Archive for the ‘Donors’ Category

Fire Marshal Visit

This post is about a sad story.  It’s the story of the BBC Cabin the day the fire marshal came to visit.

Bruce and Jay were friendly and clear.  They have concerns about how quickly people could get out of the building in case of fire.  They gave us a conditional permit, which ends April 1, 2012!  After that, no one can sleep in the building until it’s amended to meet Vermont Life Safety Code.

How big of a deal can 8 violations really be?  Apparently a big enough deal to cost $20-$30K (un-detailed estimate) – YIKES!

So I tell the board.  They wisely came to the decision that now is not the time to upgrade the building as we hope to someday.  We must stay focused on the pavilion project.  We’re oh so close to beginning the fundraising effort for that.  So, the vote is that we amend the building as simply as possible in the least expensive way we can.

For those of you who are wondering about these violations, here’s the first draft of a punch list:

ViolationRemedyNotes
1.No Egress window main floor bedroomsInstall 1 egress windows in each of four bd. rms.Window to be 5.7 square feet
2.Stairwells out of code. upgrade wall material. install 20 min doors. install closure on door. upstairs build wall. 4 stairwells. drywall. doors
NoneAdd heating in loftNeed heating because of closure to lofts
3.No exits in loftsInstall exit door in each sided (2 total)Need exit stairway from floor to ground
4.loft ceilingInstall sheetrock
5. inadequate Co2 detectorsInstall hardwired Co2 with battery back-upRun wires with smoke detect system
6.No smoke detectors in basementInstall 2 smoke detectors in basementPart of total smoke detect overhaul
7. no emergency lightingInstall emergency lighting system
8. inadequate fire alarm systemInstall new fire alarm system with communicationsClarify what communications system is
NonePainting and other touchups related to construction

And so here we are.  We MUST do the above if we want to use the building this summer in program.  CAN YOU HELP US?  HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO HELP:

  • Give money!  Just the materials are going to cost over $10K (EDIT on 4/6/12 – materials will probably be closer to $30K!).  Send a check or give online here and give to general operations or where needed most.
  • Give time: we’ll need volunteers to do most of the work.  Consider getting a small crew of experienced people together and come up for a weekend.  A few experienced laborers can make a big dent in just two days.  Call the office or email Brandon.
  • Give material: perhaps you own or have influence in a supply chain that could get us sheet rock, lighting, paint, etc.  If it’s in the above list, we need it.

And so the story of an old camp, that’s doing the best it can, continues.

Something very interesting to me is the fact that I had a two hour emotional cycle after the fire marshal’s visit.  At first I was frustrated and annoyed.  Then, humility kicked in.  So often, when I receive correction, direction, instruction, if I am able to release my frustration, I begin to sense God at work.

God, join us in this endevor and in all of our endevors.  I pray that you will bring the resources and people needed to acomplish this change and that it will not distract from the bigger things ahead.

Pavilion Project: Survey Results

Recently, some of you (141 to be exact) filled out a survey to help us understand the support you have for this project.  The results were helpful and meaningful – thanks!  See the bottom of this post for more context on this project if you’re not sure what all this is about.

Some highlights from the survey results include:

  • Estimate that together you may support this project to the tune of $425,000 in cash
  • Estimate that together you may provide expense offsets to the tune of another $500,000
  • The project as it is conceptualized is well supported among you, specifically these ideas:
  • Additional rainy day space
  • Winter space that allows campers to get and stay warm during winter program
  • Ability for staff to do their jobs well, with less stress
  • The continuation of the pavilion concept (rather than a traditional building)
  • The possibility of a “Barn Raising” meaning, lots of opportunity for volunteer help and labor
  • Support for the current leadership, vision and mission of BBC
  • Diversity around the importance of “Green” construction
  • Diversity around the term rustic and just how rustic BBC ought to be and remain

The cost estimate for the total project including all related expenses and fundraising for normal operations is estimated to be between $1,600,000 and $1,800,000.  Bear in mind that there are many factors that go into these estimates and the project cost and the estimated revenue could change quickly depending on any of those factors.

So here we are.  At a cross roads.  How much faith do we put into these estimates?  How big of a problem is it that there is a $700,000 discrepancy between what is needed and what might be raised?

These are extremely tough questions to answer.  We know we don’t want a mortgage.  We know we need to move forward with this project.  We know God has done unusual things at BBC in the past.

We as a board are looking closely at whether we can overcome the perceived money gap by phasing the building from the outside-in.  If this is possible in a way that is desirable, we will be able to proceed.

———————————

A little context:

For years we’ve been planning toward a more sustainable Bethany Birches (BBC).  One that relies deeply on the wisdom and guidance of our gracious God.  And at the same time, a Bethany Birches that doesn’t need to raise quite so much money for annual support.  A BBC that understands deeply the heart of it’s ministry and is consistently able to find the right people to carry out the work of it’s mission.  And this is the ongoing lesson in humility – to do this work while at the same time recognizing God as the giver and sustainer.  It’s something we’ve been working out for over 47 years now.

Our planning and probing has revealed various things and sparked passionate conversation.  The immediate next step in our work is replacement of our program head-quarters… the Pavi!  It was the first building on site in 1966.  It was added on to in 1968.  The building has lived well and been used well.  It’s old, broken and in many ways can’t do what we’re asking it to do.  For more on the intentions of the project, see this post.

Ski Okemo

To anyone in grades 9-12: join us this weekend at the Jan. Connect.  On Sat., Jan. 7 we will go skiing before heading back to camp for the rest of the weekend.  And get this – it’s only going to cost you $10!  Thanks to Neil and Hamish Dewar – the tickets are on them – thanks Dewar’s!  NOTE: $10 tickets limited to the first 10 campers.

