ENCOUNTER brings together collegiate Navigators from Michigan and Ohio for a weekend focused on growing closer to God and closer to each other. Whether you're exploring your faith for the first time, revisiting questions that you have, or you feel like you've known God for a long time, this weekend is sure to challenge you in discovering how God sees you, and how you can respond to him in faith. 

The weekend's format includes three major messages from author, Tom Yeakley. He currently lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, where he is an author and editor for Navs Press Publishing. In addition to hearing from Tom, you'll get to choose two of the 10 distinct workshops put on by staff from across the region.  

This three-day (two-night) experience is built to be an escape from the pressures of school, but we also know the value of keeping up with studies! Saturday afternoon's schedule is simply free time for games, sports, a nap, or time to devote to homework and studying – whatever strikes your fancy and enables you to enjoy your time away from campus. 


Quick Facts

October 25-27, 2019
3 days / 2 nights / 1 weekend
1 speaker
150+ students
10 workshop choices
Beulah Beach Retreat Center
Cost: $149 (scholarships available)

Suggested packing list:

  • Pillow and sleeping bag (bunk bed and mattress provided)

  • Bible, notebook, pen

  • phone & charger

  • towel

  • toiletries & shower sandals

  • frisbees, basketballs, soccer balls, other sports equipment


  • clothing & shoes for 3 days, 2 nights (check the weather!) reppin’ your school, including sports clothes/shoes

  • warm clothes and a jacket (it can get chilly by the lake!)

  • water bottle

  • umbrella & flashlight

  • cash to buy an Encounter or Great Lakes Navs t-shirt

Take a look at what

Encounter has to offer > > >



Meet our Speaker

Tom Yeakley



We will be hearing from Tom in our large group sessions throughout the weekend.  Get excited to learn alongside those from your campus, and be ready to take home some applicable content that will deepen your understanding and relationship with God.

Check out his most popular book Growing Kingdom Character to get a taste of what you’ll be learning!


Meet our worship leader

Paula Kuzman

of Highland Square in Akron

Workshop Options

What the Heck am I Doing?: You're called to make disciples and now someone is sitting across the table, looking at you expectantly. What do you do? Where do you begin? This workshop will go through those early stages of disciplemaking.


Mark Smith - Mark is Great Lakes born and raised but is now living as a very warm exile in Orlando. In his time in Ohio and Florida he has become even more convinced that making disciples one person at a time is strategic, doable, and adventure worth living for. He also has the spiritual gift of making fun of everything and enjoys giving his staff team and students whiplash by going from serious to playful at the drop of the hat.

Engaging with God (Prayer Experience): Everyone walks through life struggling with hurt, fear, lies, loneliness, and more; it's the brokenness of the world we live in. It's hard to find time in the craziness of life to process through these very real issues in a healthy way. This prayer experience provides a safe time and space to engage with God and His Scripture in pursuit of healing, courage, truth, and the comfort of His presence in day-to-day life.


Callie McDonough - Callie, born and raised in Michigan, is a naturalized Ohio resident who loves to talk and process through things that matter. She loves browsing through thrift store home goods sections, and decorating and crafting with the cheap (and awesome!) things she picks up there. She and her husband Brendan are on staff at Miami University, and are looking forward to the birth of their first child in November!

Jenni Holder - Jenni enjoys surrounding herself with stacks of unread books, regretfully unfinished projects, sunshine and the laughter and chaos of her family. Her heartbeat is to learn and share more of the character of God through creativity.

Does God Want Me to Buy Less Chipotle?: Ever had questions about how God views your money or what to do about it? You’re in good company. Most people feel like God would want them to give some of it away, but how much? And then what? Money can be taboo in our culture of wealth and consumption, but, fortunately, money and finances were some of Jesus’s favorite topics to talk about. We’ll shed some light on what it means to be good stewards of our resources. All questions welcome!


Brendan McDonough - Brendan is a Cincinnati native that loves to pretend that his local sports teams will have a better season next year. He’s been on Navs staff for three years, and loves talking to anyone who will listen about sports, Pokémon, Justin Timberlake, and discipleship.

Andrew Gauggel - Andrew thinks Brendan is awesome, and is also from Cincinnati. He’s been on staff 7 years. Budgeting continues to save his life, marriage, and ministry.

Sabbath? Shmabbath. I’ll rest when I’m dead.: Rest and especially the idea of a “sabbath” feel like lost relics in our modern culture. The voices that keep us moving forward are numerous. Is rest in the modern age possible? Is practicing sabbath a gift or a burden? We will consider what it means to experience rest in the modern age.


Taylor Scott - Taylor was born and raised in the OG midwestern state of Kansas. He will forever be partial to Jayhawk basketball, sunsets over the prairie, the nostalgia of small town life, and watching thunderstorms from his front porch. He shares many of these loves with his wife, Christy and plans to entrust them to his three sons as well.

Not Your Mama’s Evangelism: Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to share your faith with a nonbeliever, but sharing the bridge illustration didn’t quite feel appropriate? Maybe it was with a friend who you shared the bridge with in freshman year, but they haven’t accepted Christ, and now, you’re not sure how to continue talking to them about faith. You don’t want to be pushy… you don’t want to be weird… what do you do? If you’ve ever asked these questions, you are not alone. Come to this workshop and learn to engage in relational evangelism.


Allyson Yee - Allyson is a Minnesota native. She became involved with the Navigators in college and, after graduating, joined staff doing iEDGE in Nova Scotia. After her time there, she moved to Columbus (in August!). Allyson has had a passion for sharing her faith since she truly understood the Gospel: that God loved and accepted her as she was and invited her into His family. She has a passion for sharing that with the people around her, but she also knows how terrifying it can be at times. She wants to demystify sharing faith so that people realize how normal and natural it can be!

Sexuality: God Created It, Let's Talk About It.: With the church being so silent on sexuality it seems sources like Buzzfeed have taken over. Why don't we talk about sex in the church? Isn't it all over the Bible? Didn't God create sex? It's about time we have a Biblical talk on sex and sexuality.


Buck Wilson - Buck firmly believes in the idea of talking about hard things, hearing what God has to say, and having as much fun as possible along the way. He believes that challenging people to step into their discomforts is a way to foster growth. The two principles that drive his life are love God and love others. שְׁמַע.

Can We Trust the Gospels?: The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) provide us with the details of Jesus’ life and ministry – but are these accounts historically accurate? Come learn why we can trust these ancient writings that are foundational to our faith.


Patrick Kottmann - Pat has always been interested in the intellectual side of faith and the information discussed in this workshop comes out of his own search for answers. He knows that it’s natural to have doubts and questions and believes that “the heart cannot exalt in what the mind rejects” (a smarter guy that Pat is responsible for this quote).

Yikes! I’m a Senior!: Are you feeling like you're about to take your first rollercoaster ride and you're just about to go down the first drop? Is excitement, expectation, and terror, swirling around in your gut? Or, maybe you're the person who thinks, “I’ve got this, piece of cake”. Regardless of what’s going on inside, this workshop should help you understand some basic principles for navigating the rest of your 20’s. We will be discussing what we think are 4 core elements of success that are foundational in your new adventure, with an emphasis on God's view of your career and work. Our time together will include questions, interactions, God’s word, and stories from those who have recently made this transition, taught by someone who was on that adventure many years ago and has counseled many along the journey as well.


Kent Schellhause - Kent has been on Navigator staff for decades, has three grown and married kids and six grandsons the oldest of which is 5. His work resume includes a cook, a HS science teacher, real estate investor, and even a grave digger. He and his wife Jill have worked in Nav collegiate and neighborhood ministries, and now lead the Navigators 20’s ministry in Cincinnati. For fun he likes fly fishing, bicycling, ping pong and hanging out with his unbelieving friends.

Sam King - Sam has recently started volunteering with the Navigators at UC after marrying his wife, Elena, in May! He has worked as a mechanical engineer for 7 years and has just started his Master's degree at UC. He loves reading lots of books, Crossfit, cooking up some new recipes at home, and watching Bob Ross or Kung Fu movies.

Forgive Your Way to Freedom: Everyone needs forgiveness.  Withholding forgiveness from ourself and from others is exhausting and keeps us from experiencing the freedom and joy God intended.  This workshop will explore God’s forgiveness and our need to forgive those who have hurt or wronged us.


Charly Sommers - Charly is the Navs campus director at the University of Cincinnati.  He and his wife Christina have five children and have been on staff with Navs for 20 years.  Charly has seen lots and lots of forgiveness up close because he’s given his wife and children so many opportunities to practice it.

The Vision and History of the Navigators: Where did the Navigators come from and what it the basis for what we do? We will look at the vision and some of the history of the organization. This will include what we do and why we do it. Tom Young and Rich Jarvi will put some of their experience as veteran staff to help you grasp a vision that goes way beyond the campus you are on and hopefully will carry you to a live of making disciples.


Rich Jarvi - Rich has worked for the Navigators longer than you’ve been alive. He will use some of his experience as a veteran staff to help you grasp a vision that goes way beyond the campus you are on, and how to live a life of making disciples.

Check out our new location at Beulah Beach!