Archive for the ‘For Parents’ Category

13th Annual Benefit Auction Review

Hey Camp Friends!

As you may have heard, the 13th Annual Benefit Auction was a huge success! I’m here to tell you more about the day.

Crisp and cool, everything that an autumn day in Vermont should be. Add just about every fall staple; we really had the perfect day: warm homemade doughnuts, fresh apple cider, hot coffee, an enthusiastic community, and the myriad of colors just starting to show among the trees in the surrounding hills. Something that stood out to me was this sense of joy among everyone who was at camp that day. From campers tossing apples to be pressed into cider, to board members working hard in the kitchen and behind the scenes, to every auction-goer. Whether they were working, or simply sitting in a plastic lawn chair, everyone was there for one common reason: to raise money for kids to come to camp. At its peak there were around 170 people together at one time. I found this to be an amazing testament to the power of camp (one of many I would experience that day).

My favorite moment of the auction came when it was time to “bid” on camperships (scholarships to pay for camp weeks). Each cost $400, and as soon as the auctioneer called for bids, hands were raised. 19 donors in fact.  Some of them even raised their bidder numbers more than once for a total of $8900 raised for Kids to Camp Fund. It was beautiful!

After the auction ended, everyone shared lunch together, sponsored by Gallagher & Flynn. As the afternoon went on, some people left, and some stayed to enjoy hayrides, pavilion tours, and even a Dutch Blitz tournament! After having dinner together, provided by Jesse’s BBQ, everyone gathered for fireside, a common camp tradition. We heard from Audie Bellimer about his first summer at camp, back in the first years of summer camp. We also heard from Alison Charbeneau about her camp memories. After that, anyone was invited to share their memories and stories of camp throughout the years. We closed by singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” together. I could not think of a more fitting hymn to encompass God’s goodness and provision for camp throughout the last 50 years. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, celebrating camp’s history and bright future.

Ok, now let’s talk numbers. Through bidding, camp store purchases, apple cider and related products, and chimney stones, the total amount raised was $52,500! All of this goes to pay for campers who can’t pay to come to camp AND the new pavilion. $13,000 of that sum was raised for the new chimney. This is the most money raised through the auction yet!

For more details from the auction, visit bethanybirches.org/benefit-auction. Here you’ll find information about how much each item brought, photos from the day, and 50th Anniversary merchandise available for purchase online! Now, mark your calendars for next years auction, September 24th, 2016!

We sincerely thank every volunteer, staff member, camper, and auction goer. We could not have done this without you. Heck, we can’t do camp without you, and many others! We hope and look forward to seeing you next year!

-Benji

Bethany Birches Turns 50! Join the Fun Sat. Sept. 26

It’s true. BBC is 50 years old!  The first summer of camping was 1965.  Wasn’t long after that and winter camp was added to the mix.  Then facility rentals for weddings and other program groups and activities. We haven’t looked back since.  We’re celebrating and honoring the past on the weekend of September 25-27.  The full schedule is here.  Won’t you come and join the fun?

Speaking of fun, the big day is Saturday September 26.  The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast.  The breakfast is for those staying on site.  You can rent your camping shelter here.  The shelter is $50 for the weekend and meals are covered on Saturday.

After the breakfast is the Annual Benefit Auction.  And then an afternoon of fun!  Here’s the schedule:

