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Lori Faleide named Director at Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

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Lori Faleide has been named Director at Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center. Photos courtesy of Lori Faleide.

The Dakotas United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministry is thrilled to announce that Lori Faleide of Casselton, North Dakota, has been named as Director of Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center.  

Faleide has strong ties to North Dakota and The United Methodist Church. Lori is the Children's Ministry Director at First United Methodist Church in Fargo, North Dakota

She is also the Casselton Community Healthy Youth Coordinator in Casselton, North Dakota, and has been coordinating the 5th Quarter program since 2020.  

"We engage students in healthy activities after sporting events and weekends. We want to give them something to do that keeps them away from drugs and alcohol. The grant we received has made it possible to make everything open and free to all students," said Lori. "We have made an impact. There have been no drug and alcohol arrests in the city of Casselton in the last four years."

5th Quarter is a non-profit operating with the Central Cass School District. It takes a community approach and strongly emphasizes the partnership between the school district, students, law enforcement, local volunteers, and Faleide, the 5th Quarter Coordinator.

"She comes to WAC with broad experience and will be a blessing to the Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Dakotas Conference. From experience to her role as director of Wesley Acres Camp," said Keith Shew, Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church. "I am so excited for Lori to begin her new ministry adventure at the Dakotas conference and Wesley Acres!"

As a youth, Lori attended camp at Wesley Acres. She has returned many times to bring children, including her own, to camp and to attend retreats. She enjoys the growth she's seen in children who have attended camp at Wesley Acres. Lori has experience working in multiple roles with Central Cass Public Schools, as an executive team leader at Target, and as a patrol officer in Fargo.  

"I have attended First UMC in Fargo since I was born. Wesley Acres is my home camp. I have attended camp there since sixth grade," said Lori. "We were planning Camp Sunday at First UMC, and I discovered that the director's position was open. I thought about it and applied. I did not want to wonder later in life if I should have applied and tried it."

She applied, and her husband was not so sure that it was the right time in their lives for a job transition. Lori turns 50 this year, and her husband thinks it might be time to slow down, not start a new adventure.

"He was like, who turns 50 and says, 'I want to lead a camp.' It is going to be a lot of fun," shared Lori. 

Lori will officially begin as Director of Wesley Acres on June 30, 2024. She will participate in pre-season high ropes safety training and try to be on-site whenever possible to meet key stakeholders. 

"The kids and I plan to live out at camp this summer. My husband will come and go when he can with his job. When the school year starts, we will live back at our home in Casselton for school. I will make the 45-minute to the camp," explained Lori.

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Lori with her husband Jason.

Lori lives in Casselton, North Dakota, with her family. Her husband is an engineer for BSF Railroad out of Dilworth, Minnesota. They have four children. The oldest, Alyssa, is married and lives in West Fargo. Samuel is 20. Emmy is 16 and will be a junior at Central Cass. Sophie will be an eighth grader and is 13. 

She looks forward to getting to know people and expanding the programming at Wesley Acres.

"This is going to be an awesome adventure! I am excited about getting to know everyone in the camping world and everyone who is connected to Wesley Acres," said Lori. "I hope we can make Wesley Acres more of a year-round retreat center. Cross country is the sport our family likes to do. Wesley Acres is a great fit for cross country. There are training hills for cross country and skiing hills for cross country in the winter." 

Zielgers to serve as Interim co-directors.

"We are blessed that Levi and Lara Ziegler, former co-directors at Storm Mountain Center, have agreed to serve as Interim Directors at Wesley Acres Camp this summer," said Shew. "They bring extensive camp and retreat experience and will not only help hold the director role until Lori begins her ministry but can also help with director training and onboarding."

Pool 7

Levi and Lara plan to be on-site for staff training on Tuesday, May 28. They will stay at Wesley Acres until the summer is over.   

The Zieglers will help oversee staff and facilities and fill in as needed in Wesley Acre's various programming opportunities, including high ropes facilitation and lifeguarding at the pool and creek. They will also serve as liaisons for volunteer leaders, oversee the ministry's administration, and help lead worship. They will also work closely with the outside groups that Wesley Acres hosts and provide hospitality programming. 

Still time to register for camp

There are still openings for camps this summer. Look at the specific camping opportunities and register.

"Camp is so important. It gets you out of your everyday element. It surrounds you with people who are looking for connection. You find so many peaceful moments at camp. You can experience God and creation in its truest form," said Lori. "Come and be still; experience peace."


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