Archive for the ‘Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project’ Category

Pavi Hoedown Teardown: Thank You!

Sometimes the task ahead of us looks too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

When completing a thesis became a requirement for graduate school I wondered if I would pass. (I did.)

When driving over the Killington Pass in the snow became necessary to go home I wondered if I should rent an apt in Rutland. (I didn’t.)

When a group of new summer staff shows up each June and many campers are registered to join us I often wonder to myself, “hmmm, how will this go?” Each summer has gone well, with plenty of lessons along the way. (Except for 2009, that summer was really hard!)

When Tuna told me we needed to have the pavilion packed up, prepared for tear down and host a party the day after 8 weeks of summer camp ended, I laughed. Usually, the day after summer camp ends, I sleep. For a very long time.

The task seemed too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

Then a large group of people showed up. People of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, and camp connections came to help.

I started to realize the day was going to go differently than I expected when one of the Musser Woodcutters (a group of men who have been coming each November to cut firewood for camp for the past 15+ years) walked into the pavi just before 2pm with his wife. They live in central PA. After hugs and greetings they both asked, “what can we do?” Lynette got to work in the kitchen and Merle hauled stuff from the pavilion to various places on the gator.

Board members arrived ready to get their hands dirty. Shoot, they even brought their spouses and kids!

Rouke’s Mom and Dad arrived at the start and took apart the water fountain, the kitchen and some of the walls! Campers from past and present came with their families and cut trees, cleaned out the craft hut, organized and boxed up the nurse’s station, moved kitchen supplies, put the craft hut on trees, and all the while smiled and asked what else they could do to help.

Volunteers who have been around since the start of camp cleaned out the recycling shed (which had not been fully cleaned out for an embarrassing amount of time), took apart electrical things and continued to ask, “what else can we do?”. Sharkbait’s (assistant cook ’14) family spent time moving the cubbies to chickadee and organizing items in their temporary homes.  Chad Yoder and Austin Landes started in well before 2pm, moving the ball box, taking apart the mural, and dismantling the sound system. Jeff Rosenberger and Dale Snader drove their trucks and trailers around camp property moving heavy kitchen appliances. They too, did all this work smiling and always asking what else can we do?

Local carpenters salvaged pieces of the old pavilion to sell at the upcoming benefit auction. Althea and Jane inventoried, bagged up and organized the camp store supplies. Phil, Denise and a crew of helpers provided everyone with a great meal, sans kitchen!

It wasn’t long until I had no answer to the continuous question, “what else can we do?” And it has taken me too long to say THANK YOU to each person who came to help with the Pavi Teardown Hoedown.

And now, as various challenges with each step of the building process arise, the task of replacing the Pavi seems too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

Then I remember the Pavi Teardown Hoedown. I also remember the volunteers who come to help each summer. I remember what BBC shared with campers for the duration of Summer ’14: God will build God’s people up by using God’s people. That is the story of Bethany Birches. God uses God’s people to build a community of love.  Bring on the task of building a new Pavi.  Only with God are all things possible. May God inspire you to help build the new Pavi.

#We would be building #withGod

 

Conversation with Martin Excavators

On the day of pavi demolition my mom proved how well she knew me by asking:  “How is Amber (Cheeks)? She does not like change.” Normally I try to avoid change until it’s too late and then move forward with whatever is in front of me. Even though I know change is necessary and good, I’d prefer to avoid the process.

However, Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project is cramping my normal style.

Exhibit 1: Right now instead of a pavilion there is a large hole in the ground with a growing pile of dirt next to it.

Exhibit 2: Behind the hole, in front of the bath house,  sits pavi .50 (the roof of the former pavi sitting atop 2 storage bins).

Exhibit 3: The craft hut has been moved towards Frisbee Golf Hole #2.

Exhibit 4: There are ‘blasting mats’ in the parking lot and a consistent stream of very large machines.

Exhibit 5: Each day a few people are at camp who are not college age staff or local youth but instead builders, excavators, and architects, who are mostly men, none of whom seem to have interest in singing silly songs or swimming.

