Archive for the ‘Donors’ Category

Program Director transition: you will be missed Chick!

Why do all good things come to an end?  So that new good things can begin!

Dan “Chick” Laubach has served as program director since May 2015. He has decided to finish his service at Bethany Birches effective the end of August 2018. He has made important contributions (and will continue to this year… and he evens plans to volunteer beyond this year).  While he was program director, summer and winter registrations were opened earlier than ever.  I believe that has contributed to the ongoing increase in attendance (in fact, half of programs offered in a calendar year have waiting lists… we’re expecting even more waiting lists this year).  Chick has also contributed to a professionalism in the office.  He has helped to upgrade policies and procedures and has sharpened some of our marketing and communications plans.

I very much appreciate the amount of time he has allowed us for making the transition.  He is going to continue managing the program throughout this winter and summer.  He will depart at the end of summer 2018.  If a replacement is found in time, I would consider him/her starting as soon as May 2018 for maximum transfer of knowledge, ideas, practices etc.  However, if an ideal fit is found, we would start them whenever works best for them.  The search for a new program director will begin shortly.  We have some backend work to do to clarify the type of person we’re looking for and finalize some details.  In the mean time, if you or someone you know has interest, please do reach out to me.  Call the office, email or even text if you have my number.

We give Chick a big round of applause and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.  Most importantly, may you be guided by God’s spirit and at peace into the unknown.  Thanks for your service and can’t wait to see you back here as a volunteer.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

15th Annual Benefit Auction

This year brought the 15th Annual Benefit Auction. This particular Saturday was abnormally warm.  A perfect match for the abnormal generosity at the auction.  We started out with Larry’s syrup.  Each quart sold for $400!  That’s abnormal.

Did you know that in the first 14 years of the auction the event has raised $400,000 to help make the Bethany Birches Camp experience accessible to all? This year’s event continued that trajectory! $51,042 was the total given during the auction this year thanks to many generous donors (both items and dollars) and a friend of camp who matched item #50 (Camperships) with $10,000! You can see the live bidding items and sale amounts here.

People coming out to the auction included friends as close as a stone’s throw from camp and more distant attendees from VA and PA and other nearby states.

One of my favorite things was seeing a few campers so excited to help that they waved items they were displaying and even danced a bit!

Please mark your calendars now to attend the 16th Annual Benefit auction scheduled for September 29, 2018!

Living Water

Thanks to Erin “Tye Dye” Dye for this guest post.  Tye Die is the camp shepherd this summer:

Thursday evenings this summer have been an opportunity for holy moments. Counselors have gotten to know their campers really well by the 5th night, campers submerse in good vibes from the week and excitement to go home, and for our worship times, this evening is a chance to have an “a ha” moment with the theme and how it relates to their own lives. During our Thursdays the last four weeks, we have looked the story of the woman at the well and her unexpected conversation with Jesus. When Jesus offers her living water, he shows us that he cares for everyone, even the unlikely people (a woman frowned upon by society as well as a Samaritan). As refreshing as the idea of living water sounds, this is an abstract concept of cleansing aspects of ourselves that we can’t pinpoint or see. In efforts to visualize the invisible, campers and staff participated in a demonstration to see the implications of receiving Jesus’s living water. Participants had an opportunity to pour something into a communal cup of water to make it cloudy (ketchup, mustard, pepper, etc.), and share something that personally clouds or weighs down their own spirits. Then as a group we enjoyed the visual of pouring overwhelming amounts of clean water (representing Jesus’ living water), flooding the cup and pushing out all the junk that we put in and that weighs us down, leaving us refreshed and free of burden. Campers consistently reported enjoyment of this activity and deeper appreciation of God’s desire to help us carry and bring relief for our burdens. It’s been a beautiful catalyst moment for the spiritual component of camp.

