that we don’t know about Gilmont. Every day is a new adventure with many new discoveries.

It is hard to believe that we have already been here a month. So much has happened in so little time!
*My family and I moved in while some of our awesome summer camp staff volunteered to host a wonderful Winter Retreat! Jennifer and I unpacked boxes and settled in at the house in between visits with volunteers and participants. The snowmen made out of our wooden name tags were adorable and the fireworks were spectacular!
*After getting the house in order, we rearranged and organized the office with the help of our amazing office staff. We are so grateful for all of the work that our staff, board members, and volunteers put into getting the house and camp ready for us!
*We had Circle of Friends on Martin Luther King, Jr weekend for the first time. I knew that James Hilliard was passionate about Circle of Friends and now I know why! Children with special needs and their siblings were each partnered with a buddy and enjoyed all kinds of camp activities, while their parents had the opportunity to rest, relax, share stories, resources, laughter and tears. Our teenagers, Kennan and Brayden, volunteered to help with activities for the kids, while our youngest, Grayson, helped me start a fire and play games with the adults!
*During our Board Retreat, we welcomed 13 new board members, with various skill sets and ties to Gilmont. The energy and excitement from our board that met in person and online was palpable. Many of our task forces are already tackling projects to be completed soon, as well as sharing dreams for the future. If you are interested in helping with various tasks around camp, let us know!
*We welcomed representatives from several of our Member Churches at our annual meeting, where we celebrated 80 years of ministry, highlighting this past year in which we had a smaller, but successful summer camp program, as well as the incredible blessing of hosting 80 evacuees from Evergreen Life Services (which provides homes and care for adults with special needs) after their homes in Lake Charles were destroyed by Hurricane Laura.
*Inspired by Clay Brantley’s poem (read it here), the board has come up with a new mission statement. Please let us know what you think before we start putting it on our letterhead and t-shirts!

Gilmont strives to be a safe, sacred place where all are invited to grow closer to God, creation, others and themselves.

Jennifer and I hope to see you at camp sometime soon! In the meantime, please pray for Gilmont and let us know how we can be in prayer for you.
Thanks and God Bless,
Rev. Kenny Rigoulot