This time the process that comes with change is unavoidable.

Despite the process of change happening at camp, 3 guys this morning didn’t seem to notice. Martin Excavating (Nope, Bruce, Andy Blanchard) is here getting the site ready for a new building. I arrived at camp about the time of their morning coffee break (I enjoy a slower pace after camp…). The first comment I heard from these strangers were “…remember hiking down to the cold pond for swimming…when I was here we stayed in army tents…Is Nevin Bender still alive?…I sat on that rock many times…Remember playing softball in the field across the road?…I bet I sat in this very spot before!” Each of the 3 excavators working on site today attended camp as young people before BBC had a ballfield, pond or basketball court. This morning they didn’t seem to notice how things have changed or are changing. Instead they shared great memories and laughs. They seemed completely comfortable and happy to be back. They ended their coffee break with laughter and reminiscing and I started my day with laughter and excitement for the good stuff that happens here – past, present and future.

The change in building is unavoidable. The memories created here and the experience people have here doesn’t seem to be changing.

Demolition: It’s begun

The old pavilion is no more! We have managed to save some posts, roof structure and fire place rocks. A camp supporter (Fred Schlabach) has taken some of the old building and is making art out of it to be sold at the auction. Beyond these items, the building is gone. You can see for yourself on the live pavicam: bethanybirches.org/paviprogress.  Even better, you can watch the building coming down right here (below)!  It was quite a site.

What was really awesome (besides the fireplace crushing through the roof as shown in the video below) were the 100 people who came to celebrate the old building and this milestone in Bethany Birches Camp history.  Seriously – at least 70 people were put to work for a couple hours to empty the old building.  It was awesome!  Thanks to those of you who moved all the old stuff out.

Before you watch the video, allow me to ask for prayer (and money).  We’re trying to sort out the budget right now.  Each day the cost of the building changes as we make different decisions.  The building plan is excellent and will benefit the camp greatly.  As long as we can make it cost something close to the $1.4M we expected to pay. Pray for wisdom in decision making and speedy info collection.  Pray for more money. We still have $400,000 to raise before the goal is met.  More on all of this in the next post.

[button-medium color=”green” link=”bethanybirches.org/give-time-pavi/”]I Will Help[/button-medium]

Update: Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project

Where do we start? The fundraising of money has been taking a backseat to construction planning! Current cash and pledges toward the $1,800,000 fundraising goal is $1,375,460 (as of May 30, 2014)! And the fundraising through hands-on assistance is picking up (because we have needed to wait until the construction schedule is more clear). Since our last newsletter, the project has progressed from conceptual to practical. We now have a first set of what is called floor plans and elevations. This really allows us to get serious about budgeting, scheduling, and the long list of choices that are to be made.

This project has filled in any downtime that the staff has had at camp this spring. For me personally, it’s been especially challenging. It has also been invigorating for at least two reasons. One, the challenges have indeed encouraged my learning and honed my skills. Two, I have experienced graciousness, generosity and the miracle of people working together in spite of great odds against that union. For me, these are signs that God’s spirit is alive and present.

Because this project highlights our own inadequacies, yet it continues to move forward, we trust that God is within it and we can say that with God all things are possible.

– Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

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

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:
 

BBC’s Year End Report (2013)

This past Saturday night, we had our annual meeting at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock (thanks for that FCCW!).

It was a good turnout as seen in the picture above.

The agenda included reporting, visioning and a pot luck meal.  One thing we wanted to show but didn’t have time for was Robert’s fly through of the new pavi.  You can watch it over here.

During reporting, we covered much of the annual report.  You can read it for yourself right here.

For those of you association members who missed Sandy’s song, here it is:

 

Want more info on joining the BBC Association? Check it out.

The Benefits of Breakfast

On February 8, we hosted a Women’s Breakfast at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. When planning began last year, the committee decided to ask Amber to share, and she said yes! The committee also decided that donations raised at the breakfast would go to Camp.

