Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Benefit Auction 2013 Gross Totals

Greetings Friends!  Here’s a message I wrote internally just now (to board, staff and auction committee).  It’s so exciting I just HAD to share it with everyone!


I just did the math and here’s what it seems we’ll receive (gross) when all payments are made.  This of course does not include any further rounding up people may do ( or any mistakes I’ve made!).  I’ll publish the net when we finalize that and receive outstanding payments.

Cashier including (live and silent bidding and raffle tix paid cash/check)24500
Bidding (live and silent NOT paid to date)3830
Bidding (live and silent paid by Credit Card)9146
Snowmobile Raffle sold BEFORE auction980
Cash Box From food/beverage540

TOTAL = $38,996.

When we add the match to that we’ll be pushing $60K raised from the day!!!  As a German-speaking friend of mine says: “awe inspiring”
Thanks to each of you for your part in making the day a success and for your commitment to helping young people develop their relationship with God!
To God be all praise, honor and thanks!  And to many who gave items to be sold and who bid on those items.  As the saying goes, “it takes a village.”  Here at camp, we say it takes a community of love.  And how fun to be part of that community!
In case you missed out on the fun, you can do three exciting things from this post:
[button-medium color=”green” link=””]Get Camp Emails[/button-medium]     [button-medium color=”green” link=””]View Winning Bids[/button-medium]    [button-medium color=”green” link=””]Make A Donation[/button-medium]

Living with Cheeks is a gift! Spiritual Saturday

Many of you know Cheeks.  She’s been the Program Director at Bethany Birches for many years (this will be her 9th summer).  She also happens to be my wife.  We got married after working here at camp together for a few years.

To me, Cheeks has been a gift from God.  Let me explain:

Many days I realize this through various circumstances.  Today, I realized it again.  This time it was related to the fact that she doesn’t get distracted by stuff (you could even say she doesn’t care much about stuff).  Seriously.  She doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on stuff.  She uses stuff until it breaks down entirely.  If she looses something, she shrugs it off and mentions that she didn’t really need it anyway.  Take her purse/bag for example.  Right now, there’s a hole in it and one handle has broken off.  She’s still using it.  If it broke entirely, she might never get a new one.  She might use another bag in the closet or fill her pockets.

I am quite different.  I like stuff.  I like high quality stuff and I like when it performs well.  If it gets scratched or damaged, I like to repair it.  Take my bike for example.  I rode it today and it was wet.  When I got home, I hosed it off and set it in front of a fan to dry.  I washed it so the chain was free of grit and used the fan so that nothing would rust.

Tuna Cheeks Thumbs UpHere’s the thing.  We only get so much time on Earth.  Old people tell me that it goes fast.  Researching, getting and taking care of stuff takes a lot of time.  And, those of us who care about our stuff can at times be on the verge of caring too much for it.  This is part of why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his stuff.

Back to me and Cheeks.  She is a constant example of what it looks like to care less about stuff.  With her attention not focused on stuff, she tends to focus on people… and she’s very good at considering others!  Not only is this a blessing to me, it’s a witness.

I hope you find a way to bless those you live with today like Cheeks blesses me.  When that way is unclear, look to Jesus.  He will show you.


Newsletter 2013: Snow Camp!

A lot of snow + campers + BBC= SNOW CAMP!! Undoubtedly campers love going to camp: to see friends, to see the staff, and at BBC- to learn more about God. We (a group of volunteers) had a great time with the campers in a non-stop action packed weekend, but the focus wasn’t necessarily on snow – It was on God.

Something that stands out in my mind from the weekend was a conversation that a couple of us (volunteers and campers) were having. I remembered one of the campers – he has a brilliant mind but had a hard time processing the existence of one almighty God. He and his family tended to be polytheistic and as we talked about the story of Elijah found in 1 Kings in the Bible, he asked some really good questions – like, “Why did Elijah call upon Baal to bring fire down when that wasn’t Baals ‘gift’ or ‘power’? He wasn’t the god of fire so of course he won’t be able to send fire down on the altar.” Hmm, good point. We continued to go deeper, yet at some point he seemed to reach an impasse, to which he said, “I’m a skeptic…” as if he thought that by saying that I would stop asking questions.  We pressed on.  He said that it would take a REALLY BIG miracle to prove to him that the God of Abraham is real.

