Little Grassy Camp - Reservations and Inquiries

Office: 618-457-6030
Fax: 618-529-2244
1 Methodist Camp Road
Makanda, IL 62958

Site Manager

Ed Hoke

(618) 457-6030

Rev. Ed Hoke, Site Manager, is charged with the task of interpreting to local churches and non-profits the value of retreats and to advise them of camping ministry resources available to support their congregation or organization in their missions.  Ed also assures, as a supervisor, that all parts of the camp are working together to maximize the benefits of the ministry, and as a spiritual leader, that the ministry keeps its focus on its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Ed has been involved in camping ministry one way or another since he began his active ministry.  He has served as counselor, dean, and at one point in the late 1990’s, a site and program manager at Little Grassy.

Ed’s journey to full-time camping ministry began on a small farm in east central Illinois.  He says, “That farm background taught me to think on my own and many times outside of the box.  It was there I learned problem-solving skills and a willingness to try things just to see if they will work.”  In college Ed majored in business economics and so was equipped to manage mission, people, and resources, including money.  When Ed responded to God’s call to pastoral ministry, he discovered that youth ministry was yet another gift and passion.  “All of this put together,” he said, “made me feel years ago that God created me for this camping ministry.”

Coordinator of Camping and Retreat Ministries

Patric Newton

(217) 529-2646

Patric Newton is originally from Indiana where he experienced camp for the first time at the age of four. He began working at his childhood camp at the age of fifteen and there discovered that United Methodist camping was one of his great passions. It was at camp where he received his call to ministry and went on to Olivet Nazarene University to obtain a degree in Christian Education. Patric has served at a variety of camps and in a variety of roles around the country.
Patric is married to Brianne who he met at Blue Lake Camp in Alabama. They welcomed their daughter, Beatrice, into the world in 2017. For fun, they enjoy exploring nature, watching movies, reading books, playing board games and cheering on the Colts.

Patric Newton
P.O. Box 19207
Springfield, IL 62794-9207
Office: 217-529-2646

Associate Coordinator Camping and Youth Ministries

Curt Franklin

(217) 494-0417

Curt Franklin is an Associate Coordinator of Camping and Youth Ministries. He gives oversight to and provides training for other program staff and volunteers and leads a number of the activities, including team-building, tree-climbing, and archery.

Curt has been immersed in camping ministry since his brother "tricked" him into a summer leadership training event by dangling the prospect of fun in front of him. Curt was surprised to find that camping ministry was actually a good fit, offering him a place and purpose for his talents, including guitar-playing and worship leadership. As time went on, God gave Curt clarity about his call, and he moved into leadership positions in his local congregation and at camp.  In college Curt applied for a position as summer staff at East Bay and the rest, they say, is history.

Curt is married to Kristin, who works at Crossroads UMC as the Director of Children's Ministries. Together they have discovered that God has a purpose and plan for their lives, that they can keep each other on track, and that side-by-side ministry strengthens them and their witness.  A little known fact is that Curt grows his hair for periodic harvesting for Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.  The beard is simply a conversation piece.

Camping and Retreat Administrative Assistant

Brenda Harris

(217) 529-3007

Brenda Harris has been an administrative assistant in the Camping, Retreat, and Youth Ministries office of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC) since 2003.  Having attended summer camp herself, and then having the privilege of introducing her daughter to IGRC camps, Brenda personally knows the value of camping and has been enabled to focus on the “mission” of camping ministry.  Her work includes assisting the camps sites with administrative duties such as registration for summer camp programs, confirmation retreats, youth retreats, and Bible bowls.  She prepares payouts for the hundreds of invoices that pass through the camping office monthly, prepares materials for meetings, and assists with marketing and promotional materials, as well as updates to the camping website as needed.
Brenda is a transplant from coastal North Carolina and has lived in Illinois for over 16 years.  She is married to Greg and has a daughter, Sarah.