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.
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!
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?
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
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:
Honor God in all we do
Earn a reputation of high ethics and integrity
Take a long-term view
Share success with team members, community and shareholders
Seek to set commercial standards
Some of the camp’s supporters work for CFC businesses and that is, in part, the connection between CFC and Bethany Birches.
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!
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.
Sparkles leading a game in the pavilion this past summer
Big Wade and his puppy dog, Dutch
Construction in summer 2012 to build the apartment for the facilities manager
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.
Introducing the newest BBC Association Member: Bailey “Giggles” Bontrager:
My name is Bailey Bontrager and I grew up in Bridgewater, VT. I majored in Mathematics and Secondary Education at Goshen College in Goshen, IN. I was first involved at Bethany Birches Camp when I was younger as a camper and then I was a camp counselor for three summers during my college years. I love playing and working with children of all ages, and I especially love encouraging them to see the joy in life and to figure out what they are passionate about. Bethany Birches Camp has helped me discover the ways in which I want to work with children and I want to be a member of the Camp Association so that I can continue to support this place that has brought me so much joy and hope.
Anyone can join the association. Read more about it on the website or call the office (802-672-5220)
My camp name is “G” from Goliath. I am from Indonesia and I came to US with MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) in the International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) in September 2012. BBC was my second placement during a year with MCC. Working at BBC was so meaningful to me because I worked in nature a lot! I really felt God working through nature and camp activities. The summer theme “Mission Possible” fit with me, since in the US I worked as a volunteer far from my real “world”, but I finished the assignment because it was possible #WithGod.
Working at BBC really opened my heart and mind to God. I enjoyed both work as a maintenance support and counselor assistant. In my sight, I believed that kids were not wasting their time at BBC, surrounded with good counselors, staff that are really energetic and full of passion in sharing about God’s love. I was excited to play guitar at fireside when I was there, hear the kids and all staff singing together to make a joyful noise and powerful praise to our God.
It is hard to believe that the holiday season is already fast approaching. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago that my husband and I were bringing our girls to camp for teen week; now we are planning for their return for the first Teen Connect weekend. Time moves quickly and with our Pavilion Project slated to break ground next August, the board has been busy overseeing preparations for this to happen on time. We are currently in the process of selecting a construction manager to coordinator the day-to-day activities of the project. As Bethany Birches moves forward on this major undertaking, the board is mindful of the need to do this with minimal impact on our ability to continue the main mission of the camp – providing all children with a place to find God. We are also well aware of the importance of the old pavilion in so many people’s lives. Plans are being considered for an event next summer to pay tribute to the building that has been an important part of BBC for so many years.
Having not been a camper at Bethany Birches as a child, I enjoy any chance I have to be a small part of summer activities. This past summer, I had the opportunity for a second year to assist with medication drop off during registration. It is amazing to see what a well-oiled machine BBC is when it comes to welcoming campers. It was fun to be there to watch the staff interacting with campers and each other. I understand why my daughters love to come to camp. It is also wonderful to see how my girls bring camp home with them. This summer, in fact, they took BBC abroad. My daughters, Katie and Annie, and their friend (and fellow BBC camper) Flossie traveled with me to Ethiopia. Bethany Birches traveled with us in many ways – music, stories, Dutch Blitz and, literally, the clothes on their backs. In each of their suitcases, there must have been at least 2-3 articles of clothing that came from BBC. All of these pieces of camp are literal reminders of the knowledge that God surrounds them and stays with them wherever they go.