Camp Echoing Hills Welcomes Jimmy McNutt
It is a warm welcome back for Camp Echoing Hills’ new Recreational Services and Outreach Director.
Jimmy McNutt recently started in his new role; however, this isn’t his first experience with Echoing Hills. Camp Echoing Hills has been intertwined in Jimmy’s life, personally and professionally, for almost 20 years!
Working as a summer Program Assistant from 2003-2006, Jimmy enjoyed his early years at camp. He even met his future wife, Maria, here. He shares that they didn’t like each other that first summer; however, by 2004, that changed.
“Maria and I joke that during our first summer at camp as counselors, I liked myself enough for the both of us,” says McNutt. “During the off-season, God worked in me and grew me up through a season of depression, yielding a much-needed dose of humility and obedience to God. The next summer we spent together, we noticed that God was moving in the same direction in our hearts. She became my best friend that summer and continues to be my best friend today.”
Jimmy and Maria were engaged in 2005 and married in 2006 – both events taking place at camp! Three months after getting married, they moved to Cleveland to begin their life together. Although not serving on summer staff, Jimmy and Maria found themselves volunteering at camp throughout the years. Maria helped with nursing off and on, and even served as the camp nurse in 2018!
After leaving camp, Jimmy obtained his undergraduate in Bible and ministry studies. He began his professional career as a youth and worship pastor at Portage Community Chapel and later planted two churches. After several years of ministering, Jimmy decided to return to school to obtain his degree in nursing. While in school, he served as a chaplain in a hospital, for a minor league baseball team, and at a local fire department. After graduating, however, Jimmy chose to focus solely on nursing, taking a job at Summa Hospital in Akron.
It was a few months into his new career when the pandemic hit. Jimmy began working in the ICU department, taking care of patients with COVID-19. He found himself ministering to those patients that were sick and dying.
“As an ICU nurse, our COVID patients would very often not leave for long periods; this is unlike other ICU patients who might only need to stay for a handful of days,” shares McNutt. “During their long stays, we would connect deeply with the patients and their families.”
One day, Jimmy received a call about the role of Recreational Services and Outreach Director. It sounded interesting; however, he struggled with the decision, as he wasn’t looking to make a career change. Ultimately, through prayer, he felt God was calling him back and decided to pursue the position.
Almost 15 years exactly from the day of leaving, Jimmy and Maria returned to Camp Echoing Hills. They bring excitement, enthusiasm, and their five children – Ethan, Hope, Calvin, Cora, and Arwen. Together, they are excited to serve at camp as a family.
When not serving, Jimmy enjoys working out, going on nacho dates with Maria, and spending time together as a family.
“Family time to us looks like spending time focusing on one another, says McNutt.” “We could do a lot of activities but, if we are not intentional about our time, we are not connecting. We enjoy board games (Settlers of Catan is a favorite), card games, and physical activities together like hiking, biking, running, and swimming.”
When looking to the future of camp, Jimmy is eager to make a difference. He is excited to open up others’ relationships with God and create new recreational experiences for the campers through his new role.
“I desire deeply for my vision to be in line with God’s vision and to whatever door he wants to open,” shares McNutt. “I’m look forward to serving, to help people feel God’s presence in different ways. I want to make a lasting impact on the lives of staff and campers.”
McNutt continues, “I want to maintain regular camp activities like hayrides, s’mores, and campfires; however, I am looking forward to pushing limits on what individuals are comfortable doing. I want to create new activities to encourage individuals to live confidently, showing that they can do anything they put their mind to!”