Main Menu

NOMADs get 'Renovate a Room' campaign underway at LEC

NOMADs get 'Renovate a Room' campaign underway at LEC

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

NOMADs get 'Renovate a Room' campaign underway at LEC

Feb. 24, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0448}

An e-Review Feature
By John M. De Marco**

LEESBURG — Volunteers with NOMADS (Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service) renovate a guest room in Building 1 at the Life Enrichment Center. Photo by the Rev. David Berkey, Photo #06-317.

A donation and the skilled labor of an energetic group of retirees are bringing some needed change to the ambience of a popular lodging place for Florida Conference United Methodists.

A group of NOMADS (Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service) worked diligently this month at Leesburg's Life Enrichment Center (LEC) to renovate 12 guest rooms at the popular facility, used by church groups, various ministries and conference leaders.

The volunteers, mostly senior citizens who travel via recreational vehicles, replaced carpet and draperies, painted doors and walls, sewed curtains, and repaired and replaced furniture in the guest rooms. They also fixed the soffits of meeting rooms and completed other jobs needed to bring Building 1 of the campsite up to date.

The funding for the renovations was made possible by a $22,000 donation given in late 2005 by a person who made a financial commitment to the LEC when it was first built. The donation served as seed money for the LEC's recently established "Renovate a Room" campaign. The goal is to secure enough funding to renovate all of the facility's guest quarters, estimated at about $2,000 per room.

"He's (the donor) given us a huge start on renovating the rooms," said Melinda Trotti, program director for the conference's camp and retreat ministry and interim director of the LEC.

The NOMADS spent three weeks in Leesburg, working about six hours per day. They hailed from such locations as the Midwest, New York, Georgia and Canada.

"A lot of the rooms here at the LEC have never been upgraded or had carpeting replaced since it was built," Trotti said. "We're being very honest in saying that a lot of the negative feeling out there about the LEC is the mustiness of the rooms."

Trotti said people came to her with the idea of individual groups and churches sponsoring and renovating a room at the LEC.  "It seems like a pretty daunting task to upgrade 200 rooms, but when we do it one at a time it's very doable," she said.

Trotti hopes both individuals and churches will make a donation to the campaign, as well as provide volunteer labor.

"Not every room needs everything. Some have had new carpet put in during the last year or two," Trotti said. "This is the beginning of an exciting process. People have come to us and asked if they could do this for the LEC.  It's not something we came up with. We just want to be good managers of the process and good stewards of people's donations."

Trotti said the LEC staff had fun with the NOMADS.  When they arrived they were greeted with a worship service and breakfast, Super Bowl party, and potluck dinner and movie.

"They are retirees. A lot of them are skilled trades people, including a locksmith and electricians. A lot of them are people who can do just a variety of things. The women can cook, sew, do office work. The men can do plumbing, carpentry, painting. They are just good, hardworking people willing to come and offer their skills," Trotti said.

Trotti said nearly all of the NOMADS are United Methodists.

"They really enjoy being in a Christian community ... with people they can be open about in terms of their spirituality and religious convictions," she said. "They're amazingly willing to do whatever is asked of them."
Trotti said the LEC is also working closely with an exterminator to reduce the insect population at the campsite and there are plans to update the LEC's breezeway rooms, transforming them into lounges with ice machines, refrigerators, televisions and wireless Internet access. The NOMADS enclosed breezeways several years ago because of the need for meeting space.

"There are very few gathering places here at the LEC," Trotti said.  "Structure and facilities can create a particular environment. If you put young children in a wide, open space they will run every time. If you put adults in spaces where there are comfortable places for them to sit and be with each other, it will naturally draw them into those places."

Trotti said working with the retirees is more than just having them come and do work at the LEC. "It's our being a part of their ministry, as well," she said.

Individuals interested in helping with the renovations may make a donation to the campaign by mailing a check made payable to Florida Conference Treasurer, with LEC Renovate a Room Campaign in the memo line, to Florida Conference Treasurer, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802.

More information is available by contacting Trotti at 866-862-2677 or


This article relates to Florida Conference Camp and Retreat Ministry.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a commissioned minister of the Florida Conference and a freelance writer, speaker and consultant.