  • All afternoon!   Pond Open (Boating, Swimming, Fishing-Pick Up Rods and tackle at the camp store) (Everyone under 18 must be accompanied by someone 21 or older)
  • All afternoon!   Table Activities
  • All afternoon!   Yard games (Whizzball, Gaga, Kube, Volleyball, Basketball, Playground, Disc Golf-Start at South side of Pavi at the Disc Holder)
  • 1:30-3:30         Water Slide Below the Gaga court with Whitt
  • 1:30-2:00         Pavilion Tour Start in Parking Lot with Tuna
  • 2:15-3:00         Then-Now Photo Tour of Camp Start at the Bell with Cheeks
  • 2:00-2:30         Hay Ride Start at the Bell with Nanuk
  • 2:30-3:30         Hike to Perimeter Trail / Tree House Start at the Bell with Rouke
  • 3:00-4:00         Craft at Craft Hut Craft Hut 
  • 3:00-4:00         Dutch Blitz Tourney (All ages welcome!)
  • 3:30-4:00         Pavilion Tour Start at the Parking Lot with Chad Yoder
  • 4:00-4:30         Hay Ride Start at the Pavi with Nanuk
  • 4:00-4:30         Gaga Variations (Never ending, Teams, etc) Gaga Pit with Chick
  • 4:30-5:00         3 v. 3 Gaga Tourney (Come with your two teammates! All ages welcome! Winning teams gets a prize!) Gaga Pit with Chick
  • 5:30-6:30         Dinner
  • 7:00                   Fireside

I do hope you’ll join us for all or at least part of the day.  There will be 50th merch and all sorts of goodies.

Happy Birthday BBC!

Tuna

Staff Sneak Peak: Introducing DAN as Interim Program Director

For the first time in a decade someone other than Cheeks will hold the role of BBC Program Director. While Cheeks is learning how to take care of a newborn, Dan will be leading the BBC Summer Program. Both people are excited for the summer ahead of them. Read on to find out more about Dan and why he’s excited to be at BBC this summer:

“The Lord’s hand was clear in guiding me to this place. After spending months looking for jobs at a camp, the Lord brought me on a trip from Pennsylvania to Virginia where I heard about this job in Vermont. I’ve been on site for just a few days now and have already fallen in love with the camp; the rustic atmosphere, my loving and godly co-workers, and of course the gaga pit! I’ve already sat down with Cheeks and done some major planning for this summer, and let me say, it’s going to be AWESOME! I’m so excited to present some amazing new games and activities that I’ve learned at my other camps, while bringing back some classic BBC camp games!”

Dan has a host of experience in camping. He spent the last 6+ summers working at camps and he grew up at camp. He recently graduated from Cairn University with a double major in Bible and Music Education. He’s been at BBC since Wednesday and already he’s seen most of camp, eaten at Ramunto’s and played games with Nanuk. COME JOIN US on the hill this summer to meet him in person and find out his camp name!

Dan Laubach as Interim PD for 2015

Dan Laubach as Interim PD for 2015

Cheeks is Pregnant!

Yes, it’s true. Her due date is June 26. We’re posting here to make sure the whole Bethany Birches family knows this exciting news.  This will be our (Tuna and Cheeks) first child.  We were so busy with camp for many years that we didn’t consider children.  One day, Cheeks turns to me (Tuna) and says by the time I’m 30, I want to know if we’re going to have children. I said OK.  30 came and went.  So did 31.  By the time we were 32 we were ready for a child.  And in our 33rd year, we will have a baby, Lord willing.  It’s amazing how God works in our hearts and adjusts our perspectives over time.

As you know, June, July and August are the three busiest months of the year here at camp.  Probably not the ideal time to welcome a new person into the world.  But, we are.  And we are thankful for the opportunity to have a child.  So the camp started looking for an interim program director since Amber will not be able to do her job this summer.  We offered the position to Dan Laubach and he accepted.

The full story on staffing at camp, in case you’re wondering:

  • I (Tuna) will continue to be the Executive Director
  • Cheeks may or may not return to her post as Program Director (she is allowed a little more time to decide that)
  • Dan, the interim Program Director, is committed through October at least.
  • Many of the summer staff are returning from prior years.

If you’re at camp this summer, you will recognize many of us from past summers.  And you might even see baby Tunacheeks!

Hope to see you at camp soon!

Tuna

(aka Brandon)

 

 

Pavi Construction Update April 1-30

What a month! The pavi has been transformed from a partly finished shell to an almost summer-ready building…well, parts of it.

Progress could not be made without the help of so many volunteers! People have come from far (PA) and close (Lynds Hill Road) to help get the pavi ready for Summer 2015.

Progress also could not be made without the daily efforts of the Jenne Construction Crew. We’re thankful they braved the mud season & cold spring temps to keep moving the pavilion closer to finished!

