Archive for the ‘For Parents’ Category

Summer 2014 Dates

Summer 2014 Dates are here!

As usual, there will be all sorts of good things to follow.  Updates on special features, blog posts from counselors, videos and more.

But for now, here are the dates (http://www.bethanybirches.org/summer-camps/):

 

2014 Summer Camp Schedule

Program

(pages with specifics not yet updated)

Length

Age

Date

Friendship1/2 week6-87/13 – 7/15
Pioneershort week7-97/13 – 7/17
Pilgrim1 week9-116/22 – 6/27
Voyager1 week10-126/29 – 7/4
Voyager Extended2 weeks11-126/29 – 7/11
Discoverer1 week11-137/6 – 7/11
Favoritesshort week11-148/3 – 8/7
Explorer1 week12-147/20 – 7/25
Sojourner1 week14-187/27 – 8/1
Favorites Crewshort week15-188/3 – 8/7
Internship2 weeks16-186/29 – 7/11

Goals

Flo here again… have you ever set a goal? Camp has a goal… to raise $1.8 million for a new pavi so that campers can keep coming to camp for many years. When I was first asked to help that seemed like such a big number… and it is! But we’ve already raised $1.2 million!

What kind of goal would you like to achieve? Is there something you’d like to challenge yourself with? Last weekend, I had the pleasure of running with Sparkles and Benjamine in their first ever race. It was awesome! They both set a goal and reached it. Make a decision today to challenge yourself and set a goal… YOU CAN DO IT!!

– Flo

BBC Teen Campers to Ethiopia

Campers will teach you just as much as (if not more than) you teach them. I share this mantra with staff often throughout orientation. Staff  and campers prove the saying true for 8 weeks every summer at Bethany Birches Camp (BBC). A few weeks ago I experienced the mantra to be true for myself as well. Three BBC teen campers reminded me of what it looks like to love God and love people.

About 6 months ago at BBC’s 2013 April Connect for Teens, Annie and Katie Soho told me I should join them on a service trip to an orphanage in Ethiopia in August*. The offer was tempting. I perseverated for about 6 weeks until I finally declined. Recently I was browsing pictures from their trip and reading about their stories (I’m still waiting to hear in person) through an article in the Valley News** and I’m wondering why I didn’t join them. The pictures and comments struck me as love in action. Specifically loving the least – children and widows. The campers were carrying out the beliefs I claim and share each summer.

For the past 10 summers I’ve shared God’s 2 most important commandments: Love God and Love People. As each summer concludes the post summer blues inevitably sink in. I miss the excitement and energy of young people at camp. I miss the staff. I feel like the beauty of camp is wasted on the emptiness. I wonder if any campers heard anything this summer that will change their lives. Over the course of their summers at BBC – Annie, Katie and Flossie heard something. These 3 girls have been hearing this message for a long time from camp, from their churches and from their families. These BBC campers not only heard a message to love others but put the message into practice. They sacrificed 2 weeks of their summer to serve in Ethiopia. Campers continue to teach me.

Annie, Katie (and their mom Sandy) and Flossie inspired me. Following their journey to Ethiopia and back again has inspired me to not just stay on the hill of a lonely camp but to move into the world (or invite the world to me) to love God and love people. I don’t know that I’ll be heading to Ethiopia anytime soon but right now I’m inspired by these 3  BBC campers to consider how I can live out now what I share all summer. How do I love the love and serve the people around me now? I’m learning more from these campers than they are from me.

 

*Selamta Family Project is an organization that seeks to place orphans in forever families. Find out more here.

**I waited too long after the article to post this. You can’t seem to get to the article anymore online. If you’d like to read it in full let me know, I think I can get my hands on a copy.

 

 

Experience The Auction

Apple cider, maple syrup and donuts, oh my! Have you ever experienced the BBC auction? Let me give you a glimpse into the things that touched me this past weekend:

Campers come and help sell the items on the live auction by presenting the items to the audience – little do they know what an impact that has on the sale of the item!

Counselors and staff return with donated items- or they are like “mystery shoppers”, proxy bidding for those online bids that have been submitted.

People travel from places far & wide to come spend a day in the beautiful countryside and support camp.

A fabulous auctioneer from PA comes with his entourage to most definitely get more money per item with his perfect blend of humor, compassion and philanthropic encouragement.

