Author Archive

Be Thankful Beyond Thanksgiving

November is a time when we remember to be thankful – in between stuffing ourselves with a delicious feast and watching football! What would it look like to be thankful each day? Ask anyone who has been to camp and they would probably agree that being at Bethany Birches Camp makes it a little easier to be thankful. The atmosphere surrounding camp makes it impossible to ignore our miraculous God.

Around seven years ago I was introduced to camp. I went to visit a staff member (who later became my sister-in-law) and went back the following year to become a counselor. I spent eight weeks in the mountains in Vermont. Every week presented different challenges but looking back the lessons and blessings that I experienced will last a lifetime. I am so thankful for every moment I spend at BBC!

Bethany Birches gives me the opportunity to be myself and to teach campers about Jesus. God takes our efforts and our abilities and multiplies them more than we can ever imagine. When it’s time to leave camp it feels like a part of me never leaves, and I always try to take a little bit of camp with me.

If you have never experienced BBC I strongly encourage you to find a way to help out. Everyone is welcome at camp, all have a talent, skill, or ability that can be used to further the Kingdom of God.
As you enjoying thanksgiving allow me to leave you with this passage: Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For The Lord is good and His love endures forever;  His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100: 4,5
Finn (aka Brent Gehman)

12th Annual Benefit Auction

The 12th Annual Benefit Auction was awesome! It was in a tent on the ball field due to the absence of the pavilion. MANY volunteers helped to prepare for the event – from soliciting donations to setting up the tent and parking. And then of course there’s all those folks who bought stuff! And bought stuff they did – $52,000 worth!

We thank friends of camp who were willing to provide auction matches in the amount of $8500. That certainly helped the total. And the bidding.

And we thank Gallagher Flynn for sponsoring the Mini Bike Raffle. Congrats to a camper family from Montpelier area on the win.

For those of you who weren’t there, what was it like to be there? I’m sure everyone has a slightly different report. So a couple facts first:

  • It was almost 80 degrees and VERY sunny
  • There were well over 100 people in attendance including plenty of new faces
  • Sandy Alderfer and Vernon Martin led the way.  Sandy has been auctioneer at the benefit auction since it’s inception (he’s also a hall of fame member and very funny)
  • Many campers performed the role of “runner” i.e. bringing items to the front and holding them up
  • There was a high level of emotion around the pavilion – interest in it, questions about it and (from me) the challenge of it!
  • 16 shoefly pies and funny cakes were handed out during the auction preview

As for me, it was a blessing to participate in this day.  I felt once again the support of the Bethany Birches Camp community and the inclusion of both new members to the community and outsiders.

Won’t you join in next year?  September 26, 2015 here at camp, in the new pavilion!

Tuna

 

Yes, there was even some water slide happening…
Auction Day Water Sliding

Old Pavi Art Sold At Annual Benefit Auction

On September 27, the 12th annual benefit auction will be held at Bethany Birches Camp.

The original pavilion was torn down just a month ago. And we are busily working toward the completion of the new pavilion. And boy is it going to cost some money to build and finish this new pavilion!  Many people have given faithfully, sacrificially and exuberantly. And we are thankful.  More on that in a future post.  This post is about the auction and old pavi art!

Some camp supporters who are skilled craftsmen decided to make some really cool items for the auction out of the old pavilion.  Fred Schlabach and Dave Beidler have been hard at work and they’ve created some incredible stuff.  Fred made a bunch of mirrors. He will explain why he chose mirrors at the auction. He also made a pendant light.  Dave made a table out of the old pavilion posts!  Some of these items will be matched so that when you bid on it your dollar is worth two or three!  Who wants one?!  Can’t make it to the auction?  Place a bid online right here using the codes in the descriptions

Bid Now

Pavi Blasting (with dynamite!)

In order to sink the new pavilion into the ground just the way we wanted it, we needed to do some blasting. With dynamite. The very competent folks at Main Drilling and Blasting did a great job. And now the ground is prepared to finish excavation!

Sparkles put together a video so you could see it – make sure to watch in full screen!

Would you consider helping from a distance by purchasing tickets for the mini bike raffle?!

