Archive for the ‘Program News’ Category

Staffing crises point to the Body of Christ

Greetings friends!  Been a while since you’ve heard from us via the blog.  That’s because in April, our Program Director, Courtney, fell ill and could not continue her duties!  Please pray for her health and healing.  Where did that leave us at camp?  Restructuring!  In terms of the summer camp leadership team, the restructuring seems to have worked.  We were able to shift leaders around and call Amber “Cheeks” Bergey back into service as Camp Director.  She is mentoring some newer leaders including the Day Camp Director and Resident Camp Director.  All are learning and growing and doing good work.

Come June, it started to feel like we were going to make it through the summer excelling and hosting the many campers as good as always.  As that feeling set in, a second crisis struck in the male counseling team.  We lost an assistant to a broken leg, another to a change in heart.  We lost a male counselor to anxiety and another to a concussion.  We are still down all four of those guys.  How could we go on?!

Many summer staffers talked with friends and one of those friends came to BBC for the first time and did a great job the first week of camp (and will be back twice this summer).  We reached out to other Mennonite Camps and uncovered two brothers who were trusted counselors and could give us a few weeks.  A long time counselor said he could return for a week or two.  Our facilities manager who used to counsel, said he could counsel as needed.  Things are starting to look up!  I was reminded of the “Body of Christ” and how together we can function as a cohesive community and in so doing Jesus would meet us and help meet our need for “daily bread” (in this case, having qualified counseling staff for each camper).  Keep an eye on our youtube channel this weekend for how we made the picture of a body at the top of this post.

Personally, this pair of crises stretched me and my family quite a bit.  I found early morning wake ups common, some tears in talking with God, and challenges at home as the kids got used to their nanny (so thankful for her and my strong wife, Cheeks, who is leading the program team in her third pregnancy!).

I find myself stretched, challenged, thankful and looking forward to uncovering who the next camp director will be.  If you know someone who would be a good fit, tell them of the opportunity to live and serve in the Green Mountains!

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Winter Family Fun Day 2018

Well that was fun!  Each winter and summer we host a family fun day to highlight all the good stuff the Bethany Birches program has to offer.  This winter we will host 5 weekends of winter camp for grades 3-11.  Find your session here: bethanybirches.org/winter

About 80 folks enjoyed winter family fun day this year.  The youngest in attendance appeared to be less than a year old and the oldest seemed to be nearing 80.  That’s what we like to see!

As the founder of our back country ski program I enjoyed leading that very much.  We had some skiers who never skied before and a couple who were seasoned.

Of course there was lots of tubing!  Due to the recent snow the run was a little slower the first half of the day.  Waxing the tubes helped.  Big thanks to neighbor Bob Lambert who faithfully drove the truck and trailer all day so people didn’t have to walk the steep 1/4 mile hill after each run.

Lunch was great!  Thanks to Wonder Woman, Batman, Wendy, and Joanne for making great food and lots of it.  I’m still wanting those brownies.

On top of the skiing, tubing and lunch we roasted marshmallows, painted snow, had an epic broom ball tournament in which there were 5 overtimes, knitted, played carpet ball, gaga and 9square among other things (including a very artistic drawing pictured here).  Thanks to all of you who came out for the fun and I hope to see you up here for a winter camp!

Love,

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

New Program Director Hired!

Greetings Friends, a little while back I announced that Dan “Chick” Laubach was moving on from Bethany Birches at the end of August.

We launched a search in March and received 27 applications by the time we closed the application period this summer.  After extending an offer to an applicant and receiving a “no” from him, I opened a discussion with a friend familiar to Bethany Birches.  We call her Wonder Woman.  Outside of camp she is known as Courtney Hollingsworth.  She has volunteered as Camp Shepherd, Day Camp Manager, and Kitchen Aid, among other things.  She’s filled with energy and love and was looking to get back into ministry of some kind after supervising the front office at the Woodstock Inn.  Prior to that she was in seminary and before that she was a director of high school youth ministry at her home church in CA.