Despite all the progress that’s been made during the month of April there remains quite a ways to go! Do you have anytime during the month of May to join us in getting the pavilion ready for summer? Email us or call the office to let us know when you can come. If you can’t come to help in May be sure to join us this summer! Bring a camper or come volunteer!

Read on for a recap of pavi work throughout the last month.  Click the link to see Pavilion Progress Pics and the people who have been doing the work.

Pavi Construction Update week of April 6
Another exciting week at BBC! A group of 13 are here from Salford Mennonite Church (Harleysville, PA). In one day (Tues) they’ve put decking on the porch roofs, started shingling, aided Harold Bergey with the electrical progress in the kitchen and continue to prepare the downstairs for insulation and sheet rock.  The crew of Jenne Construction continues to steadily move the pavilion towards completion. Pray for good roofing weather this week as many hands make the work light!

 

Pavi Construction Update: Week of April 13

There continues to be lots of action on the hill this week to move the pavilion towards a certificate of occupancy by June 1! Inside the building a team of electricians are finishing up the rough wiring and spending time on a lift to prepare the high pavi ceilings for lights. Many thanks to Harold Bergey who’s here for the third straight week and his posse of volunteers: Will Bergey, Marlin Bergey and Neil Bergey from Bergey’s Electric (Hatfield, PA). Andy Bird (Bridgewater, VT) has been volunteering his VT Masters license all week too! Roy Snell (Woodstock, VT) Ken Hershey and Larry Derstine (Bridgewater, VT) have spent 2 days shingling and siding. Nancy and Russell Pejouhy and Jeremy Ebersole (Tafstville, VT) have spent time staining interior boards. RFactor is here spraying insulation downstairs. On Tuesday Nevin and Job Mast (Oley, PA) spent the day installing piping for a central vac. Audie Bellimer (Bridgewater, VT) is making sure propane is ready to be used in the kitchen. Jon Blanch (Wallingford, VT) continues to spearhead the heating efforts. And the crew of Jenne Construction steadily contributes to pavi progress each day!

Pavi Construction Update – week of April 20:

Today marks 6 weeks exactly until we would like to gain conditional occupancy and start moving into the new pavilion.  In some ways, that seems like a long time. But it’s not!  There is much to be done before that point. If you’re able to give some time (or $$$) between now and June 1, please do!

This week a group of 10 guys from Blooming Glen Mennonite Church is volunteering.  R-Factor insulation experts are on site doing spray foam.  Jenne Construction is here, of course.  Local volunteers (Betsy Tonkin, Marcia Bender, Calef Hepler, Naomi Moyer, Joanne Hershey and others) are staining board after board.  Porches are being finished and then siding will continue with help from Ken Hershey, Roy Snell and Larry Derstine.  Roofing will continue as weather allows (it snowed some today, April 20).  Electrical rough in is nearly done and finishes are starting.  Pray with us for ongoing safety and good times.

Pavi Construction Update – Week of April 27: 

Harold Bergey is back to work with Andy Bird on underground electrical needs. Dale Snader of Dale’s homes donates time and machines to dig trenches. Ken Hershey and Larry Derstine contribute their carpentry expertise to every aspect of the building. John Blanch continues to move the heating work towards completion. Jenne Construction completes the shingling on the 2 story part while making headway on drywalling the kitchen. Tuna, Greg and Robert discuss phasing with the fire marshall in an effort to gain conditional occupancy by June 1.

Come join us and be part of the May Update!

Pic of Pavi on April 1, 2015

Pic of Pavi on April 1, 2015

Pic of Pavi taken May 1

Pic of Pavi taken May 1

 

See more pics here!

Summer Staff Preview: Frodo to Float

After being a camper (many summers), an intern (’11), an assistant counselor (’12) and the counselor of Partridge (’13) and taking a summer off (’14) Frodo is returning to try out a different staff position: Floating Counselor! Each camper will get to have Frodo as a counselor at some point during the week. Read on for why she’s glad to be back at BBC and why you should come too!

