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!
Hope to see you at camp soon!
Construction Update – week of Mar. 9:
Most of the windows are in! Electrical has begun. Porches are making fast progress. Staining is happening all week. The mudroom is being framed. Many volunteers are in and out and it was great to see 10-15 people on site today including volunteers from Bergey’s Electric and Andy Bird! Other volunteers this week include Larry Derstine, Roy Schnell, Esther & Ann.
Construction Update – week of Mar. 23:
Electrical rough-in is over half finished. Some foam insulation in the basement area is happening this week. Staining, staining and more staining. Volunteers continue to be needed on staining and painting. The mudroom framed and exterior insulation has been added. After 2 weeks of 10-20 people every day, this week will be slower. Oh, and the big porches. Doton Design is putting those up as I type. The biggest posts are 13′ tall and 16″ around at the base. They look quite fitting next to the 12x16s in the timber frame and the 16″ square steel posts.
Weather is getting better! Today (tues.) being town meeting day meant very few people on site. Happy Birthday to Jerry (of Jenne construction) and a big thanks to Rich Landis and Nanuk for putting a full day in today.
This week brings more heating system work, framing the mudroom, blocking in the walls and the beginning of siding staining. A big thanks to Fred Schlabach and Paul Derksen for putting in windows yesterday. Most of the windows are in now which is very exciting.
Volunteer opportunities for the very near future include mudroom framing (skilled), radiant tubing help (un-skilled) and siding staining (un-skilled). Contact Amber (802-672-5220) to help.
VERY cold this week. This morning was -20. Needless to say we got a late start. But not Nanuk. He was ready to go at 7! He’s from northern VT so -20 is no big deal for him. He is a camp employee working on the building.
Anyway, this week holds work on the main entry porch. That roof structure will be completed this week. Jenne Construction is finishing the exterior insulation. Nanuk and Rich Landis are following them with house wrap. Preparation is being made for siding staining. Some volunteers will begin staining next week.
Volunteer oportunities for the very near future include window and door setting (skilled), radiant tubing help (un-skilled) and siding staining (un-skilled). Contact Brandon (802-672-5220) to help.
Plumbing rough-in was almost completed this past week thanks in part to a group of volunteers including Austin Landes (Make It Rain), Ben Leatherman and Jon Studt. Four others helped (Kyle Nyce, Jim Frankenfield, Eric and Frank Sirianni) to make the trip a success. Today (Feb 16) was so cold that very little work was done other than prepping for the close-in of the main entry porch.
If weather is decent, that porch structure may be wrapped up this week. The main job for this week is exterior insulation. This will help protect sheathing, give increased R-value and be our main air barrier in the stick frame part of the building.
Volunteer opportunities for the very near future include window and door setting (skilled), radiant tubing help (un-skilled) and siding staining (un-skilled). Contact Brandon (802-672-5220) to help. Or sign up here.
Greetings all. I have been somewhat silent lately related to the pavilion project. I had been hyping it for so long and I was so excited about it… I was always talking about it. And then we ran into challenges. And I got a little lost for a time. And you may not have heard much from me in general nor about the project. I’d like to use this space to share about some of the challenges we’ve experienced and how things are going now.
Some challenges I’ve experienced as a member of the pavi design team and owner’s representative:
- Alternative building and contracts model – we received counsel (from a trusted advisor) that money could be saved by utilizing what’s known as an agency approach. This is different than the General Contractor approach in the sense that the lead contractor receives a fee or salary rather than making their money on markups and changes. If done well, this provides freedom to alter plans as well as savings. In our case, it seemed ideal because there are materials donors happy to offer discounts directly to the camp without going through the contractor. Well, this approach is somewhat new to some on the design team and we are learning.
- Relationships – human relationships are often one of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects to anyone’s life. This has been true in our working relationships as well.
