You may have noticed the recent Bethany Birches blog or Facebook page. Maybe cruising around on Youtube you saw the BBC channel. Maybe you even noticed the BBC Twitter feed. Or, maybe you think all this social media stuff is a fad and you’re sad to see BBC getting “sucked in.” Whatever your opinions on the matter, this newsletter is being provided on our new blog. The benefit to reading it on the blog is that there is some media in addition to the text and a few other stories, including a conversation between Cheeks and Clack.
Prior to the winter of 2007, the mother of a teen camper asked if we could host a reunion of sorts during the winter for the teen campers. That year Polar Bear Snow Camp for 14-18 yr olds was replaced with a 24 hour teen reunion. It was a hit! Since then the teen reunion has evolved into three 24 hour gatherings for teens to come back, reconnect, relax at camp and discuss relevant life topics. We call these events Connect.
And even more recently, we started inviting/ asking/begging our teens to come join us for work days, the Annual Auction and anything else we can use their help with. Connects plus volunteerism plus the BBC Internship program in the summer has led to a handful of our recent teen campers joining the summer staff. Voila! We have stumbled into what we were hoping for: a way to connect on a deeper level with campers year-round. Was this mother’s request in 2007 serendipitous or guided? Yes. Was her desire and her child’s and ours God-given or simple luck? Yes. Is it more possible to carry out the Great Commission (one of our main goals at camp) through an intense experience or ongoing relationship? Yes.
And this ongoing interest in more camp throughout the year is one of several significant reasons it’s time to rebuild the pavilion.
“The best part is being with friends and learning about God and love” Angie
“The best part was hanging out with friends and going somewhere you feel apart from the rest of the world” Tori
“It’s fun to express your religion and talk about it with other people with- out feeling ridiculed or anything of the sort. It’s also great because every year I meet new people and get new friends and great memories.” Miquela
“I love relaxing, playing games, meeting new people and seeing old friends. It’s the best place to be!” Taylor
“What is NOT good about it? I love the milk challenge, games, seeing friends etc.” Max
Archbold, Ohio: Joan Landis Alderfer, (September 1, 1940 – March 18, 2011) age 70, of Archbold and formerly of Woodstock, Vermont, passed away Friday, March 18, 2011 in her home. Prior to her retirement she had worked as a pri- vate duty Registered Nurse. She also volunteered at 10,000 Villag- es in Archbold. She thoroughly enjoyed her grandchildren who called her “Oma”, and she also enjoyed trips to the Jersey shore, gardening, music, reading and birds.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be given to Bethany Birches Camp, 2610 Lynds Hill Road, Plymouth, Vermont 05056, where Joan and the children had been involved since the early stages of the camp as volunteers, workers, and also as campers.
This text was taken from her obituary at meaningful funerals (meaningfulfunerals.net).
Thanks to each of you who have honored Joan in your giving. She and her family have been involved here for many years and her grandchildren still come to camp here – all the way from Ohio! You may still give in honor of Joan on our website (www.bethanybirches.org/give-now) or by sending a check and including a note in the memo.
It’s hard to find real people. People who will be open enough to expose their real thoughts and feelings, and safe enough to listen to yours. I’ve had a lot of friends, and I would have a lot of fun with them … but fun is just one aspect of life, and often times I would leave craving something more. Something deeper.
What I loved most about camp was that it wasn’t just a place for fun, but a place to be real. I was able to hang out with people who would do crazy, awesome, fun things, and then turn around and have a serious, deep conversation. I was able to share and listen as we opened up and exposed what we really thought and felt, who we really were. And connecting at a level like that, just made the fun times so much more amazing!
My prayer for this summer is that camp would once again be a safe place for people to come and be real. That both the staff and kids would be open to sharing and listening, and that through it all they would help each other grow. Grow closer to each other, closer to God, and closer to the wonderful person God created them to be.