The Women’s Breakfast was a huge success! Amber shared stories from the Hill about “Meeting God in Unexpected Places”. She talked about there being room for conflicting feelings in our lives – like strength & weakness, confidence & fear, when we have Jesus. That sometimes both are present, but the love of Jesus allows us to acknowledge and understand the differences in the highs and lows in our lives, without allowing them to define who we are.

This happens to me every year when we come to shepherd for a week at camp. I love the opportunity to be with the kids, getting to know them better in a one-to-one setting. But I am not so comfortable standing before them and speaking during daily Jump Start’s and Fireside’s. The benefits that come from the relationships developed with campers definitely outweighs my public speaking fears, and the grace of God allows me to have enough confidence to get through the hard part of FEAR so that I can enjoy the LOVE of being with kids at camp.

I was privileged to be a part of the planning committee for this Women’s Breakfast. It is a lot of work, but seeing 115 women, spanning several generations, come together for a morning of fellowship, food and rejuvenation through the words shared is such a blessing! And while fund-raising is not the main focus of our breakfast, we are continually amazed at the wonderful ways in which God works. We had several different donors come forward willing to give $5,000 in “matching donations”! This means that they will match all donations given at the breakfast, up to $5,000. In turn, this encourages people to give generously at the breakfast, because then basically every dollar they give is doubled! I am always amazed by the strength of a community when they work together. Who would think that a breakfast could generate this much funding?

And guess what? We collected over $4,500 on that Saturday morning! Praise God! There are expenses to cover and we are still collecting donations this week. Our goal is to raise as close to $5,000, which will then turn in to $10,000 for camp! As of today (Valentine’s day), we are at $9,000! So I challenge you to think of new, fun ways that you can raise money for the new pavilion. To you campers who ski a lot – what about selling hot chocolate slope-side? What about hosting a pancake breakfast before school one morning? Think about it, and don’t let your fears stop you from doing something that will give back to you and your community… YOU CAN DO IT!!

Flo

(aka Beth Goshow)

 

Click here to listen to Amber’s sharing!

Click here for photos from the morning.

Mission Possible: Giving Presence

BBC has chosen a theme for summer 2014! There has been a pattern developing the past few years. A theme for the upcoming summer is chosen and at the same time the prior summer’s theme is STUCK in my mind. For the past 6 weeks we’ve contemplated the summer theme for 2014 and I’ve had Mission Possible (summer 2013) on the brain!

Over the next few weeks perhaps I’ll share some of the ways I’ve seen Mission Possible come alive outside the realm of summer camp. I could share how Mission Possible has morphed into a relevant way to experience God everyday. For now, here’s one example:

I love presents! Some people know this about me. Some people may not. I love to OPEN presents and I love to GIVE presents. The look on someone’s face when they first view the present they didn’t even know they wanted but are so glad to have is priceless! Giving someone joy makes me near giddy. The anticipation of uncovering what is underneath the wrapping paper is the best suspense I’m aware of! I love presents.

This year is different. I can’t decide what to wrap for the people I love most. What do they want? What do they need?

This year is different. Both sides of my family have decided to exchange names which means less giving/receiving of presents.

This year giving presents has felt nearly impossible. And then I received the following in an email:

“This time of year, I’m particularly aware of the importance of presence.  Not presents, but presence… The gift of their (family) presence has been truly the most rewarding gift I have ever received. Just knowing that they are there for me gives me confidence to do whatever my heart desires.  And that is a great gift.
In this season of presents, it’s easy to get bogged down in the commercialism and gift buying.  I would like to encourage you to give someone your presence this holiday season.  It will mean a great deal to the giver and the receiver. ” (Michelle Cummings, Training Wheels CEO)

Suddenly both giving and receiving seems possible. And exciting. I will give my presence. I will enjoy the presence of others. Together we will experience God’s presence.

#WithGod.

Celebrating Christmas at Camp with Presents - Summer 2013

Celebrating Christmas at Camp with Presents – Summer 2013