- Budget – this has perhaps provided the greatest source of stress for me. Related to the two above challenges, it was a challenge to finish construction documents. Resulting from that was an incomplete understanding of budget. Resulting from that was a design that was more than we budgeted. To be clear, the building that has been designed, and is being built, is an awesome building. It’s exactly what the camp needs to maximize ministry and program. It’s the building the board wanted and approved. It’s also more expensive than we wanted it to be (up from the desired $1.4 million to $2 million).
- Timeline – And almost all of this could have much more easily been overcome if we did not have a tight timeline. Because the new pavilion was to replace the old in the same exact location and because skipping a summer of camp was not an option, we had only from mid August till the end of May to complete the project. Doing things fast and well typically costs more than if you can do them slowly and well. And constructing this building poorly was not an option.
So what are we doing?
We decided to move ahead with the preferred design in the face of budget challenges and look to save in two ways:
- Phasing whatever did not have to be completed to use the space for summer 2015
- Seeking volunteerism wherever possible
With phasing, volunteerism and a loan of $400,000 we are hoping to complete the building enough to get a certificate of occupancy by the end of May, 2015. We hope then to finish the building entirely over the following couple years and pay off the loan at the same time.
This is both not what we planned and not uncommon for large building projects (so I’m told). We knew from the very beginning that a project of this scale would be a great challenge for Bethany Birches Camp. We knew that using volunteers and keeping a tight budget would add to the challenge. We even felt at times like it was an impossible project. And that’s why the name Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project was selected. It harkens back to something Jesus says in Matthew 19:26: “with God, all things are possible.” We know this is true and we continue to put our trust in God.
We welcome your gifts of time and money, as God leads. We thank you for your ongoing interest and support of Bethany Birches Camp. Pray with us that all who use the new pavilion will be blessed and experience God’s love.
aka Brandon Bergey
The lodging is heated! There are beds instead of a wood floor. Activities are different. The point is the same; developing skills, relationships and faith.
So sign up for a winter weekend. Dates and registration here.
A Light On The Hill - FULL VERSION
Anyone who thinks that it’s quiet on the hill because summer campers departed Bethany Birches Camp in August would be wrong—very wrong. Drive up Lynds Hill Road in Plymouth and when you reach the Camp you’ll see a frenzy of activity. A new camp Pavilion is under construction. Get out of your car and come walk with us to see the construction site and meet three people, among many, who are critical to the Pavilion Project.
Robert Buchan of Plymouth, Vermont, is the Pavilion Project Architect. Robert, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is also the father of two long-time campers, daughter Lily and son Andrew. Born and raised north of London, England, Buchan completed his training as an architect in the U.K. before coming to the United States where he is a Vermont Licensed Architect. Robert, who has been an architect for 31 years, is also a member of the Bethany Birches Camp Association.
As an Association member, Robert has been thinking about camp facilities for a long time. He participated in a long-range planning process which asked the Association and the Camp Board to look at how the camp’s mission might develop and change to meet the needs of future campers. “What will make Camp better,” Buchan said, “is a question we have grappled with for several years.” “What worked for camping in the 1960s has changed and we needed to look at the type of structures that would facilitate those changes.” For example, if Bethany Birches desired to move to year round programming then it needed a facility that would support all season activities.
Were there challenges in designing the new Pavilion? “Yes,” Robert said and he mentioned several. “We needed to design something in keeping with the character of Camp. The building needed to be like Camp—a comfortable place for kids to have fun. We wanted there to be room for lots of activity but we didn’t want the building to look like a gym or be cavernous. The new “Pavi” is much larger than the old one but we don’t want it to feel too much bigger.”
As with other building projects the budget presented a challenge. “A big, quality building doesn’t come cheap,” said Robert, “but we also had to live within budget constraints.” How to build a new Pavi that would not be exorbitantly expensive was the question. According to Buchan, in order to deal with these budget questions some aspects of the planning and designing process have been more stretched out than would be true with a building project where money was not an issue.
What does Robert hope for the new Pavilion? “I hope the kids will find it a comfortable place where they can have fun and explore.” The building is a symbol as well as a catalyst for change at Bethany Birches Camp. “I’m getting excited now that it’s coming together; the building will enable Camp to do more and encourage campers to grow and explore.” Robert is grateful to be part of an active and supportive Camp Association which is totally behind the project.
