Archive for the ‘For Parents’ Category

Newsletter 2013: BBC TV

For years the wonderful staff and campers at camp have been creating many videos (hundreds!).  A lot of those (less than two hundred) made their way to Youtube. It was such a shame to let them sit there, lonely and unwatched so we decided to create BBC TV.  There are currently four channels: Summer, Winter, Staff and Everything (clever title, we know). You’ll find them here: BBC TV

Newsletter 2013: An Update From The BBC Board of Directors

The annual board retreat was held in January at Jeff Rosenberger’s Springfield Apple Orchard. Phil Bergey was the facilitator. The Pavilion Project is foremost for the director and the board along with the continuing energy needed to carry on the mission of BBC. Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project has been launched to make this dream become a reality in 2014 after the camping season is completed. Building plans, site location, timetables, contractors, current finances, and prospective donors are on the minds of many.
IMG_2918 A comprehensive director’s review has also been undertaken. Recommendations and compensation have been updated. The board is very pleased with the leadership and vision provided by Brandon Bergey and the program director (and wife!), Amber. Public Social Media Policies are also being formulated to keep abreast with modern technologies and social media. The organization continues to seek ways and opportunities to help shape youth and young adults to be productive Kingdom citizens.

Russell Pejouhy, board member – Find Russell’s bio here.

Newsletter 2013: Summer Programs & Events

Event   Age   Date
Staff Orientation17+Jun 15-22
Pilgrim9-11Jun 23-28
Voyager10-12Jun 30-Jul 5
Voyager Extended10-11Jun 23-Jul 5
Church at Camp and Chicken BBQ(Camp staff lead in worship and sharing)AllJul 7 10 am
BBQ following Service
Friendship/ Pioneer 6-9Jul 7-9/7-11
Discoverer 11-13Jul 14-19
Internship15-17Jul 14-26
Explorer 12-14Jul 21-26
Discoverer Extended12-13Jul 14-26
Sojourner 14-18Jul 28-Aug 2
Mission Possible/Crew 11-14/15-18Aug 4-8
Staff De-Orientation17+Aug 9-11
Facility Available for Rent & EventsAug 12-Oct
BBC Annual Benefit AuctionSept 28 10am
Fall Work DayOct 26 9am

Spring Newsletter 2013: Mission Possible, The Pavilion Project

Intel is on a need to know basis. Here’s what you need to know. The effort to replace the old pavilion with a new one is under way.

We’ve been hard at work raising money since October 2012.  Some of camp’s faithful supporters have given generously to achieve nearly $700,000 in commitments already.  The project total is $1,800,000. This will pay for the new pavilion and subsidize program for 4 years (we wanted to consolidate all our fundraising needs for the length of the campaign into one effort).

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make a gift (or at least a commitment) by August 15, 2013.  If you complete your mission you will receive a couple free gifts.

You may gain intel about the free gifts and give here.

In order to proceed, you must watch the video about the project here.


 

At Home in the World: Spiritual Saturday

Among the blogs I read is Generous Matters. It’s largely about generosity, giving and making ourselves rich toward God (rather than just plain old rich). This past Friday, the author of the blog included an excerpt from CS Lewis… I love CS Lewis! Here’s what he wrote in one of his books:

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home on Earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.”

Having read Screwtape Letters, I know that Lewis does not consider it a good thing when we feel “at home on Earth.”  Being at home on Earth makes it hard to be at home in God’s Kingdom.

This summer, we hope to have a ton of fun while discovering together this special place some Christians call God’s Kingdom.  If we trust Jesus’ words, we know that in that place is where we receive “life to the full.”

Tuna

Safety and Care at Camp: Tuna Tuesday

This Tuesday, I decided to write about safety at camp.  Why?  I believe many parents are on some level concerned about some aspect of camp.

For some, it’s the thought of their child being bullied or even worse, abused by an adult.  We could classify these concerns as violence.

For others, it’s less threatening and about every day challenges. Some of the questions may be: will my child have fun?  Will they stay warm?  Will they want to come home?  Will they make any friends?  We might call these sorts of concerns comfort related.

