This timeline demonstrates some of the major happenings since summer. Click the image to view a larger image.
Anyone who thinks that it’s quiet on the hill because summer campers departed Bethany Birches Camp in August would be wrong—very wrong. Drive up Lynds Hill Road in Plymouth and when you reach the Camp you’ll see a frenzy of activity. A new camp Pavilion is under construction. Get out of your car and come walk with us to see the construction site and meet three people, among many, who are critical to the Pavilion Project.
Robert Buchan of Plymouth, Vermont, is the Pavilion Project Architect. Robert, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is also the father of two long-time campers, daughter Lily and son Andrew. Born and raised north of London, England, Buchan completed his training as an architect in the U.K. before coming to the United States where he is a Vermont Licensed Architect. Robert, who has been an architect for 31 years, is also a member of the Bethany Birches Camp Association.
As an Association member, Robert has been thinking about camp facilities for a long time. He participated in a long-range planning process which asked the Association and the Camp Board to look at how the camp’s mission might develop and change to meet the needs of future campers. “What will make Camp better,” Buchan said, “is a question we have grappled with for several years.” “What worked for camping in the 1960s has changed and we needed to look at the type of structures that would facilitate those changes.” For example, if Bethany Birches desired to move to year round programming then it needed a facility that would support all season activities.
Were there challenges in designing the new Pavilion? “Yes,” Robert said and he mentioned several. “We needed to design something in keeping with the character of Camp. The building needed to be like Camp—a comfortable place for kids to have fun. We wanted there to be room for lots of activity but we didn’t want the building to look like a gym or be cavernous. The new “Pavi” is much larger than the old one but we don’t want it to feel too much bigger.”
As with other building projects the budget presented a challenge. “A big, quality building doesn’t come cheap,” said Robert, “but we also had to live within budget constraints.” How to build a new Pavi that would not be exorbitantly expensive was the question. According to Buchan, in order to deal with these budget questions some aspects of the planning and designing process have been more stretched out than would be true with a building project where money was not an issue.
What does Robert hope for the new Pavilion? “I hope the kids will find it a comfortable place where they can have fun and explore.” The building is a symbol as well as a catalyst for change at Bethany Birches Camp. “I’m getting excited now that it’s coming together; the building will enable Camp to do more and encourage campers to grow and explore.” Robert is grateful to be part of an active and supportive Camp Association which is totally behind the project.
The “Pavi” Project Construction Manager is Phil Wilkerson of Bridgewater, VT, who started work on the project in April, 2014. Many people who are currently working on construction of the new BBC Pavilion have some previous family connection with BBC, which opened in 1965. In Phil’s case the connection is his wife, Mary, who as a youngster attended Bethany Birches Camp, as did her two children Kevin and Sarah. Mary is now the General Manager at Woodstock Home and Hardware.
Phil is a builder, a profession he has pursued for the past 40 years. In addition to the new Pavilion, Phil also currently has two other ongoing major building projects. Are there challenges with his work on the Pavilion? “Yes”, says Phil. Why’s he doing it? “I’m doing it for the kids. If I can make a difference in one kid’s life, then any frustrations and headaches involved in being construction manager are worth it.”
Raised in Maryland, Phil moved to Lyndonville, Vermont, as a young person, to attend school. Living in Lyndonville gave Phil the chance to know his grandmother who was a school teacher and, according to Phil, a “real people person”. Phil learned many of his people skills from his grandmother. It’s a good thing that Phil picked up those skills because he works with many people—employees, camp staff, volunteers, as well as a team of other professionals working on a variety of tasks related to the “Pavi” construction project.
How does Phil see the new Pavilion impacting kids and the life of the camp? His answers to this question were plentiful and enthusiastic. “It will be a gorgeous building providing youngsters with a safe and comfortable place to be in nasty weather.” The “Pavi” will include a “great kitchen”, he said. That should be music to the ears of anyone and everyone who has ever worked in the old Pavi kitchen. The building will facilitate the merger of indoor and outdoor spaces illustrated by a fireplace which will be open on two sides—inside and outside.
“The new Pavilion will provide a positive environment,” said Phil. “It will permit the light to shine in on work and play.” These words make us think of Jesus’ saying as recorded in Matthew 5:14—“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
See that man bustling around the Pavi construction site, the one with a black dog named Fischer following him? That’s Greg Jenne, the Pavilion Construction Project Supervisor. Greg has been worked on this project since late summer 2014. Like many others involved with the project, Greg has a personal connection to Bethany Birches; both of his daughters, Piper and Izzy, have been enthusiastic BBC campers. “Both of my kids had a great time at Bethany Birches, and I want to see this project succeed.”
Greg has numerous ties to Central Vermont; he’s a Bridgewater native, graduated from Woodstock High School and has served on the Bridgewater School Board for nine years. He’s a General Contractor who has been meeting residential building needs in the area since 2002 and has headed up his own incorporated business—Jenne Construction, Inc.—since 2011. People who want to see examples of Greg’s work should check out his Facebook page.
