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
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]
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.
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.
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
This post is about money and time. These are two scarce resources. By the end of the post, I hope to have made a great case for why you might like to accept my invitation to come and give time to camp, or give money, or both. In the giving of these two scarce resources, you will be happier!
I stumbled upon two blog posts this past week, both dealing with the data that shows giving things away (especially money and time) make people happier.
One post was sent to me by my brother (thanks Bryce). It’s here. In it, author Arthur Brooks writes:
In 2003, while working on a book about charitable giving, I stumbled across a strange pattern in my data. Paradoxically, I was finding that donors ended up with more income after making their gifts. This was more than correlation; I found solid evidence that giving stimulated prosperity.
He’s not talking about tax loop holes… he’s talking about the way that giving stimulates us. He goes on to explain:
Psychologists, I learned, have long found that donating and volunteering bring a host of benefits to those who give. In one typical study, researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia confirmed that, in terms of quantifying “happiness,” spending money on oneself barely moves the needle, but spending on others causes a significant increase.
I have seen this over and over again. I’ve been working for Bethany Birches for 10 years now. One of my primary responsibilities is to reach out to supporters and would-be supporters and share the power of camp with them. It’s amazing. When people are here, at camp, they meet and impact young people. Often they catch a vision of a better world. They are inspired to adjust aspects of their own lives, encourage young people and give to the camp. It’s magical… or perhaps a better word is mystical. Mystical is a better word, I think, because it makes room for the possibility that in this process of relationships and service (giving of ourselves and our resources), God enters.
The second post is from a blog I subscribe to called Generous Matters. In her post, Rebekah Basinger references Brooks’ post and adds some of her own words.
Here’s the problem with all this. It sounds suspicious. Until you experience the joy that comes from giving your time and money away, especially to those who need it (like young people at camp), you can’t quite believe that it can provide meaning and happiness.
On February 8, we hosted a Women’s Breakfast at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. When planning began last year, the committee decided to ask Amber to share, and she said yes! The committee also decided that donations raised at the breakfast would go to Camp.
The Women’s Breakfast was a huge success! Amber shared stories from the Hill about “Meeting God in Unexpected Places”. She talked about there being room for conflicting feelings in our lives – like strength & weakness, confidence & fear, when we have Jesus. That sometimes both are present, but the love of Jesus allows us to acknowledge and understand the differences in the highs and lows in our lives, without allowing them to define who we are.
This happens to me every year when we come to shepherd for a week at camp. I love the opportunity to be with the kids, getting to know them better in a one-to-one setting. But I am not so comfortable standing before them and speaking during daily Jump Start’s and Fireside’s. The benefits that come from the relationships developed with campers definitely outweighs my public speaking fears, and the grace of God allows me to have enough confidence to get through the hard part of FEAR so that I can enjoy the LOVE of being with kids at camp.
I was privileged to be a part of the planning committee for this Women’s Breakfast. It is a lot of work, but seeing 115 women, spanning several generations, come together for a morning of fellowship, food and rejuvenation through the words shared is such a blessing! And while fund-raising is not the main focus of our breakfast, we are continually amazed at the wonderful ways in which God works. We had several different donors come forward willing to give $5,000 in “matching donations”! This means that they will match all donations given at the breakfast, up to $5,000. In turn, this encourages people to give generously at the breakfast, because then basically every dollar they give is doubled! I am always amazed by the strength of a community when they work together. Who would think that a breakfast could generate this much funding?
And guess what? We collected over $4,500 on that Saturday morning! Praise God! There are expenses to cover and we are still collecting donations this week. Our goal is to raise as close to $5,000, which will then turn in to $10,000 for camp! As of today (Valentine’s day), we are at $9,000! So I challenge you to think of new, fun ways that you can raise money for the new pavilion. To you campers who ski a lot – what about selling hot chocolate slope-side? What about hosting a pancake breakfast before school one morning? Think about it, and don’t let your fears stop you from doing something that will give back to you and your community… YOU CAN DO IT!!
People often ask how the fundraising for the pavilion project is going. I say really well! It’s been an encouraging so far with many people giving however they can. Many generous donors have given and pledged over $1,225,000. Below is an outline of the gifts we’ve received to date in graphic form. We are elated and grateful for the generosity shown to date and also aware we still have $600,000 to go till we reach the $1,800,000 goal. $1.8M will not only build the new pavilion, it will pay for camp program for four years (2012-2015). The logic takes a little explaining but the short story is that we built the campaign this way so that we could raise the program-subsidy money we raise each year while we’re raising money for the pavilion all with one message. That message is that VT young people need a place for faith-development and that place needs to include programming beyond summer. Our secondary message is very simple: the current pavilion is broken!
Will you help? There are two ways you can help:
We’re still searching for commitments of money. Would you consider a monthly gift of $10 or more?
We’re now seeking commitments of time. We’ll value time commitments at $20/hour. So if you said you could give us a week of time (40 hours), say to do a bunch of painting, we’d count that as a gift of $800 toward the remaining money to be raised. You can fill out the form on this page to let us know of your gift
In other news, I’d like to highlight the biggest gift given to date. It was in the amount of $200,000 and was given by the Clemens Family Corporation (CFC)! CFC (http://www.clemensfamilycorp.com) owns Hatfield Quality Meats, Country View Family Farms, Clemens Development, CFC Logistics, PV Transport and Nick’s Sausage Company. Their vision is quite simply to “steward diversified, profitable and growing enterprises controlled by the Clemens family.” Among their stated values are:
Honor God in all we do
Earn a reputation of high ethics and integrity
Take a long-term view
Share success with team members, community and shareholders
Seek to set commercial standards
Some of the camp’s supporters work for CFC businesses and that is, in part, the connection between CFC and Bethany Birches.
Thanks John, Merrill, Doug and other CFC members for giving The Pavilion Project a huge boost!
Campers say thanks to Pavi Donors!
Campers talk about the old and new pavilions:
And here is a visual image of the giving to date. Pretty amazing to have so many gifts of so many different sizes. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!