“Look out summer of 2015, this is going to be like one you’ve never seen! Who is ready for some crazy fun times up at BBC this summer? I know that I am! I am back on staff this summer and I can’t wait to share wonderfully fun times with friends new and old! It will be a grand time at camp this summer soaking in the sun, running around in the woods, singing praises to our precious Jesus (and silly songs too!), and who knows what crazy new adventures we will all be having together! I know I am looking forward to swimming in the pond and working in the garden (maybe we can even cook some of our camp-grown food!). More than anything else I am excited to get hugs from you all and spend a week- or two!- doing all sorts of fun things together!” – Frodo

Frodo on Staff '13

Frodo on Staff ’13

Frodo as a camper!

Frodo as a camper!

Frodo commits to returning!

Frodo commits to returning!

BBC Trivia in your Mailbox

You should have received this brochure in your mailbox. There are 2 errors in it! If you match the dates in the brochure to the website (bethanybirches.org/summer-camps) you’ll find it. The website is correct! FIRST PERSONS TO EMAIL  THE ERRORS to camp@bethanybirches.org receives 10% off camp registration! Don’t feel like digging through to find the answer? SHARE THIS Blog POST on FB and get 5% off camp registrations!

We’re thankful to Kellyn “Benji” Boyden for creating such a beautiful brochure. Next year we’ll proofread more carefully!

Hope to see you this summer!!

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TBT: Polar Bear Campers in the New Pavi

Impressive. Well Constructed. Beautiful. These are words people have used to describe the new pavi when look around the construction site. But the word we hear most is BIG. And it’s true. There is a lot of space in the new pavilion. Outside of renovating the kitchen, more (dry) space was one of the main motivators for a new pavi. And now we have A LOT OF SPACE. It’s easy for me to think of all the  games, activities, etc campers and staff can play in that space. But that’s my job.

At Polar Bear camp in February I asked campers to consider what they might do in this space. Before they started making cardboard sleds they acted out activities that would take place in the new pavi. They had no trouble coming up with ideas. Look below to see a couple of the ideas they came up with.

I hope they’ll each come back and use the new space this summer.

Will you come too? (Bring a camper, volunteer, or come to the annual sunday service)

If you want a sneak peak of the new pavi before summer come on up to volunteer anytime between now and June!

-Cheeks.

Nye and Campers are ready to play 4 square in the new pavi!

Nye and Campers are ready to play 4 square on the porch of the new pavi!

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Benji and campers are ready to sing prayer songs in the new pavi!

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Ru and campers pretend to sing in front of the designated spot for the fireplace in the new pavi.

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Ray’s campers are ready for fun!

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Buoy and campers are ready to eat in the new pavi during inclement weather!

 

 

Summer Staff Preview: Romie Returns as 3Peat Counselor

They say the third time’s a charm. No doubt that will be true for Romie! Romie started as the counselor of Hummingbird in 2013. She returned to Hummingbird for a 2nd summer in 2014. She has a unique ability to listen and lead, sing and play and share God in a way that makes sense to each individual she interacts with. When I asked Romie if she’d consider returning for a 3rd summer I was delighted to hear her say, “Yes. I believe I’m not done learning at BBC.” Read on for more on what Romie is excited about and why you should join her this summer at BBC! (It’s very possible that if you join Romie this summer you may hear this as a song…)

“I’m excited for:

Salamanders, smiles,

New and old faces,

Giggles and mud piles,

And three-legged races!

Over-the-fire-cooking,

Great conversation,

Bird watching and looking,

And summer hydration!

Singing, swinging,

Loving and caring,

Gauntlet-ball flinging,

And being a bit daring.

But mostly I’m excited

To simply see YOU!

Because camp is the people,

(And it’s the place too).

Romie and Campers

Romie and Campers

Romie's Staff Photo

Romie’s Staff Photo

Romie Commits to Summer 2015

Romie Commits to Summer 2015

Romie is one with the earth

Romie is one with the earth

Romie FacePaints at '14 Discoverer Carnival

Romie FacePaints at ’14 Discoverer Carnival

Romie in the Mud Pit

Romie in the Mud Pit