When asked, “What is the best thing about working on the new Pavilion?” Greg was quick to respond with enthusiasm. “Knowing that this awesome structure will be enjoyed by lots of children for many years to come,” was his answer. The old Pavilion lasted for about fifty years and Greg hopes the new one will last for one hundred years. “It will be a beautiful building.” For those who think this will simply be a newer version of the old Pavilion—think again! There will be lots of warm comfortable space for a variety of indoor activities on wet, soggy days. There will be a separate camp store and nurse’s station and, says Greg, there will be something known as a ‘Flying Squirrel’—sort of like an indoor ropes course.
Have there been challenges for Greg and others? “Yes” says Greg and there will be more such as working through the winter. “Winter work is tough,” Greg tells me but “It’s OK because I’m committed to this project. I try to maintain a positive attitude and that helps us get through the tough days. We want this project ready for next summer.” “It will be a beautiful building with neat features,” Greg said and with that positive comment he was off to another meeting.
As Greg Jenne reminds us, winter is almost here bringing with it cold, short days and long dark nights. But, at Bethany Birches Camp the lights are on as construction of the new Pavi continues. God offers his light on the hill which will bring life to the full for all future campers.
– Margaret Campbell
A Light On The Hill – SUMMARY VERSION
Anyone who thinks it’s quiet on the hill because campers departed in August would be very wrong. Drive up Lynds Hill Road. When you reach Camp you’ll see a frenzy of activity. A new Pavilion is under construction. Get out of your car and walk with us to see the construction and meet three people who are critical to the Project.
The Construction Manager is Phil Wilkerson of Bridgewater, who started work in April, 2014. Many people currently working on the Pavilion have some previous family connection with BBC. In Phil’s case the connection is his wife, Mary, who as a youngster, attended Bethany Birches Camp, as did her children Kevin and Sarah.
Phil is a builder, a job he has pursued for 40 years. Are there challenges in his work on the Pavilion? “Yes”, says Phil. Why’s he doing it? “I’m doing it for the kids. If I can make a difference in one kid’s life, then frustrations involved in being construction manager are worth it.” Phil spoke of his grandmother who was a “real people person”. Phil learned many people skills from his grandmother. It’s a good thing Phil picked up those skills because he works with many people on the project—employees, camp staff, volunteers and other professionals.
How does Phil see the new Pavilion impacting kids? “It will be a gorgeous building providing safe and comfortable space to be in nasty weather.” It will include a “great kitchen”. That will be music to the ears of anyone who has worked in the old kitchen. “The building will facilitate the merger of indoor and outdoor spaces illustrated by a fireplace open on two sides.” “The new Pavilion will provide a positive environment,” said Phil. “It will permit the light to shine in on work and play.”
These words remind us of Jesus’ saying–Matthew 5:14—“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
Robert Buchan of Plymouth is the Pavilion Architect. Robert, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is also the father of two long-time campers, daughter Lily and son Andrew. Born and raised near London, Buchan completed his training in the U.K. before coming to the United States where he is a Vermont Licensed Architect. He is a member of the Camp Association.
As an Association member, Robert has been thinking about camp facilities for some time. “There were challenges in designing the new Pavilion,” Robert said “We needed to design something in keeping with the character of Camp. The building needed to be like Camp—a comfortable place. We wanted there to be room for lots of activity but we didn’t want it to look like a gym.
As with other buildings, budget was a challenge. “A big, quality building doesn’t come cheap,” said Robert. How to build a new Pavi without it being exorbitantly expensive was the question. What does Robert hope for the new Pavilion? “I hope That kids will find it a comfortable place where they can have fun and explore.” Robert is grateful to be part of the Camp Association which is strongly behind the project.
See that man bustling around the Pavi construction site, the one with a black dog named Fischer following him? That’s Greg Jenne, the Pavilion Construction Project Supervisor. Greg began work on the project in late summer. Like others, Greg has a personal connection to Bethany Birches; both his daughters, Piper and Izzy, have been enthusiastic campers. “Both of my kids had a great time at Bethany Birches. I want to see this project succeed.”
When asked, “What is the best thing about working on the Pavilion? Greg said, “Knowing that this awesome structure will be enjoyed by children for years to come.” The old Pavilion lasted about fifty years and Greg hopes the new one will last one hundred years. “It will be a beautiful building.” For those who think it will be a newer version of the old Pavilion—think again! There will be lots of warm, comfortable space for a variety of indoor activities on soggy days. There will be a separate camp store and nurse’s station and, says Greg, there will be something known as a ‘Flying Squirrel’—sort of like an indoor ropes course.
Are there challenges for Greg and others? “Yes” says Greg and there will be more such as working through the winter. “Winter work is tough,” Greg notes but “It’s OK because I’m committed to this project. We want this project ready for next summer.” “It will be a beautiful building with neat features,” Greg said, and then he was off to another meeting.
As Jenne reminds us, winter is almost here bringing with it cold, short days and long, dark nights. But, at Bethany Birches Camp the lights are on as construction of the new Pavi continues. Jesus lights up this hill which will bring life to all future campers.