IMG_7573It was a blessing to be a part of that discussion. He was processing the Christian story. He was asking good questions. He has a deeper knowledge now than he had before – whether that translates into a trust in Jesus and eventual service of God’s Kingdom is yet to be seen.  At least a weekend at camp filled his heart and mind with knowledge of the truth. Sometimes these conversations can be a challenge, but they’re the ones that can also bring about the most change and can give us the most encouragement to keep going, to keep proclaiming the message of the gospel to a world that so desperately needs to hear it, see it, feel it, experience it – and Bethany Birches IS all of those things to EVERY camper!

Scott Kratz, Volunteer


Tuna Tuesday: Life to the full

I was writing in my journal this morning after reading a booked called Enjoy the Silence. Great book. Geared toward teens but relevant to adults.

In my reflection, I was thinking about the fact that last summer was our second most attended summer ever. And that high attendance came after a spring of virtually no advertising and very little marketing. We were focused on the cabin renovations and simply being able to use the building in time for summer.

Any increase in attendance couldn’t be traced to communications work done that winter and spring. I believe it was God who brought the increase. For me, this is a reminder that it is God who sustains all things (and even lets us partner sometimes in this effort – like when we tend our gardens). It’s God who provides the air we breathe and the life we were born into.

Pray with me that we will remember this each day and that once again, this summer, God will bring many campers so he may inspire them and encourage their hope and faith. We are told that faith is what pleases God. And with God we have life to the full.

To another summer, experiencing life to the full!



Mt. Washington & The Life of Faith: Tuna Tuesday

So yesterday I hiked up the back side of Mt. Washington with some friends.  We wanted to get some late season skiing in!

I have a cool GPS map but there’s an error with the file.  If you could see the map you’d notice that we were all over the place! After hiking up, we walked to different areas of the mountain to see how the skiing was over there (and then over there… and over there). We did this because we didn’t know the mountain very well and wanted to find out where the sweet spots were.

Tuna and Friends Mt WashingtonThis is not so different than the life of faith.  For example, Jesus tells us in the Bible that he is “the way, the truth and the life…”  For many years, it was hard for me to understand what that meant.  I hadn’t experienced him enough to know that what he said is true or understand how it worked.   I hadn’t found out where the good skiing was, yet, so to speak.  In fact, yesterday I had to trust that there was good skiing up there somewhere.  And I trusted that there was because many people have said so, and, I had been there a few times before.

Tuna and friends on mt washingtonWhen we got down, one friend mentioned that he feels like he knows the mountain much better now.  (He’d better – we spent 10 hours walking around on top of it!)  When following Jesus, in faith, it feels very much like this.  A little like wondering around for a while on top of a mountain.  And, we get to know him better after spending time with him or trying out something he said.  Then we come to a knowledge of him.  Knowledge of him (or of the mountain) is beyond faith in him (or trust that the mountain will have some sweet spots).

Just one of the many reasons I’m excited for Summer Camp 2013.  Another chance to explore the life of faith and come to know Jesus.  Please share if you too are excited for camp (or have been up Mt. Washington in the spring!).

What about you – what’s the life of faith like for you?







Spiritual Saturday: Buoy is Excited for Camp

Dear campers,

I’m coming back to BBC and I am excited!!  I was unable to be at camp all summer last year and that has made me even more excited for group games, GAGA, the water trampoline, Wet n’Wild Wednesdays, the slip n’slide, cooking over a fire, and so much more. Fun is everywhere at camp!

Along with the fun I am looking forward to the serious relationships that camp builds. My hope is that I can grow the relationships that I have started already while creating new, meaningful, ones with all the campers I am going to meet for the first time this summer. I have learned so much in the last year and a half since I was last at camp and I can hardly wait to share what God has been doing in my life. I also look forward to all the things that you all as campers will teach me.

All of you campers should come back too because everyone at camp is important. That is another reason that I could not stay away from camp for another year. Everyone is welcome at camp. I have never been another place that was as welcoming/accepting as camp.

You should also come to camp this year because we have one of the coolest themes ever. Mission Possible! I think I have a little bit of a bias opinion because the theme relates to one of my favorite bible verses, Philippians 4:13 “for I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” You should come back to camp because we can do everything through Christ so who knows what might happen this summer. Whatever mission God give us is possible. The theme also makes me think of mission impossible one of my favorite games to play at camp.

Lastly I know I will not be alone there is a group of staff coming to camp that I am sure are great.  I have already started to ask that Christ give me the strength that it takes to play games and talk about God, so that we can make this summers’ mission possible. I’m excited to see all of your smiling faces at camp summer.


Making Friends

It’s Tuna Tuesday in our Excited for Camp Campaign.