Items are baked, chopped, squeezed, pressed, fried, ground, and cooked with loving hands to provide nourishment for the crowds and yummy additions to the sale!

Oh yes, and then the money…. People pay crazy amounts for everyday items. 15 people chose to simply donate $200-$400 each to send a camper to camp. And a wonderful “matching donor” (Glenn and Diane Moyer) agreed to double what was raised per dollar for any amount raised between $20,000 and $40,000.

Maybe it is because I didn’t grow up going to auctions that I am just awed by it all. Maybe because I truly love BBC – the place that it is, the kids, staff and counselors, and all that it represents. Maybe it’s because I know that there is something bigger than me out there, and He always shows himself to me when I’m there. Whatever the reason, I left the 2013 BBC Auction with a thankful heart and a happy soul. And the icing on the cake is that through all of this we keep making progress towards this wonderful goal of keeping the camp alive and thriving for generations to come. With the additional money raised, we have now raised well over $1 million towards the goal of $1.8 million for a new pavilion at camp.

For more information on that project (Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project) go here.  To read about the auction totals go here. Photos of the auction day go here.

If you like what you see here, share it with others! “Like” us on Facebook! Repost a blog! Tweet about it (@BethanyBirches)! You can use #MissionPossible, #WithGod, #ThePaviProject Tuna loves to use the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”. This was so evident this gorgeous, amazing weekend in VT. Praise be to God, thanks be to all of you and blessings to all the kids who continue to develop their relationship with God.

Flo

(aka Beth Goshow)

Mission Possible Communications Manager

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THE $1100 GOLDEN SHOVEL

Online Auction Bidding Form

Place your online auction bids from the item of the day email below. You can also visit the total listing here.

The form has been taken down for this year’s auction.  We hope you can make it out to the event Saturday!  If not, plan to join us September 27, 2014 for next year’s event!

 

Greetings friends!  I’m pasting the Annual Benefit Auction Online Bidding Form here so that those who are receiving the item of the day email can come straight here and place bids.  Not receiving the item of the day emails?

[button-medium color=”green” link=”eepurl.com/puW8r”]Sign up for emails[/button-medium]

 

Why Camp Counseling Is One Of Your Best Resume Builders

“It’s a good thing they hire 20 yr olds because they are the only people crazy enough to do it!” A current friend of mine and a former BBC counselor was recently referring to the job of camp counseling. It is a crazy job. At BBC counselors care for kids 23/5.  Counselors are responsible for cooking meals for campers, sharing Jesus with campers, consistently increasing the fun quotient and creating community among a group of young people who have just met each other. Talent, patience and a desire to keep learning are required for this type of job. Each summer BBC recruits high quality young adults to serve as camp staff. No wonder I miss them so much when they leave!

My friend and I are not the only ones to notice the high quality of camp counselors. An article in Time Magazine reports that “many educators have come to recognize that summer camp, and specifically being a counselor, fosters precisely the skill that we value so highly in young adults: taking responsibility.” The article suggests camp counselors should receive more notice and benefit because “the camp-counselor experience prepares successful young adults through teamwork, empathy, cross-cultural understanding, ability to work with subordinates and superiors, creativity, working under pressure and managing with limited resources.” What other experience packs this type of learning and development?

After reflecting on this past summer at BBC I find myself so thankful for the staff who spent 8 weeks helping the youth around them develop their relationship with God and who continue to develop themselves into people who will surely spread God’s kingdom here on Earth.

Read more from the Time Magazine Article here: http://ideas.time.com/2012/07/10/aummer-camp-can-it-make-kids-more-responsible/

 

 

Let your teen (17 year old) do whatever they want

In his blog post, Jonathan McKee explains an experiment he and his wife performed on their teenager.  He writes:

Our theory was basically this:  Start strict, and loosen up as our kids get older, eventually freeing them from all boundaries by age 17½.

Guess how it went… not bad!  In fact, it allowed their daughter to begin a deeper relationship with them.  Their idea was that at age 18 she can do whatever she wants. The figured they may as well let her start doing that at 17½ so that  they would still have some influence before she left the house.

Jonathan writes:

Discussions with us were no longer about trying to convince us to give her permission—she already had that. Now conversations were about what she was learning from her decisions, good and bad.

