New Youth Workers

Foundations Teacher Bios



After 38 years in Youth Ministry, Dara Bell retired from the New Mexico Annual Conference where she served as the Director of Youth Ministries and Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator. Before going to the Conference Office she served small, medium and large churches in the NM Conference. She is passionate about helping youth directors have healthy, safe, well balanced ministries. Dara has a B.A. in religion with an emphasis in Youth Ministry and has been part of PSYM for 25 years. She and her husband Ray share four children, seven grandchildren and a sweet little dog.

Rod Hocott is the Arkansas Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adults, a position he has held for 11 of his 43 years in youth ministry. Prior to coming to the Conference Ministries office, Rod served as Youth Minister at FUMC in Springdale, St. James UMC in Little Rock, FUMC in Fort Smith (2 times) and spent four years working with youth in a state hospital in Kansas after finishing his Master in Music Therapy degree. Rod is married to Rev. Gail D. Hocott, and they have three children, four grandchildren, two dogs and a cat. Rod’s philosophy of Youth Ministry: The importance of youth ministry lies in its ability to help youth build relationships with God and peers, while learning leadership skills that will not only help them as they grow in the church, but also in their lives outside the church. These two elements and all that they encompass - worship, missions, justice, stewardship, etc., will develop our youth into strong disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


Erin Jackson founded and directs Just One Starfish, a mentoring ministry that pairs up Christian high school students with at-risk upper elementary school students for one on one mentoring. She also connects, trains and mentors youth workers as the National Director of Community and Care for the Center for Youth Ministry Excellence (CYMX) and frequently writes for The YouthWorker Movement. As a certified United Methodist youth minister, she has been serving in youth ministry for over 15 years and has a passion for student leadership, social justice and youthworker self-care. Erin is a proud graduate of Baylor University. Living in Arlington, Texas, Erin is happily married to Dennis Jackson and together they have three amazing, soccer-loving children, Trey, Nate and Kathryn

Walt Marcum is an ordained elder in the North Texas Annual Conference. He received a B.A. in Religion and English and a Master of Theology at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He served as a senior pastor for 12 years before going on staff as an associate minister in youth ministry in 1986. He is in his nineteenth year at Highland Park UMC where he currently serves as the Minister to Youth and Families. Rev. Marcum is responsible for administering the sixth grade confirmation program, does pastoral care with youth and youth families, and leads the Kerygma teaching worship service. He has written extensively in the area of youth ministry, authoring books and numerous articles including confirmation curriculum used by The United Methodist Church. He is married to Barbara Marcum, who is also an ordained elder in the North Texas Annual Conference, and who also serves at Highland Park UMC as head of the Pastoral Care Department. Barbara and Walt have a daughter who is currently in college.