James B. Tresner is the executive director at Wanakee United Methodist Center.
James has been involved at Wanakee since 1999 as a camper, staff member, and, most recently, as the volunteer director of Senior High Camp and member of the Operations Committee, where he helped Wanakee earn accreditation through the American Camp Association (ACA). He also served as a staffer at Camp Aldersgate in Rhode Island.
Prior to accepting the director's position at Wanakee, James was the development manager and brand steward at Year Up, a nonprofit that offers a one-year intensive training program for low-income young adults that provides a combination of hands-on skill development, college credits and corporate internships.
In his most recent role as a front-line fundraiser, James raised and stewarded over $500,000 in five months by cultivating and maintaining external partnerships. Prior to joining the development team, James was on Year Up's admissions and outreach team, where he designed admissions processes and developed innovative digital outreach tools.
From 2011 to 2013, James managed a school-based after school program, overseeing enrollment growth of 70 percent while building sustainable relationships with families, district staff, and other stakeholders.
“As a former camper and staff member, and longtime volunteer, I have personally seen and experienced the fundamental ways that Wanakee can positively influence people from all backgrounds,” says James. “It is a uniquely joyful and caring community. There is no place that means more to me; the relationships formed at Wanakee provide a lifetime of support. I am eager to partner with families, the Wanakee board of directors, and the conference to lead Wanakee towards a bright future.”
“(There is) an opportunity for camps to take on increased importance; to continue to be a source of support to churchgoers, and to be an inspiration to those without a faith home. It is possible to meet the needs of churches while also serving individuals from all backgrounds. Wanakee must remain a safe place for diverse people.”
James, native of West Hartford, Connecticut, grew up attending the United Methodist Church of Hartford. He graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont with a BA in Environmental Studies / History and Music.
“Growing up in the Methodist Church, I am acutely aware of the significant ways in which the core theology of Methodism has shaped my values. I am grateful to my parents and grandparents, whose lifelong commitments to the church and longtime commitments to Methodism are bedrock to our family,” says James.