Archive for the ‘For Parents’ Category

Summer Staff Preview: From Camper to Intern to Asst Counselor to Counselor – GIGI IS BACK!

She was a camper for years, then an intern. Last summer she was an assistant counselor and this year she’s coming back to counsel for the summer.  One of the best parts of being the program director for 10 years is experiencing campers grow into staff and giving a summer to help other youth develop their relationship with God.

I remember the first time Tuna and I met GiGi in the registration line. She asked us if we knew Mike Wenger. She was an energetic member of woodpecker. GiGi hasn’t missed a summer since. She’s continued to ask questions, have lots of energy and be an integral part of BBC summers. We’re excited she’s committed to a summer of counseling before she heads to UVM in the fall.

Read on for why she’s excited to return to BBC this summer and why you should come join her:

“Hi everyone! I am so excited to come back to camp! Last summer was so much fun and I can not imagine a summer without camp in it! I can’t wait to play in the mudpit, sing some great songs and get to learn and share about God. All this is going to be so great, and we have a brand new pavillion so we can have even more fun! Can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones this summer!” -Gigi

Flossie as an Asst Counselor in 2014

Flossie as an Asst Counselor in 2014

Flossie on Crew in 2013

Flossie on Crew in 2013

Can you find GiGi as a camper in 2005?

Can you find GiGi as a camper in 2005?

Flossie Commits to Coming as a Counselor in 2015!

Flossie Commits to Coming as a Counselor in 2015!

Be Thankful Beyond Thanksgiving

November is a time when we remember to be thankful – in between stuffing ourselves with a delicious feast and watching football! What would it look like to be thankful each day? Ask anyone who has been to camp and they would probably agree that being at Bethany Birches Camp makes it a little easier to be thankful. The atmosphere surrounding camp makes it impossible to ignore our miraculous God.

Around seven years ago I was introduced to camp. I went to visit a staff member (who later became my sister-in-law) and went back the following year to become a counselor. I spent eight weeks in the mountains in Vermont. Every week presented different challenges but looking back the lessons and blessings that I experienced will last a lifetime. I am so thankful for every moment I spend at BBC!

Bethany Birches gives me the opportunity to be myself and to teach campers about Jesus. God takes our efforts and our abilities and multiplies them more than we can ever imagine. When it’s time to leave camp it feels like a part of me never leaves, and I always try to take a little bit of camp with me.

If you have never experienced BBC I strongly encourage you to find a way to help out. Everyone is welcome at camp, all have a talent, skill, or ability that can be used to further the Kingdom of God.
As you enjoying thanksgiving allow me to leave you with this passage: Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For The Lord is good and His love endures forever;  His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100: 4,5
Finn (aka Brent Gehman)

Old Pavi Art Sold At Annual Benefit Auction

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

Bid Now

Hope: Looking Forward To Camp

Cheeks reached out to a few campers and staff pre-summer camp and asked what they’re hoping for.  Here’s what she found:

What campers are hoping for…

  • I can’t wait to eat camp food!!! (Anni)
  • Excited to see everyone (Mckayla, Deanna)
  • Learn and have fun (Destiny)

What staff hope for campers… 

  • I hope that campers will encounter Jesus in new ways, be challenged, and have so much fun! (Benji)
  • That they will feel loved and accepted and that they will create life long friendships and learn more about themselves as well as God and the earth they live on. (Hannah)
  • I hope to build connections with each camper, that they will be able to feel God’s love through us! (Sparkles)

Annual Sunday Service and BBQ (Church at Camp)

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.

See you here July 13?

August 9: Pavilion Teardown Hoedown Celebration

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

See you there?

Tuna

UBuildIt: A special summer camp 2014 week at Bethany Birches

Camp is packed full of so many fun activities. While part of my job is to think of new and exciting activities to bring to camp, we have often looked to campers for inspiration as well. From interviews, to camper’s evaluations, to conversations, we want campers to have a voice. If a camper has a creative vision, we’ll run with it.  I imagine this is how the pillow log came to be, and it’s exactly why we installed an archery range. Kids after all have the best imaginations!

This year we are putting on our second consecutive special theme week that looks different from the usual Vermont summer camp program. We chose the title UbuildIt. We are harnessing the imaginations of 50 or so campers to create a very fun and interactive week. Campers will be able to pick their favorite activities when they register. We will plan the week based on these choices. Campers will even have the chance to modify existing activities for each other. Some of the favorites up for modification include Mission Impossible, Pig Trough, Slip N’ Slide, Camp Cinema, Group Games.

So often in this day and age we see young people relying on social media, screens and apps to entertain. This favorites UbuildIt week is going to turn this model upside down and challenge campers to get involved in making the fun! We couldn’t be more excited to see what they come up with.

Are you joining us this summer?

Sparkles

 

Why Camp Has To Be Challenging

This is an excellent article from American Camp Association!

In summary, it promotes the fact that at the heart of camp are the things that build up people.  Hardships. Failures. Homesickness.  I would add, fun, relationships and the outdoors go a long way in this building of a person.

You simply must read this article:

http://www.acacamps.org/campmag/1311/tried-true

Tuna

Giving Creates Happiness (and more money)

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.

Won’t you give it a try?

Give Money     Give Time

Tuna

(aka Brandon Bergey)

Pavi Virtual Tour

Check this out!  Architect Robert Buchan created this short video tour through the building for the recent Camp Association Meeting. We suspect the building to look something like this: