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Paul Fogg’s next post in the Presbyterian camp and conference center world comes with a strong sense of call. Fogg is joining Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center on September 30 as its new Executive Director.
“I have never felt more called to a position prior to getting there,” Fogg says. “Absolutely every single roadblock that was in the way was removed.”
He will replace Debra Hepler, who retired from Ghost Ranch in February. Fogg is currently serving as the executive director and CEO of the Calvin Center, the camp and conference facility that was once owned by Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and still has a strong affiliation. He has worked at Calvin for 12 years, leading the center through its transition from a Presbytery-owned and operated facility to its own 501c3.
The number of visitors to Calvin climbed 34 percent during that time, Fogg says, following updates to the facilities to bring modern amenities that today’s travelers want, including fiber optic internet and healthy food options. Calvin also marketed the center widely, drawing business from the corporate and business sectors. That business helps subsidize activities such as confirmation retreats and summer camps to keep costs low for churches.
“We were earlier than a lot of camp and conference centers in becoming separately incorporated, and it was so well done,” Fogg says. “God truly was involved with it. It was unanimous and amicable, and it worked out really well for all of us.”
The Search Process
Fogg was chosen by the National Ghost Ranch Foundation Board after an extensive search. The search committee reviewed more than 100 applications during the past six months, and selected Fogg from a pool of extremely strong candidates, said Rev. Dr. Mark Hostetter, board chair of the National Ghost Ranch Foundation.
“Paul brings a proven track record of faith-motivated and visionary leadership in retreat ministry,” Hostetter said. “With over 25 years of experience, Paul has repeatedly demonstrated meaning-filled innovation in areas so close to the heart of Ghost Ranch: transformative programming and radical hospitality.”
Beyond Calvin, Fogg’s entire career has been spent in outdoor ministries and conference centers, beginning with his first position as a lifeguard at Camp Pyoca in Brownstown, Indiana, when he was 16 years old. He graduated from Montreat College and headed straight into outdoor ministries and conference center management. He has served as the executive director of Geneva Center in Indiana and Bethelwoods Camp & Conference Center in South Carolina and has been a member of the Consultants Network for Camp & Conference Ministry of the PC(USA).
“I do feel called to the outdoors, but it is much deeper than that,” Fogg said. “That’s my faith and my profession, and my faith and my profession are very closely tied.”
History of Management
In 2017, day-to-day management of Ghost Ranch transferred from the Presbyterian Mission Agency to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1972 to support the Ranch. The Presbyterian Foundation’s role with Ghost Ranch is to provide oversight and support to the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, which is a constituent corporation of the Foundation and which owns the land and buildings at Ghost Ranch.
Tom Taylor, President of the Presbyterian Foundation that holds Ghost Ranch in trust for the denomination, said that the transition to Fogg’s leadership comes at an exciting time.
“We are grateful to the team that worked so diligently and tirelessly through the process to find a new leader of Paul’s caliber for Ghost Ranch,” Taylor said. “Paul has impressive experience in the denomination and particularly with outdoor ministries. We wish Paul the greatest success as he takes the helm and look forward to seeing Ghost Ranch build its ministries to the denomination and to the Southwest region.”
Fogg is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“I’m excited at building on the positive momentum that Ghost Ranch currently enjoys,” Fogg said. “I’m looking forward to partnering; to relate, motivate and celebrate with board, staff and volunteers; to help keep the ranch doing truly amazing things in a sustainable future.”
About Ghost Ranch
Ghost Ranch is one of three national education and retreat entities of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and is located 60 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It encompasses 21,000 acres and is open year-round.
Ghost Ranch offers many programs and gatherings for spiritual formation and growth, including weeks for youth and families, among many other offerings. About 45,000 visitors come to Ghost Ranch each year from every U.S. state, plus 40 or more countries. Visitors can take tours of Ghost Ranch to visit places Georgia O’Keeffe captured in her paintings, and can see locations made famous in films. Ghost Ranch museums showcase world-renowned paleontological fossils and archaeological artifacts, and workshops include programs in spiritual/religious development, arts, sciences, environmental education and outdoor adventure, and health and wellness.