I’m excited for camp because it’s when camp comes alive.  It’s when people are singing all the time. People are [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”N3bzb-fjVG4&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”getting messy”] all the time (then cleaning up).  It’s when I get to run out of the office to play group games or four square or pretend to be really angry about something which sets the stage for a Mission Impossible skit for the coming night.  It’s a time when my faith in Jesus is stretched, challenged and encouraged.  It’s a time when I make new friends.

That brings me to my next point – making friends.  In her blog post from 2011, Pepper talked about the relationship building that happens here at camp.  And it’s one of my favorite things!  Ever since college, I learned the value and joy of community.   And at Bethany Birches, we talk a lot about building community.  Particularly a community of love.  The kind that lets us see God smiling at us.  God is often near, it’s just that we often have a hard time seeing him.  And somehow, at camp, as we build a community of love together, we can see God more often.

I hope you’ll join us this summer to make some new friends and hopefully, see God.  He’s often not far…

Summer Dates are Final!

Despite the snow on the ground and the fast approaching winter camps we are gearing up for another summer of fun, God, friends and nature. We’ve finalized the dates for SUMMER 2013, added a few programs to mix it up and will be ready to accept registrations NEXT Friday (Jan 18). Keep in mind, if you register within the first week of registration opening you’ll receive a $50 discount!

See the sessions and dates below and stay tuned for opening of registration, updates on new programs and the announcement of 2013 summer theme! Summer’s coming, are you?!

Pioneer – Ages 7-9; July 7-11
Pilgrim – Ages 9-11; June 23-28
Friendship – Ages 6-8; July 7-9
Voyager – Ages 10-12; June 30 – July 5
Voyager Extended – Ages 10-11; June 23 – July 5
Discoverer – Ages 11-13; July 14-19
Discoverer Extended – Ages 12 -13; July 14 – 26
Explorer – Ages 12 -14; July 21 – 26
Sojourner – Ages 14-18; July 28 – August 2

New to Summer 2013:

  • Mission Possible Week – Ages 11-14; August 4-8: It is exactly what it sounds like. A week where we play the favorite game Mission Impossible MORE THAN ONCE! This week is for returning campers who love the game, love camp and want to learn more about completing the mission that is LIFE. More details to follow.
  • W.O.W (week of work) – Ages 15-18; August 4-8: A week of work for any returning teen camper who wants to spend more time at BBC. Opportunities to help in various ways will abound along with plenty of time to hang out with friends and experience God in new ways through serving those around you. More details to follow.
  • Shortened Pioneer Session (ages 7-9)

There’s not better place to be during the summer than BBC! Hope to see you on the hill:)

Tracks in the Snow

The hill is finally snow covered. Actually, camp is snow buried.  For those of you that have seen me at a snow camp, what I’m about to write might surprise you. My heart sinks when the snow starts falling. There’s no arguing the snow is beautiful. Clothed with adequate warm weather attire I love to go tubing, snow shoeing, skiing, snow painting or falling in the snow to make a snow angel. What I hate about snow is driving in it! I hate the fact that the roads I drive daily become unpredictable and dangerous. The additional travel time is detrimental to a chronically tardy person. I don’t enjoy the increase of blood pressure and white knuckles that are my body’s response to driving in the snow.

The other day I was lamenting all of the above as I watched Tuna drive away in inches of snow towards Killington. It’s so natural for Tuna to drive in the snow. As I pondered the many differences between us small indentations in the snow caught my eye. The indentations led straight to a tree. My gaze then caught another set of tracks. These were much bigger leading from the road to the woods. I was suddenly reminded that I am not the only one adversely affected by the snow. As the snow gets deeper moving around the woods becomes more challenging for some animals. The whereabouts of animals become more easily detected after a fresh snow fall. Despite the increased challenge, God gives these animals adaptations to make snow survival more possible. I was reminded of the adaptation God has given me in an AWD Subaru to get around in the snow. Despite my fear, I can usually get where I need to go in the snow.

I hope that someday I become more comfortable traveling in the snow but after 5 winters of white knuckled driving on the hill I’m not so sure I will.  At camp we often look around us to attempt to learn from nature. Seeing animal tracks in the snow reminds me that despite increased challenge, fear and adversity God gives each creature the resources required to live. (Philippians 4:19) God provides us with whatever we need to make our mission possible.

Come see for yourself, join me on the hill this winter for some animal tracking:)

Animal Tracks by the Tipi_Jan 13