The only agreement we have come to at this time is that she will be full time through next summer.  Her and I will consider her fit after she’s been here a few months and see if we would like to arrange a longer tenure or not.

She has already begun!  She has an email address (courtney@bethanybirches.org). Feel free to reach out to her and introduce yourself.  She is currently working from a distance lightly and will start here at camp on the 27th of Aug and overlap with Chick for a week and then take the reigns.

Courtney/Wonder Woman with a baby sea turtle

Thanks to each of you who have been involved with the camp and have helped to cause our ongoing success.  Please welcome Wonder Woman warmly.  I hope you’ll come out to camp soon if you haven’t been recently.  Next option to be here is the Benefit Auction September 29.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Program Director Application Period is Open!

That’s right folks.  This is your chance to apply for your dream job.  Being the Program Director at BBC is perhaps one of the most fun (and most challenging) jobs out there.  Just think – it could be your job to run (or delegate) Wet and Wild Wednesday.  It could be your job to run (or delegate) the annual cardboard sled and boat races.  I mean, how awesome is that?  Not to mention recruiting and training staff, budgeting, performance reviews… oh wait, those perhaps are not the most fun parts.

Seriously though, if you have any interest, apply now!  I hope to select the next BBC Program Director by June 1 of this year.  That gives you a month and a half to finish your application and tidy up your resume. Start here: https://www.bethanybirches.org/pd

And if you’re not going to apply, would you pray for the process?  Pray that God nudges an ideal fit this direction and that we have the wisdom to see that person when they show up.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Executive Director

Program Director transition: you will be missed Chick!

Why do all good things come to an end?  So that new good things can begin!

Dan “Chick” Laubach has served as program director since May 2015. He has decided to finish his service at Bethany Birches effective the end of August 2018. He has made important contributions (and will continue to this year… and he evens plans to volunteer beyond this year).  While he was program director, summer and winter registrations were opened earlier than ever.  I believe that has contributed to the ongoing increase in attendance (in fact, half of programs offered in a calendar year have waiting lists… we’re expecting even more waiting lists this year).  Chick has also contributed to a professionalism in the office.  He has helped to upgrade policies and procedures and has sharpened some of our marketing and communications plans.

I very much appreciate the amount of time he has allowed us for making the transition.  He is going to continue managing the program throughout this winter and summer.  He will depart at the end of summer 2018.  If a replacement is found in time, I would consider him/her starting as soon as May 2018 for maximum transfer of knowledge, ideas, practices etc.  However, if an ideal fit is found, we would start them whenever works best for them.  The search for a new program director will begin shortly.  We have some backend work to do to clarify the type of person we’re looking for and finalize some details.  In the mean time, if you or someone you know has interest, please do reach out to me.  Call the office, email or even text if you have my number.

We give Chick a big round of applause and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.  Most importantly, may you be guided by God’s spirit and at peace into the unknown.  Thanks for your service and can’t wait to see you back here as a volunteer.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

15th Annual Benefit Auction

This year brought the 15th Annual Benefit Auction. This particular Saturday was abnormally warm.  A perfect match for the abnormal generosity at the auction.  We started out with Larry’s syrup.  Each quart sold for $400!  That’s abnormal.

Did you know that in the first 14 years of the auction the event has raised $400,000 to help make the Bethany Birches Camp experience accessible to all? This year’s event continued that trajectory! $51,042 was the total given during the auction this year thanks to many generous donors (both items and dollars) and a friend of camp who matched item #50 (Camperships) with $10,000! You can see the live bidding items and sale amounts here.

People coming out to the auction included friends as close as a stone’s throw from camp and more distant attendees from VA and PA and other nearby states.

One of my favorite things was seeing a few campers so excited to help that they waved items they were displaying and even danced a bit!

Please mark your calendars now to attend the 16th Annual Benefit auction scheduled for September 29, 2018!