Greetings friends. Today is a day some know as #givingtuesday. We gave thanks (Thanksgiving) Thursday and got some good deals (Black Friday and Cyber Monday), and today is a chance to give to others. If you’re in the giving mood, help get a kid to camp this winter and upcoming summer.
I was preparing a document today… it’s a Pavilion Project Campaign finance and construction update. You’ll see it soon in the fall newsletter. And I got to thinking about the real purpose of the building and project. You see, during the course of the project I became overwhelmed at times and forgot why we were doing this. I lost perspective among the many details and decisions.
We originally set out to do this project to enhance and further BBC’s mission. The new building makes camp easier to run, makes camp more fun on rainy days (and we get a lot of those!) and of course, expands non-summer programming opportunities. This is where our mission begins to shine. A camper who is here multiple times each year typically develops their faith much more quickly and seriously. On top of those things, it makes the state happy. Let’s just say they were very unhappy with the old building (especially the “commercial” kitchen).
One thing that was evident this summer: it was a huge boost in summer operations. I found that staff seemed to have an easier time planning and running activities and storing and retrieving supplies. I think this gave them extra energy for making camp the best they could for campers. And the kitchen… the kitchen staff and volunteers worked so much faster… they could stage a whole day’s work and take breaks in the afternoon and get out at a reasonable hour. That just wasn’t possible in the old kitchen.
I overheard our new Program Director, Dan Laubach, talking about the benefits of the new pavilion when giving a tour recently… “It’s great even on rainy days. I can have dodge ball over there, cards out on that porch, 9 square here, arts and crafts on that porch and there’s still room for people to walk from place to place!” I think this highlights the point I’m trying to make about the new building being just want the camp needed to boost operational efficiency and to make camp as good as it can be for the many campers who utilize it. This is saying nothing of the rental opportunities and partnerships that are starting to crop up. More on those topics another time.
Here’s to hoping you don’t get lost along the way during your next overwhelming season in life. If you do, step back and try to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
This past weekend was grrreat. Teens and staff at camp playing games, learning and growing together. Hard to beat. We raked some leaves and piled them high. Part of the reward for doing the work was jumping in them! Here’s a video we made doing just that.
Fresh homemade doughnuts hot out of the oven. Fresh, fair-trade, high-grade coffee to go with them. Nippy fall air. Sipping fresh pressed apple cider made from VT apples out of your 50th anniversary mug club mug. People bustling about, excited for the auction to start, 170 of them, prepared to do what they can to support the camp and Vermont’s young people. This is the stage upon which the 50th anniversary celebration and annual auction played out. It was a wonderful time. We’re going to write a more full report but wanted to post this just to let you know that more than $50,000 was given. Hooray for all of you who made it happen! More to come when we get all the money counted and details hammered out.
It’s true. BBC is 50 years old! The first summer of camping was 1965. Wasn’t long after that and winter camp was added to the mix. Then facility rentals for weddings and other program groups and activities. We haven’t looked back since. We’re celebrating and honoring the past on the weekend of September 25-27. The full schedule is here. Won’t you come and join the fun?
Speaking of fun, the big day is Saturday September 26. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast. The breakfast is for those staying on site. You can rent your camping shelter here. The shelter is $50 for the weekend and meals are covered on Saturday.
This week has been stressful! We had an electrical inspection on Monday (passed). Building inspection on Tuesday (allowed access to a couple areas). We are still needing a visit from the health department. And, on top of that, staff are showing up. In fact, summer staff orientation starts on Saturday!
In the building lots of progress has happened. Wall finishes are going on. Fire alarm has been completed. The kitchen is almost entirely set up (and is now being clean). Final grading and seeding has happened everywhere. Porch railings are being installed. The boiler is supposed to come on line Friday.
And yet, there is still lots to do. Some lighting fixtures have to be installed and there is plenty of finish carpentry to do. And of course after that, the upstairs has to be finished, chimney installed, big garage doors and wood boiler installed, climbing wall built and some other things. But, we are headed toward completion on phase 1 and that feels good.
It’s been a busy week at BBC! The work didn’t take a Memorial Day Holiday – instead Dale Snader of Dale’s Homes led a group from Taftsville Mennonite Chapel to rake and seed the property. Grass is already starting to grow. Another electrical crew from PA arrived to make sure we have lights, electric and meet the fire codes. Thanks to Harold Bergey, Will Bergey, Robert Frederick and Andy Bird for giving their time! Larry Derstine, Ken Hershey and Roy Snell volunteered alongside the crew of Jenne Construction to keep going on the finishing touches including putting doors in the mudroom! Vermont Protective Coatings sealed the kitchen floor and Joanne, Scott and others kept the painting process moving. Martin Excavating was here smoothing out the East Side Bank and dumping stone around the pavilion. The most exciting part of the week – putting the bell in it’s new home!!
The week is winding down now. Make It Rain is on site for the weekend. Our fearless leader, Greg Jenne is leading them. Some neighbors and members of Bethany Mennonite Church came out for the morning. Earlier in the week, a volunteer group from Franconia Mennonite Church came. And they made progress! Sheet rock was hung, taped and mud. Siding and roofing continued. Underground electric continued. We are pushing hard to get in before summer. Will you come help?
The week is shaping up to be a great week for pavi progress! Martin Excavating is scheduled to return to begin the final grading so keep your eye out for large machines back on the hill! Bill Derstine, Ralph Leatherman & Rich Leatherman (all of the Southeastern PA area) are joining Harold Bergey and Andy Bird to keep going on the rough wiring and service hook up. Inside the building you’ll also find drywalling in the kitchen continuing by the crew of Jenne Construction and PEW Builders. The large trench you can see off the front right corner of the building is thanks to Dale Snader of Dale’s homes who came up last week to do some digging for the electrical hook up. If the pavi cam could pan the rest of the camp you’d see there is much clean up and work to do before summer which starts in less than 2 months! Can you come help us get ready for summer?
Yes, it’s true. Her due date is June 26. We’re posting here to make sure the whole Bethany Birches family knows this exciting news. This will be our (Tuna and Cheeks) first child. We were so busy with camp for many years that we didn’t consider children. One day, Cheeks turns to me (Tuna) and says by the time I’m 30, I want to know if we’re going to have children. I said OK. 30 came and went. So did 31. By the time we were 32 we were ready for a child. And in our 33rd year, we will have a baby, Lord willing. It’s amazing how God works in our hearts and adjusts our perspectives over time.
As you know, June, July and August are the three busiest months of the year here at camp. Probably not the ideal time to welcome a new person into the world. But, we are. And we are thankful for the opportunity to have a child. So the camp started looking for an interim program director since Amber will not be able to do her job this summer. We offered the position to Dan Laubach and he accepted.
The full story on staffing at camp, in case you’re wondering:
I (Tuna) will continue to be the Executive Director
Cheeks may or may not return to her post as Program Director (she is allowed a little more time to decide that)
Dan, the interim Program Director, is committed through October at least.
Many of the summer staff are returning from prior years.
If you’re at camp this summer, you will recognize many of us from past summers. And you might even see baby Tunacheeks!