For other parents, it’s about physical harm not caused by a person but by the environment and setting.  Will my child break their leg at group games or while hiking?  Will they get stung by a bee?  I might label these concerns as environmental safety.

So what does Bethany Birches do to address these three categories of safety (don’t get me wrong, there are other areas of safety that we monitor!  But for the sake of a reasonable length blog post, I’ll have to include those in a future post)?

Violence: we work very hard when hiring staff.  We do multiple reference checks, a criminal background check including sex offender registries.  We have a detailed interview.  We ask lots of questions about faith, religion and world view.  Finally, if we notice any behavior from a staff person that is concerning on this front, we let them go.  As for bullying, we guard against this as best we can through maintaining adult supervision at nearly all times, requiring campers to travel around camp with a trusted buddy (like when going to the bathroom) and by disciplining those exhibiting bullying behavior and working closely with them to change their patterns of relating to others.

Comfort: this is a tough one!  Some campers don’t want to admit their cold in front of their friends. Others don’t tell their counselor they wet their bed.  And some times, campers just don’t know they’re uncomfortable!  As a parent, you know that you often have to think for your child in ways they cannot yet think for themselves.  This is what we teach our staff to do.  We teach them to notice how their campers are feeling.  Are they happy or sad?  Are their shoes wet or dry?  Do they have extra clothes to change into?  Does their sleeping bag smell weird?  One of our primary goals for counselors and all staff members is that they would be an excellent guide for each camper.  By guide I simply mean that they would provide a meaningful experience, initiate fun and conversation, and take really good care of each child, including washing their sleeping bag after peed in without anyone noticing!

While life and the outdoors throw all sorts of curve balls like a mean spirited attack from another to a cold rainy day, we desire to always care deeply for each person entrusted to us.  We take seriously complaints from parents and do our very best to get better at keeping kids safe, comfortable and happy so their mind, body and soul can grow while at camp.

Here’s to another exciting, meaningful safe season of summer camp at Bethany Birches!

Tuna

 

 

 

To Each According To Their Need: Price Tiers

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, which has recently been made into a movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 presents ideas that are arguably opposed to the Kingdom of God. Any Rand’s philosophy on the matter of need suggests that people should get only what they earn, regardless of their needs. If you earn it, it’s yours. If you need it, well, you can’t have it until you earn it. She believed that this would create a society full of contributing individuals. Consider that.

Now, consider Acts 4:32-35 from The Message:

32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one— one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them. 34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them 5 was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

I realize that Ayn Rand may not have seriously considered the Reign of God as a legitimate economic model. That doesn’t mean Bethany Birches shouldn’t. Since the beginning of BBC in 1965 we have tried to offer a unique camping experience, creating a community of love with whomever joins and we’ve tried to do this at a low price. While a camping community is a different version of the church than what we see in Acts, there is much similarity.

Obviously, offering something to someone for less than what it cost to provide that something runs up a deficit somewhere. Let’s put this in the context of camp. If it costs us about $400/camper, and we charge $200, there is $200 of expense remaining. Who will pay the remaining $200? Enter: donors.

Bethany Birches was initiated with a donation of land. And since that very first day, our story has been one of people providing money, time and oth- er resources to make the camp pos- sible; an ongoing illustration of God’s provision for kids to have a special, faith-developing experience.

In a board meeting in 2010 we were discussing these issues around the topic of pricing. We talked about the fact that some of our camper families have much resource and some have very little. Enter: tiered pricing.

We are now well into the first summer season using a tiered pricing structure. The highest tier is about what we figure it costs to have a camper at camp (no profit built in). Both of the lower tiers are donor-subsidized rates. Could we consider this a Kingdom economic model? Or perhaps foolishness? Maybe it’s a system easily taken advantage of. Whatever you call it, we’re trusting that the Christ who inspired the craziness in the book of Acts will continue to inspire us and show us a way so that “not a person among them was needy.”

Tuna