Archive for the ‘Donors’ Category

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.

Waiting Lists at Winter Camps!

This past winter has been interesting weather-wise.  Another interesting trend is the uptick in attendance for winter programs.  For the three overnight programs we saw 168 camper days which is 95% of total capacity.  On top of this, there were waiting lists for all three sessions!

As many of you know, winter is so busy for many families in central VT.  We continue to believe that what we’re doing at winter camps is unique and special and that almost all campers would choose it over other activities once they realize how fun and meaningful the weekends are.  It makes mission accomplishment possible if a camper can be here at least once in the summer, once in the winter and one or two other times between.

We are deeply indebted to the many staff and volunteers that make these weekends possible.  Gigi, a college student and long time BBC-er came to be Assistant Program Director three weekends in a row.  A group from PA drove 7 hours each way to help run one of the weekends.  Lots of other staff and volunteers sacrificed rest and relaxation to make winter camp all that it was.

Plan now to join us next year for one of the fun-filled, faith-building weekends as a camper or volunteer in the #BBCsnowGlobe.

Till then,

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Backcountry Ski Experience!

Mission Success

It is challenging to gauge success when trying to accomplish a mission like Bethany Birches’.  We do some surveys after summer and winter seasons to see how we did in a couple different areas.  I just LOVE what came from the surveys this past summer.

33% of survey respondents (parents) rated their child’s experience a 10 or “the best time imaginable.”  33% more rated their child’s experience as a 9. And 24% an 8. Half of all survey respondents said their children “seem more loving or kind” after their week at camp. As I read through survey’s from camper parents post summer I saw this report from a mother about her two campers:

“They both came home singing great pre-dinner songs like, “thank you God, for giving us food!!!!” We loved learning these songs and still sing them before meals! They also learned about how to be a good friend, and how to work well with others. They learned how to do their own dishes which made me very happy!”

I think that part of the reason most campers loved it here last summer (ratings of 8, 9, 10) is because they felt loved, accepted and cared for (fun, great people and great activities didn’t hurt either!).  “Proof” that we are creating the type of atmosphere required to accomplish our mission.  I also take great encouragement knowing that half of the parents surveyed said their children “seem more loving or kind.”  This reminds me of Jesus’ teaching to love God and to love people.  We must become a person filled with God’s love and love for those around us to accomplish this.  If parents are noticing their children becoming “more loving or kind” I bet it’s because what happens at camp is helping people live out this teaching of Jesus and develop a relationship with God.

Mission Success!

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

High School Seniors Start the New Year Serving

Just when you thought pavilion progress was over…2017 started off with pavilion door painting! A group of 8 Seniors (+ 2 adults) from Dock Mennonite Academy spent Jan 3 – 8 doing a lot of painting. The interior doors of the pavilion are clean and colorful thanks to their service.

Painting doors wasn’t their only accomplishment. The group of seniors prepared the mudroom to hang/stack/organize winter gear including skates and skis. Others in the group spent time repainting the floor and walls of the cabin basement. Now the basement of the cabin matches the new bathrooms upstairs. Both are shiny, clean and fresh! The group rounded out their week with various odds and end jobs and finished the week having some fun on the tube run and ice rink!

Why would a group of 8 seniors from PA come to BBC to paint, clean, sand and scrub? Dock Mennonite Academy requires each senior to participate in senior experience week. Seniors have the option to job shadow a professional in a field they have interest in or spend the week serving. We are thankful this group chose to spend the week helping at BBC.

The next time you’re in the cabin basement as a renter or snow camper or the next time you walk through the pavilion door as a parent, renter, camper, staff or volunteer you might be thankful for their work also!

We’re hoping to see some of them in the future while camp program is in session. In fact we hope the same for you! 2017 has opportunity for folks of all ages to experience BBC (including freshly painted doors). Check out summer and winter options. Hope to see you on the hill soon!

Basement floor – before and after

Work Day Recap – Thanks to All!

Snow covered the ground. The temp was rainy and cool. People were few. A lovely day had by all. All good descriptions of Sat Oct 29th at BBC.

A group of 12 folks worked at getting the grounds ready for winter and tearing out the cabin bathrooms. The volunteers who braved the blustery weather took down tarps at shelters, put away picnic tables, stacked wood, set up sand barrels, cleaned up the garden and disassembled the volleyball net and nine square in the air. The volunteers inside tore apart the cabin bathrooms. In Larry Derstine’s words, “I don’t really like bathroom renovations.”  Well I don’t either but they were in sore need of help.

I was outside a lot of the day. At first I was slightly discouraged by the weather but when I saw Nick Champine’s look of sheer glee as he rode around the gator with Dan “Chick” Laubach I felt much better. A little later Caitlyn “Judith” Laubach and I and enjoyed laughing about cleaning up the garden while it was under snow. I was struck with the odd contentment that accompanies serving alongside others. I got to know people better, help the camp and enjoy yummy lunch with all who were present. I’m reminded Jesus doesn’t encourage us to serve as another set of rules to follow but as a way to experience contentment that is otherwise hard to find.

Volunteers joining us on work days is also what allows BBC to keep costs low for campers. It’s a win-win!

Stay tuned for details for other service opportunities at camp (and if you want to come up now, we’re still working on the bathrooms)!

Cheeks.

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