Rocky Mountain Conference
What is the purpose of the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC)?
The main objective of the Rocky Mountain Conference is to serve Pregnancy Center staff and volunteers; offering advanced training, the opportunity to renew spiritual strength, and fellowship with those who work in the Pregnancy Center ministry, thus equipping people to continue in the work God has called them to and thanking them for their service
How did the RMC get started?
The vision for the RMC was fostered by several directors who returned from a national Directors Conference, all refreshed and renewed, wanting to offer this same kind of experience to their volunteers. Thus, the Colorado Conference was born.
How many years has the RMC been in existence? The RMC began in 1986.
How did the RMC evolve over the years?
The Rocky Mountain Counselors Conference began as the Colorado Conference in the fall of 1986 with approximately 50 people attending. The first conference was held at Trail West in Buena Vista, Colorado and now, as we approach our 23rd anniversary we will again be at Trail West. Over the years the conference has been held in different locations, all in a country setting which allows for more of a retreat atmosphere. After a few years, the Pregnancy Centers in Utah joined us and we became the Rocky Mountain Counselors Conference. In the Spring of 2007, in consideration of how the conference has grown and changed, with half of our attendees being staff and as many working in areas of the ministry other than counseling, we became the Rocky Mountain Conference. Now we have as many as 200 attendees coming from eight states, representing over 80 Pregnancy Centers. The RMC is a Christian, nondenominational, ecumenical event.
Tell us one of your favorite stories or give us a snapshot of how this conference has impacted the lives of Pregnancy Center Volunteers?
One volunteer wrote: “I have been a volunteer for 16 years and almost didn’t come because I thought I was done, I was so weary. This has given me such a shot in the arm – I think I can go for another 16! Thank you!!!”
What do you think has contributed to the longevity and success of the RMC?
The hard work and dedication of so many of our Directors. Roughly twenty directors help by teaching workshops, preparing workbooks, planning activities or a variety of other jobs that go into making a well run weekend All of this is done on a volunteer basis. They love God and their staff and volunteers, and in the long run, their volunteers come back to their centers refreshed and renewed, ready to give it their all.
How did you become involved with the RMC?
The first RMC I attended was in the fall of 1989. I fell in love with all the other Pregnancy Center people, with our ministry, and in a very new and surprising way, with my Lord Jesus. After that, I didn’t miss a conference. It was and continues to be the highlight of my year! Then in 1998 I was resigning as director of my pregnancy center, and one of the saddest aspects of leaving was that I feared I would never again see all these people I had come to know and love. Therefore, I proposed to coordinate the conference in future years. The directors were very gracious and accepted my offer! This served everyone well. First, the job of “control central” (in the past, each center took a turn at coordinating the RMC) was becoming a big job for our busy directors and second, I would still be able to serve in some way in the ministry and remain in fellowship with these wonderful friends.
What are your duties as Conference Coordinator?
I get to boss everybody around – coordinate room and workshop reservations, brochure design, collect payments, etc. (and yes, the buck stops here!)
How long have you been the Conference Coordinator? Since1995.
The Conference Coordinator is a volunteer job. What has kept you involved with the RMC for so many years?
I love our people. I love how the RMC serves them. I love the place, the worship, the workshops. I love seeing God work.
What is the basic programming or scheduling for the conference?
The conference runs from Friday evening to Sunday morning, with 3-4 General Sessions with a Keynote Speaker, 2-3 break-out workshop times and fun, food, fellowship and time to rest thrown in.
How do you find and choose your keynote speakers? Are they nationally known speakers or local speakers?
We have a planning meeting every Spring to make plans for the Fall RMC – suggestions for speaker come from our centers – we draw from both local and nationally well-known speakers. Barbara Hammond was our first, she was director of the first crisis pregnancy center in the U.S. and is now with Youth for Christ running a pregnancy center in Uganda. In 1995 we had Pastor Gayle Erwin, author of The Jesus Style and other books, and we have been blessed by many others including Anne Pierson of “Loving and Caring”, Cyndi Philkill of “Equipped to Serve”, Tina DiAsio, Sharon Hersh, Pam Pedrow, Gary Thomas, Dottie Wobb, Pregnancy Center Alumni Directors, Jan Meyers, author of “The Allure of Hope”. In 2006, we celebrated 20 years with the drama team, Acts of Renewal and in 2007, Katie Brazelton blessed us, teaching from her bestseller, “Pathways to Purpose”.
When and where are the conferences held? How important do you think timing and location are to a successful conference?
The first conference in 1986 was held at Trail West in Buena Vista, Colorado and now, as we approach our 23rd anniversary we will again be at Trail West. Over the years the conference has been held in different locations, all in a country setting which allows for more of a retreat atmosphere. The RMC has traditionally been in the Fall. I do believe that our location at Trail West is a blessing and does draw people as it is just such a “God-is-here-place”. The facility is wonderful and is only outdone by the awesome staff – they serve us very well. Timing is everything, as they say, and while we compete with other conferences and busy schedules, we manage to offer a quality conference at an affordable rate in a beautiful setting – what more could we hope for?
How do you involve the Pregnancy Centers in the planning and execution of the conference?
We have two RMC meetings each year. All the directors are invited and encouraged to come. This is a time of work/conference planning, plus a time for the directors to fellowship with one another, and a time for rest and refreshment. In the Spring of 2009, we hosted our planning meeting at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs, and each director that was able to, we spent the night there in the castle. It was a wonderful time – one director commented that “if you think you are too busy to come, you need to come!”
What do you think keeps the Pregnancy Centers involved and their volunteers coming back year after year?
The RMC is a high-quality, affordable, convenient conference – the experience is something to look forward to – it is unique in what it offers and what people take away. Bottom line: God seems to bless the RMC.
How can Centers interested in starting a Conference in their own region contact you?
My phone number is: 970-376-5236 and my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. We have many people who would be glad to help/answer questions. We have a “Control Central” manual that can help guide each step of the planning process and has samples of brochures and forms. Our web site is: www.rockymountainconference.com where you can find the current year’s information.