She began talking with us about decisions even more. When she wanted to drive over 2 hours to San Francisco with her friends (the furthest she had ever driven), she wanted to know all about traffic, directions and safety. Not because we made her, but because we were “safe” to talk with.

Genius parenting!  Now when she leaves for college, she may stay in touch.  I’d encourage you to read the whole article.

What do you think?  Want to try this out when your son or daughter hits 17½?

Tuna

Bethany Birches in The News for Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project

Greetings friends. The below blog post was written by a friend and consultant, Mark Vincent.  He has been working closely with me (Tuna) on our campaign to rebuild the pavilion.  This summer we are entering the “Public Phase” of this effort and so I thought I’d share it with you this “Tuna Tuesday”.

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Capital campaign communication: 2 awesome examples

We learn so much from our clients. Occasionally we can pass the benefits along.

I have been privileged to work with Bethany Birches Camp as they ready themselves for their first big capital campaign. Their Executive Director, still in the early stages of his career, is an outstanding example of someone who knows he doesn’t know and is therefore able to learn and grow and put a lot of long-timers to shame at the excellence he is already achieving.

Most noticeable is the way he, the board and volunteers have been able to inject the organizational culture of the camp into all their campaign communication. Whenever the constituency interacts with them they are having a camp experience, not just a communication from the camp. Here are two awesome examples:

1. Their video that introduces the campaign and makes the case provides an excellent standard other organizations can aspire to reach:

 

2. A recent update on an unanticipated project that could have harmed momentum conveys a non-anxious, thankful, yet light-heartedly determined way forward. Anyone who participated can find themselves in the blogs/photos etc. that are linked in the note. It provides a great personal touch mixed with the benefits of social media and web. Here is the text:

Greetings friends.  I’m writing with deep joy in my heart for each of you.  As you probably remember about a year ago we received some tough news from the fire marshal: that the Bethany Birches Cabin would be shut down April 1, 2012 until we complied with numerous requirements.
One of my biggest concerns was how we’d pay for the upgrades to the building.  My second concern related to how to get the work done.  Because of you, the work was finished and paid for!  THANK YOU!
Some goodies for you:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of this effort and for your ongoing help in Bethany Birches’ mission to help young people develop their relationship with God.  Without you we would still be without the use of the cabin!
Brandon
 

And here is one more idea.  Why not take these examples to your development and/or communications team to view and then ask what is one step we might take to better inject our organization’s culture into our communication–especially in a capital campaign? How might our constituency have an ongoing experience and not just another communications piece?

-mark l vincent

mark l vincent, design group international

 

Originally posted at Design Group’s blog

Newsletter 2013: Snow Camp Synopsis & Summer Highlights

The winter of 2013 was a busy one at BBC. Campers, staff and volunteers all enjoyed the endless snow, adventure and excitement that filled the hill from December 2012 – April 2013.

Polar Bear is Back: Polar Bear Camp returned as the third weekend long snow camp this winter. The weekend was exclusively for 6th – 8th graders. Jr. High-aged campers enjoyed being together for their own weekend with Middle School specific activities and topics.

The Game of Seasons: The benefits of hiring an assistant program director for the winter were numerous! One of the benefits included a creative new game that intertwined education about animals’ different needs during different seasons, utilized the space of the cabin and connected to our theme of changing seasons for the weekend. Lynx campers reaped the benefits of this new game and were requesting it be brought back for summer!

Valuable Volunteers: Each snow camp requires significant volunteer input for the weekend to run smoothly. The Franconia Mennonite Church Young Adult Group came to meet all the volunteer needs for the Polar Bear Camp. One young adult served as the shepherd, others cooked and others played the role of counselors. Together they made a great team, brought a ton of fun for campers and served as great role models of service for each of us. We hope they’ll be back!
Mission Impossible Pose

Summer Highlights:

Summer 2013 Theme: Mission Possible. Matthew 19:26 says “With God all things are possible.” The theme this summer will aim to teach campers how to be WITH GOD and why this is the only mission worth pursuing.

NEW WEEK! Mission Possible Week! Every summer campers ask to play Mission Impossible more than once in a week. We finally caved. This week is all mission impossible all the time. The week requires campers to work together to solve the week long mission! Campers must have played Mission Impossible prior to this week in order to attend.

Cheeks