Campers have shared experiencing God at many different points throughout the summer.  One of those experiences I was fortunate enough to witness as God worked through our high school campers. After one of our small group times, the girls of this particular cabin had heavy hearts over the things they shared and put in the cup during the demonstration. In an effort to put their minds at rest before going to sleep, the cabin counselor opted to pray for each girl of the cabin out loud and proceeded to highlight the delightful characteristics and joys each girl brought to the cabin. At the end of the counselor’s prayer, I had planned to pray similar things for the counselor leading the prayer. However, I never got the chance because the moment she paused one of the campers jumped at the opportunity to pray and pour encouragement on their counselor, and when she finished another camper took a turn to pray for me! This moment was not only pleasant to be prayed for, but more so to witness campers receiving God’s love through our program all week and a strong desire to return the experience. This also meant our campers felt comfortable enough to pray out loud in front of their peers, unprompted, and live out the example Jesus calls us to in encouraging and building one another up in our faith. Although the work of camp is long and challenging at times, it is certainly not without reward!

~ Tye Dye

Summer Camps Almost Full

Summer is under way and we are excited!  Summer 2017 is shaping up to be Bethany Birches’ most attended summer in our 53 year history.  You can see the current capacity of camp that remains open and which sessions are full on the 427 page.  If you see a session you’d like to attend and see that it’s full, it may be worthwhile putting your child on the waitlist (as cancellations do happen).  To do that, just sign up like you normally would.

To those of you who helped spread the word about Bethany Birches Camp and our rustic, relationship and skills developing, faith-building camp program, thank you!  Please continue to share with your friends all that Bethany Birches has to offer: from unique and awesome summer and winter camp programs to weddings and other facility rentals.  It takes a village to raise a child and we need all of you to help in that work. If you’re reading this and don’t have children camp age and don’t have use for the facility, consider sponsoring a camper this summer.  Give to the Kids to Camp fund or join us at the annual benefit auction to make it happen.

Pray with me that this summer will be like all the others before it – that God’s presence will be experienced and that each person will be filled with God’s love, mercy, hope and joy.  Come see for yourself as a volunteer.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Bob Walks: Tree Houses, A Pine tree and Dementia

My wife Anna Mae and I recently completed a driving trip from Pennsylvania to South Dakota.  We visited our empty-nest daughter Jenelle Miller (a former BBC camper and years later, counselor) and her husband Craig.  This trip allowed me opportunity to exercise “out-of-the-box” activity recently encouraged by my health care specialists for management of my mild dementia.  It is hoped that this type of activity will help my mind to “connect the dots” of my life’s everyday experiences so I can feel better connected.  The challenge of this new dementia-dimension of my life has contributed considerably to my decision to begin my BBC WALK.

During this 13-day trip, my footprint was left on the roadsides of the 8 states we traveled through.  In our 2,688-mile round trip travels, I noticed the ability, particularly in the Prairie States, to sight single objects at increasing distances away from the eye.  In the final leg of our trip west we were approaching the SW corner boundary of Craig and Jenelle’s farm and we noticed an 80-90 year old scotch pine tree in the distance.  Days later, this corner tree was sighted 2 miles away as I walked westward on the county road.  The tree can also be sighted 3 miles away from east to west. It has marked the Miller farm for four generations, a “connecting dot” for all their family that they are nearing home.  This is experienced by all as change and renewal.

There exists another stalwart tree located in the BBC community.  It is known as the tree house which provides shade for flowers, a perch for the birds, and a resting, out-of-the-ordinary place for campers to which counselors take them for an evening fireside and night sleepover away from the hustle and bustle of daytime camp activities.  The tree house is built at a height where campers can look down on the flowers, and across at the birds; a “connecting dot” for both campers and their environment.

When Anna Mae and I visited the tree house years ago, we wanted to linger for some time.  Just imagine a camp cabin of Warblers and their counselor flocking to the tree house/Nest . . . (new name?)  for a sleepover!  This BBC “point of interest” provides one of many opportunities for children to be introduced to Jesus, a super “coming home”.

– Bob

Visit the fundraising page for Bob’s walk to support BBC.