See The Bike

Demolition: It’s begun

The old pavilion is no more! We have managed to save some posts, roof structure and fire place rocks. A camp supporter (Fred Schlabach) has taken some of the old building and is making art out of it to be sold at the auction. Beyond these items, the building is gone. You can see for yourself on the live pavicam: bethanybirches.org/paviprogress.  Even better, you can watch the building coming down right here (below)!  It was quite a site.

What was really awesome (besides the fireplace crushing through the roof as shown in the video below) were the 100 people who came to celebrate the old building and this milestone in Bethany Birches Camp history.  Seriously – at least 70 people were put to work for a couple hours to empty the old building.  It was awesome!  Thanks to those of you who moved all the old stuff out.

Before you watch the video, allow me to ask for prayer (and money).  We’re trying to sort out the budget right now.  Each day the cost of the building changes as we make different decisions.  The building plan is excellent and will benefit the camp greatly.  As long as we can make it cost something close to the $1.4M we expected to pay. Pray for wisdom in decision making and speedy info collection.  Pray for more money. We still have $400,000 to raise before the goal is met.  More on all of this in the next post.

[button-medium color=”green” link=”bethanybirches.org/give-time-pavi/”]I Will Help[/button-medium]

Hope: Looking Forward To Camp

Cheeks reached out to a few campers and staff pre-summer camp and asked what they’re hoping for.  Here’s what she found:

What campers are hoping for…

  • I can’t wait to eat camp food!!! (Anni)
  • Excited to see everyone (Mckayla, Deanna)
  • Learn and have fun (Destiny)

What staff hope for campers… 

  • I hope that campers will encounter Jesus in new ways, be challenged, and have so much fun! (Benji)
  • That they will feel loved and accepted and that they will create life long friendships and learn more about themselves as well as God and the earth they live on. (Hannah)
  • I hope to build connections with each camper, that they will be able to feel God’s love through us! (Sparkles)

Update: Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project

Where do we start? The fundraising of money has been taking a backseat to construction planning! Current cash and pledges toward the $1,800,000 fundraising goal is $1,375,460 (as of May 30, 2014)! And the fundraising through hands-on assistance is picking up (because we have needed to wait until the construction schedule is more clear). Since our last newsletter, the project has progressed from conceptual to practical. We now have a first set of what is called floor plans and elevations. This really allows us to get serious about budgeting, scheduling, and the long list of choices that are to be made.

This project has filled in any downtime that the staff has had at camp this spring. For me personally, it’s been especially challenging. It has also been invigorating for at least two reasons. One, the challenges have indeed encouraged my learning and honed my skills. Two, I have experienced graciousness, generosity and the miracle of people working together in spite of great odds against that union. For me, these are signs that God’s spirit is alive and present.

Because this project highlights our own inadequacies, yet it continues to move forward, we trust that God is within it and we can say that with God all things are possible.

– Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Annual Sunday Service and BBQ (Church at Camp)

It’s that time of year – time for the camp staff to share about their experiences at camp, including how they’re experiencing God.  And a Chicken BBQ!

You’re invited.  If you can, come up to camp this coming Sunday, July 13, 2014 a little before 10am.  Service starts at 10am.  AND, there’s a Chicken BBQ directly following.  The BBQ is on us (free of charge – however we will take an offering for the Pavilion Project during the service).

As you probably know, the work of Bethany Birches is to create a camp atmosphere where young people can learn, grow and come to faith in Jesus.  This Sunday is about how that work is progressing and how we’ve evidenced God working and moving among us.

This post includes some of the folks who shared last summer.

See you here July 13?

August 9: Pavilion Teardown Hoedown Celebration

It’s a sad day and a glad day.  As you probably already know, our plan, in faith (and assuming all the necessary permits are finalized), is to tear the pavilion down starting in August.  To commemorate the building and the many memories, experiences, transformations, weddings, meals, (fill in the blank – seriously, which memories do you have from the pavi?) that happened under the original pavi roof, a party is being thrown!  And you’re invited.

Come one, come all.

Where: Bethany Birches Camp’s Pavilion

When: August 9, 2014 @ 2pm

What: First, work. We’ll haul a bunch of stuff out of the building. Second, party.  BBQ and square dance

See you there?

Tuna