So, if you’re coming to the Jan. Connect and you’d like to get some skiing in, let us know.  Email camp @ bethanybirches.org to get your name on the list.

Details

  • Register for the program and let us know you want to go skiing.  Add $10 to your payment.
  • If you already paid for the weekend, bring $10 with you.
  • You must have a parent-signed permission to participate along with you.
  • We’ll have two places and times for meeting:
  • Plymouth Country Store at 7:30am (store is on Rt. 100 and is closed now)… you’ll drop you stuff for the weekend off there and that stuff will be taken to camp… you’ll take your ski gear with you and go to the mountain
  • OR, meet at Okemo at 8am at the drop off area at the Clock Tower Base Area… 77 Okemo Ridge Road, Ludlow, VT. There is an unloading area right next to the clock tower. This is the main area of Okemo.  You do NOT want to go to the Jackson Gore area. We will meet at this unloading area around 8am. Call Brandon at 802-432-8989 if you need help finding us.
  • Price – $10
  • Lunch – bring your own lunch or money for food – you’ll get dinner when you get back to camp.
Again, to get on the ski list, email or call (802-672-5220).  We’ll save a ticket for you!
Tuna

Wish List

Greetings.  Sometimes, supporters will ask what we hope for, what we need to do the work of Bethany Birches better.

Well, most of what we want isn’t what we need and most of what we need can’t be put on this list.  But, there are some tools and other things that will help us do our work better.  Some of these items will make our jobs easier.

If you are able to acquire, buy or otherwise gain for us, any of these things, we will be grateful! And, you can get tax benefit too.

THE LIST (right now)

  • Trail work – lots to do!
  • Benches for fireside sites – we need help on design and materials and install
  • Basketball court repair – $$
  • Large Generator – 15KW to 30KW – preferably PTO driven on 3 point hitch OR propane set in place
  • Pressure washer – ours broke
  • Tools – particularly ratchet set, wrenches, cordless drill
  • Paint brushes and other painting supplies
  • Ladders – step ladders 6′, 8′ or 10′ as well as extension ladders – 16’+
  • Wheel barrow (or two)
  • Logging/Farm winch for 3-point hitch attachment for a 30-40 horse tractor
  • Garden Hoses – flexible… rubber works best!
  • Large mower (52″ or 60″) – our 1970’s model Gravely is almost dead
  • Silage wrap – in large sheet (50×100) – for the ice rink!
  • Pond Beach Enlargement – Excavation services.  Eventually we need to dredge the pond also.
  • Director’s Residence – walkway from front porch to driveway
  • Volunteers during the summer

To Each According To Their Need: Price Tiers

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, which has recently been made into a movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 presents ideas that are arguably opposed to the Kingdom of God. Any Rand’s philosophy on the matter of need suggests that people should get only what they earn, regardless of their needs. If you earn it, it’s yours. If you need it, well, you can’t have it until you earn it. She believed that this would create a society full of contributing individuals. Consider that.

Now, consider Acts 4:32-35 from The Message:

32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one— one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them. 34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them 5 was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

I realize that Ayn Rand may not have seriously considered the Reign of God as a legitimate economic model. That doesn’t mean Bethany Birches shouldn’t. Since the beginning of BBC in 1965 we have tried to offer a unique camping experience, creating a community of love with whomever joins and we’ve tried to do this at a low price. While a camping community is a different version of the church than what we see in Acts, there is much similarity.

Obviously, offering something to someone for less than what it cost to provide that something runs up a deficit somewhere. Let’s put this in the context of camp. If it costs us about $400/camper, and we charge $200, there is $200 of expense remaining. Who will pay the remaining $200? Enter: donors.

Bethany Birches was initiated with a donation of land. And since that very first day, our story has been one of people providing money, time and oth- er resources to make the camp pos- sible; an ongoing illustration of God’s provision for kids to have a special, faith-developing experience.

In a board meeting in 2010 we were discussing these issues around the topic of pricing. We talked about the fact that some of our camper families have much resource and some have very little. Enter: tiered pricing.

We are now well into the first summer season using a tiered pricing structure. The highest tier is about what we figure it costs to have a camper at camp (no profit built in). Both of the lower tiers are donor-subsidized rates. Could we consider this a Kingdom economic model? Or perhaps foolishness? Maybe it’s a system easily taken advantage of. Whatever you call it, we’re trusting that the Christ who inspired the craziness in the book of Acts will continue to inspire us and show us a way so that “not a person among them was needy.”

Tuna

New Arts and Crafts Program

Thanks to one Beth Horst, we are doing a bunch of new arts and crafts activities this summer.  She has much skill in this area and managed to put together a set of new activities for us.

Pictured is Cheeks holding the book and a sample necklace.

Thanks so much, Beth and family, for this great gift!

This brings me to another point. Mike, her husband, recently bought us a set of GPS devices that we’ll use to introduce Geocaching this year!  And don’t even get me started on the map that Mike has created for us.  So sweet!

Thanks to the Horst family (Mike & Beth) for continuing a long tradition of Kingdom building at Bethany Birches which Mike’s dad, Earl started when he came with a bunch of relatives that we refer to as the Musser Woodcutters.

God will provide.  Sometimes God’s providence has nothing to do with our desires and that confuses us.  How can a father turn away his hungry child when his child asks for bread? And you reply by asking, what about all those starving children in Africa?  That brings us to the Bread of Life.  And sometimes, the bread that we have been charged to offer our brothers and sisters in Africa is different from the bread God is offering to all.

Tuna