Author Archive

Mission Success

It is challenging to gauge success when trying to accomplish a mission like Bethany Birches’.  We do some surveys after summer and winter seasons to see how we did in a couple different areas.  I just LOVE what came from the surveys this past summer.

33% of survey respondents (parents) rated their child’s experience a 10 or “the best time imaginable.”  33% more rated their child’s experience as a 9. And 24% an 8. Half of all survey respondents said their children “seem more loving or kind” after their week at camp. As I read through survey’s from camper parents post summer I saw this report from a mother about her two campers:

“They both came home singing great pre-dinner songs like, “thank you God, for giving us food!!!!” We loved learning these songs and still sing them before meals! They also learned about how to be a good friend, and how to work well with others. They learned how to do their own dishes which made me very happy!”

I think that part of the reason most campers loved it here last summer (ratings of 8, 9, 10) is because they felt loved, accepted and cared for (fun, great people and great activities didn’t hurt either!).  “Proof” that we are creating the type of atmosphere required to accomplish our mission.  I also take great encouragement knowing that half of the parents surveyed said their children “seem more loving or kind.”  This reminds me of Jesus’ teaching to love God and to love people.  We must become a person filled with God’s love and love for those around us to accomplish this.  If parents are noticing their children becoming “more loving or kind” I bet it’s because what happens at camp is helping people live out this teaching of Jesus and develop a relationship with God.

Mission Success!

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Backcountry Ski Experience

Parents. Campers. Donors.  Friends!

Backcountry skiing?  What’s that?  Well,  basically, it’s when you get some skis and go into the mountains and ski… it’s beyond the resort.  It takes human power (your legs) to get yourself up the hill.  And then it takes gravity to get you down.  The going up looks a little like this:

 

 

And my favorite part, going down, looks a little like this:

 

OR THIS:

 

So what’s happening this winter at camp?  We are doing backcountry skiing!  We have some good areas for this.  The hill above the pond (wide open, steep, safe). Nearby hills that are similarly open.  If the snow is fast (i.e. icy), we’ll ski on flatter terrain in a more cross country style.  If the snow is slow (i.e. powder) we’ll go all over the place and make turns!

Your child will learn basics of skiing and attempt telemark turns. They will get plenty of exercise and take skiing to a new level and beyond the resort.

You can sign up for this unique program within our winter camp program when you register for winter camp.  There is no extra charge for backcountry skiing.  Each session is an hour and a half and fit within the normal schedule. Your child will still be able to tube, skate and do all the other good stuff winter camp has to offer.

Hope to see you on the hill,

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Thankful For The BBC Family

Greetings friends. Some of you are single. Some of you have six children.  Some of you are newly married or recently divorced. Whatever your status with respect to your family, know that we are glad you’re part of the Bethany Birches family.  The BBC family is one that you can choose to be a part of and we’re glad you have chosen to join this family and we look forward to the next time we’re together. Until then, have some grace with your biological and other chosen families.  I believe many of our societies problems could be solved through united and loving families.

Reflecting on this recent election I realized that there are a whole bunch of folks in my American family whom I don’t understand.  And I would like to understand them.  Not to prove them wrong or to change their minds, but to connect and deepen my own understanding.  This is a key to learning to love my neighbor. Or my brother/mom/uncle/aunt.

So why not use this Thanksgiving day as an opportunity to both enjoy your family and friends and to get to know someone a little deeper. Ask a question about his life. If she supports a political or religious perspective that you don’t understand (or even hate) why not ask her about it?  How will his chosen candidate solve a problem that exists?  Don’t react against what you see as off-base but rather listen deeply and thank your brother/sister/grandparent for sharing vulnerably.  Consider sharing vulnerably yourself. I believe that everyone’s perspective and actions make sense given their unique inputs.

Here’s to courage and patience enough to love our families: Cheers.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Winter Camp gets tubing upgrades

That’s right. It’s safer, faster and you’ll get trips back up more often.  Many campers choose tubing as their favorite activity at winter camp. Why shouldn’t they? 1/4 mile long, speed, 3 turns, a ride back to the top. It’s great fun! We upgraded the famous tube run in three ways this year. Safety, speed and the ride to the top. Safety and speed were addressed through some excavation of the second turn. That turn was always problematic. On the slow days it was fine and on the fast days it was not fine! By adjusting the shape of the turn and adding earth a few places we think we have made it both safer and faster. Parents and campers rejoice! The ride to the top: with the addition of the Birchmobile for hauling campers back up (rather than the tractor) the ride up will be faster. That means more runs in a weekend!

Winter camp is around the corner. During February we’ll host elementary and middle school age campers for weekends and long weekends. Winter camp at Bethany Birches is something to behold. Super great food (afforded by volunteer cooks), 160” annual average snowfall, a large indoor space for getting out of the cold, a backcountry ski program and a quarter mile tube run. I wanted to take a minute to update you on the tube run.

See you here this winter?

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

 

Summer Camp 2017 Registration Open Fri

Next Summer is kind of far away. The leaves just fell off the trees here in central VT. But, many of you are no doubt planning your summer vacations and other details of family life. It’s important to us that we have our dates in your hands as you do that planning. And so summer camp dates were released a month ago and now, this coming Friday, online registration for all summer sessions will be open! If you sign up the first week that registration is open, we’ll add the weeks video and tshirt to your registration at no charge.
New to Bethany Birches? This new parents page will answer many of your questions. If you have more questions, just send us a message here on the FB page. And if BBC is old hat to you and your family, will you do us a favor and tell your friends about camp? One mom told me that BBC is VT’s best kept secret. We don’t want it to be a secret!
I just love this quote from Sarah, a new camper mom. “My daughter had a terrific first year at Bethany Birches Camp. Her counselor was engaging, fun, thoughtful, and so helpful to her as she adjusted to life away from parents. She came home talking about the playing on the water trampoline, rock climbing, eating ice cream in a pig trough, and solving the mystery with fellow campers of who stole the chocolate chips!”
Hope to see you this winter or upcoming summer.
Brandon “Tuna” Bergey