The “Pavi” Project Construction Manager is Phil Wilkerson of Bridgewater, VT, who started work on the project in April, 2014. Many people who are currently working on construction of the new BBC Pavilion have some previous family connection with BBC, which opened in 1965. In Phil’s case the connection is his wife, Mary, who as a youngster attended Bethany Birches Camp, as did her two children Kevin and Sarah. Mary is now the General Manager at Woodstock Home and Hardware.
Phil is a builder, a profession he has pursued for the past 40 years. In addition to the new Pavilion, Phil also currently has two other ongoing major building projects. Are there challenges with his work on the Pavilion? “Yes”, says Phil. Why’s he doing it? “I’m doing it for the kids. If I can make a difference in one kid’s life, then any frustrations and headaches involved in being construction manager are worth it.”
Raised in Maryland, Phil moved to Lyndonville, Vermont, as a young person, to attend school. Living in Lyndonville gave Phil the chance to know his grandmother who was a school teacher and, according to Phil, a “real people person”. Phil learned many of his people skills from his grandmother. It’s a good thing that Phil picked up those skills because he works with many people—employees, camp staff, volunteers, as well as a team of other professionals working on a variety of tasks related to the “Pavi” construction project.
How does Phil see the new Pavilion impacting kids and the life of the camp? His answers to this question were plentiful and enthusiastic. “It will be a gorgeous building providing youngsters with a safe and comfortable place to be in nasty weather.” The “Pavi” will include a “great kitchen”, he said. That should be music to the ears of anyone and everyone who has ever worked in the old Pavi kitchen. The building will facilitate the merger of indoor and outdoor spaces illustrated by a fireplace which will be open on two sides—inside and outside.
“The new Pavilion will provide a positive environment,” said Phil. “It will permit the light to shine in on work and play.” These words make us think of Jesus’ saying as recorded in Matthew 5:14—“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
See that man bustling around the Pavi construction site, the one with a black dog named Fischer following him? That’s Greg Jenne, the Pavilion Construction Project Supervisor. Greg has been worked on this project since late summer 2014. Like many others involved with the project, Greg has a personal connection to Bethany Birches; both of his daughters, Piper and Izzy, have been enthusiastic BBC campers. “Both of my kids had a great time at Bethany Birches, and I want to see this project succeed.”
Greg has numerous ties to Central Vermont; he’s a Bridgewater native, graduated from Woodstock High School and has served on the Bridgewater School Board for nine years. He’s a General Contractor who has been meeting residential building needs in the area since 2002 and has headed up his own incorporated business—Jenne Construction, Inc.—since 2011. People who want to see examples of Greg’s work should check out his Facebook page.
When asked, “What is the best thing about working on the new Pavilion?” Greg was quick to respond with enthusiasm. “Knowing that this awesome structure will be enjoyed by lots of children for many years to come,” was his answer. The old Pavilion lasted for about fifty years and Greg hopes the new one will last for one hundred years. “It will be a beautiful building.” For those who think this will simply be a newer version of the old Pavilion—think again! There will be lots of warm comfortable space for a variety of indoor activities on wet, soggy days. There will be a separate camp store and nurse’s station and, says Greg, there will be something known as a ‘Flying Squirrel’—sort of like an indoor ropes course.
Have there been challenges for Greg and others? “Yes” says Greg and there will be more such as working through the winter. “Winter work is tough,” Greg tells me but “It’s OK because I’m committed to this project. I try to maintain a positive attitude and that helps us get through the tough days. We want this project ready for next summer.” “It will be a beautiful building with neat features,” Greg said and with that positive comment he was off to another meeting.
As Greg Jenne reminds us, winter is almost here bringing with it cold, short days and long dark nights. But, at Bethany Birches Camp the lights are on as construction of the new Pavi continues. God offers his light on the hill which will bring life to the full for all future campers.