– Margaret Campbell
It’s time. As winter unleashes it’s snow on the pavilion project, Cheeks has unleashed the Summer Camp 2014 dates. Just in time for Christmas. Still looking for that perfect gift? How about a week of 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…
What staff hope for campers…
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
The first campers at camp this summer were birthday campers! On 2 different occasions campers got to celebrate their birthday at Bethany Birches. Sparkles led their favorite camp activities while parents, family and friends brought food and supplies for the party. Everyone enjoyed BBC’s beautiful view and loads of fun. One camper mom commented, “Are you planning to do this next year? I hope so; my daughter is already planning her next birthday!” Check with BBC in the fall for the possibility of hosting your birthday party here at no cost!
– Amber “Cheeks” Bergey
Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project
People often ask how the fundraising for the pavilion project is going. I say really well! It’s been an encouraging so far with many people giving however they can. Many generous donors have given and pledged over $1,225,000. Below is an outline of the gifts we’ve received to date in graphic form. We are elated and grateful for the generosity shown to date and also aware we still have $600,000 to go till we reach the $1,800,000 goal. $1.8M will not only build the new pavilion, it will pay for camp program for four years (2012-2015). The logic takes a little explaining but the short story is that we built the campaign this way so that we could raise the program-subsidy money we raise each year while we’re raising money for the pavilion all with one message. That message is that VT young people need a place for faith-development and that place needs to include programming beyond summer. Our secondary message is very simple: the current pavilion is broken!
Will you help? There are two ways you can help:
We’re still searching for commitments of money. Would you consider a monthly gift of $10 or more?
[button-medium color=”green” link=”bethanybirches.org/donate/”]Give Money[/button-medium]
We’re now seeking commitments of time. We’ll value time commitments at $20/hour. So if you said you could give us a week of time (40 hours), say to do a bunch of painting, we’d count that as a gift of $800 toward the remaining money to be raised. You can fill out the form on this page to let us know of your gift
[button-medium color=”green” link=”bethanybirches.org/give-time-pavi/”]Give Time[/button-medium]
In other news, I’d like to highlight the biggest gift given to date. It was in the amount of $200,000 and was given by the Clemens Family Corporation (CFC)! CFC (http://www.clemensfamilycorp.com) owns Hatfield Quality Meats, Country View Family Farms, Clemens Development, CFC Logistics, PV Transport and Nick’s Sausage Company. Their vision is quite simply to “steward diversified, profitable and growing enterprises controlled by the Clemens family.” Among their stated values are:
Thanks John, Merrill, Doug and other CFC members for giving The Pavilion Project a huge boost!
Campers say thanks to Pavi Donors!
Campers talk about the old and new pavilions:
And here is a visual image of the giving to date. Pretty amazing to have so many gifts of so many different sizes. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Click on the image to see it larger or download the pdf
Next spring we’ll be hosting a pavi party. You know, to celebrate the last summer in the original BBC pavilion. Who’d you go to camp with? Do you have any pictures? Favorite memories? One thing we’ll plan to do at the party is make a time capsule to stuff in the wall of the new building. If you have any contributions to make to the time capsule, please send them in! You could email to camp at bethanybirches.org or call the office or send a carrier pigeon!
We’ve been getting busier at camp the last couple years. There have been more campers, more programs, more volunteers and more work! Many hands make light work, right? This year we budgeted for some extra staff time. Though part time, Sparkles (Katelyn Golding) and Big Wade (Andrew Moyer) have been getting their hands dirty here at camp this year and helping make light of the extra work.
Sparkles is the Assistant Program Director and off-season works part-time in the office and on special projects. She is from Weathersfield, VT and started in the winter of 2012-13. She recently graduated from Eastern Mennonite University. She now lives at camp.
Big Wade is the Facilities Manager and started in September. He is looking forward to helping with the Pavilion Project as much as he can. Wade was on staff in 2005 and 2006 and is finally back. His full time work is for Bontrager Fine Carpentry based in Bridgewater, VT. Wade recently moved into the apartment that was constructed at camp specifically for this position.
Mission Possible All Around: #WithGod all things are possible…
…#WithGod BBC used Mission Possible as the summer-long theme based on Matthew 19:26. Campers were challenged to be #WithGod both at camp and at home. The Mission Possible theme also explored how we can be #WithGod and why it matters. Shepherds invited campers to be #WithGod in all aspects of life.
…#WithGod BBC created a new week of camp this summer: Mission Possible week. Campers were invited on a week-long mission to prove BBC is achieving its mission. Campers participated in the traditional version of their favorite game multiple times and were surprised with MI versions adapted especially for this first time BBC program…
…#WithGod BBC created a new program this summer dedicated to teen campers who want to be at camp more than one week of the summer. Mission Possible Crew week allowed 14-18 yr old campers to come to camp to help with clean up and program while continuing to enjoying the perks of camper life. BBC Crew campers enjoyed setting up and guarding for Mission Impossible games. One crew member enjoyed it because “we got to help make the campers time at camp better while having fun at the same time!” (Erianna, ’13 Crew Member)
…#WithGod BBC is working towards a new pavilion. Each Friday night campers shared with their parents various reasons why camp needs a new pavilion. Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project is building momentum with 1.2 million of the 1.8 million dollar goal committed.