– Margaret Campbell
A Light On The Hill – SUMMARY VERSION
Anyone who thinks it’s quiet on the hill because campers departed in August would be very wrong. Drive up Lynds Hill Road. When you reach Camp you’ll see a frenzy of activity. A new Pavilion is under construction. Get out of your car and walk with us to see the construction and meet three people who are critical to the Project.
The Construction Manager is Phil Wilkerson of Bridgewater, who started work in April, 2014. Many people currently working on the Pavilion have some previous family connection with BBC. In Phil’s case the connection is his wife, Mary, who as a youngster, attended Bethany Birches Camp, as did her children Kevin and Sarah.
Phil is a builder, a job he has pursued for 40 years. Are there challenges in his work on the Pavilion? “Yes”, says Phil. Why’s he doing it? “I’m doing it for the kids. If I can make a difference in one kid’s life, then frustrations involved in being construction manager are worth it.” Phil spoke of his grandmother who was a “real people person”. Phil learned many people skills from his grandmother. It’s a good thing Phil picked up those skills because he works with many people on the project—employees, camp staff, volunteers and other professionals.
How does Phil see the new Pavilion impacting kids? “It will be a gorgeous building providing safe and comfortable space to be in nasty weather.” It will include a “great kitchen”. That will be music to the ears of anyone who has worked in the old kitchen. “The building will facilitate the merger of indoor and outdoor spaces illustrated by a fireplace open on two sides.” “The new Pavilion will provide a positive environment,” said Phil. “It will permit the light to shine in on work and play.”
These words remind us of Jesus’ saying–Matthew 5:14—“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
Robert Buchan of Plymouth is the Pavilion Architect. Robert, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is also the father of two long-time campers, daughter Lily and son Andrew. Born and raised near London, Buchan completed his training in the U.K. before coming to the United States where he is a Vermont Licensed Architect. He is a member of the Camp Association.
As an Association member, Robert has been thinking about camp facilities for some time. “There were challenges in designing the new Pavilion,” Robert said “We needed to design something in keeping with the character of Camp. The building needed to be like Camp—a comfortable place. We wanted there to be room for lots of activity but we didn’t want it to look like a gym.
As with other buildings, budget was a challenge. “A big, quality building doesn’t come cheap,” said Robert. How to build a new Pavi without it being exorbitantly expensive was the question. What does Robert hope for the new Pavilion? “I hope That kids will find it a comfortable place where they can have fun and explore.” Robert is grateful to be part of the Camp Association which is strongly behind the project.
See that man bustling around the Pavi construction site, the one with a black dog named Fischer following him? That’s Greg Jenne, the Pavilion Construction Project Supervisor. Greg began work on the project in late summer. Like others, Greg has a personal connection to Bethany Birches; both his daughters, Piper and Izzy, have been enthusiastic campers. “Both of my kids had a great time at Bethany Birches. I want to see this project succeed.”
When asked, “What is the best thing about working on the Pavilion? Greg said, “Knowing that this awesome structure will be enjoyed by children for years to come.” The old Pavilion lasted about fifty years and Greg hopes the new one will last one hundred years. “It will be a beautiful building.” For those who think it will be a newer version of the old Pavilion—think again! There will be lots of warm, comfortable space for a variety of indoor activities on soggy days. There will be a separate camp store and nurse’s station and, says Greg, there will be something known as a ‘Flying Squirrel’—sort of like an indoor ropes course.
Are there challenges for Greg and others? “Yes” says Greg and there will be more such as working through the winter. “Winter work is tough,” Greg notes but “It’s OK because I’m committed to this project. We want this project ready for next summer.” “It will be a beautiful building with neat features,” Greg said, and then he was off to another meeting.
As Jenne reminds us, winter is almost here bringing with it cold, short days and long, dark nights. But, at Bethany Birches Camp the lights are on as construction of the new Pavi continues. Jesus lights up this hill which will bring life to all future campers.
– Margaret Campbell