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It would be interesting to gather all the stories and memories made by different people at camp. We became involved when we took some young adults from our church to camp for a service weekend. Then we took our family and volunteered for a week, and then volunteered this summer for a week as camp shepherds.
The theme for this summer was “Inside Out” and one of the daily themes was “Big Things in Small Packages”. As we stood inside the pavilion with over fifty 12-14 year olds, we all shared how BBC is a BIG thing in a small package. It is BIG because it is a place where kids feel safe and loved. It is BIG because it is the first place campers learn of God’s kingdom and unconditional love. It is BIG because of the positive impact on everyone there, from the campers, to the staff, to the volunteers. It is BIG because it continues to offer opportunities for these kids to come back time and time again. Did you know that many of the staff are former campers? Do you know how many families send multiple kids there, for many years?
The pavilion needs help, and soon you will hear more about MISSION POSSIBLE: The Pavilion Project. There is a group of people who have volunteered to help on the funding side, and we are called the Resource Development Team (RDT). Our charge is to help keep camp going for another 50 years, by supporting a campaign to fund a new pavilion. The “pavi” (short for pavilion) is the heart of BBC facility, and it needs help. Each person on the RDT has already made specific time and monetary commitments to this campaign. We can’t call others to do the same until we’ve put our money where our mouth is!
Consider how BBC has influenced you… your family… your own journey with Jesus. Think and pray about how you can commit to support camp and its campaign for the Pavi. Talk about it with your family and friends. As Tuna says, nothing at camp has been accomplished alone… it takes a village to raise a Pavi.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Summer 2012 brought a staff made up mostly of first timers. Each new staff member jumped in with both feet and offered their unique experiences and ideas. The 2012 summer staff came from really different backgrounds and conversations abounded regarding theology, politics, culture and various perspectives. Despite their diversity they formed a cohesive group to welcome each camper into the community of love that is BBC.
The More the Merrier:
Summer 2012 brought an increase in people to camp – both youth and adults. Camper registrations increased 14% over last summer. Many veteran campers brought friends for the first time, social service agencies directed more campers to BBC and a lot of campers came back to experience the fun and relationship they’ve come to depend on. There was also an increase in volunteers. Work groups from Franconia Mennonite Church (Franconia, PA), Swamp Mennonite Church (Quakertown, PA), Rockhill Mennonite Church (Telford, PA) and Souderton Mennonite Church (Souderton, PA) joined us in addition to local volunteers to work on various projects around camp.
Camper Created Video:
Summer 2012 also brought the opportunity for returning staff to create and implement their ideas based on their prior summer at BBC. For example Pepper (Alyssa Coffin) returned to the videographer position with a unique vision. After shooting 60 second clips in 2011 she was inspired to include campers in the film-making process. She pursued her vision to make DVDs from each week through the eyes of campers. Many campers participated in the video making process. They learned the basics of filming. Campers were extremely creative in capturing different aspects of camp. This addition to program was a huge success. To see some of this year’s footage go here. And to read more about Pepper’s idea, here.
The schedule and goals of summer camp remain consistent from one summer to the next. Despite this, summer program remains dynamic due to new staff joining, returning staff growing, new campers coming and returning campers learning new things. Summer camp is dynamic. Always changing. This summer was no different.
Kelsey is new to Bethany Birches but NOT new to being at a camp! Read on to find out more:
I am so excited for camp to begin this summer! My name is Kelsey and I live in town called New Holland in Lancaster County, PA. I am a junior at Eastern University and am studying Early Childhood Education. I have never been to Bethany Birches before this summer, but I went to a similar camp near my home many times over the years. Camp has always been a wonderful experience for me and I am sure that this year at Bethany Birches will be just as great! I am very excited to get to know my fellow staff members and all of the campers that I will have the privilege of meeting this summer. I am still friends with many people that I have met at camp years ago and am looking forward to building new friendships like these. Some of my favorite memories have been made at camp and I know that many more will be made this summer. I can’t wait to begin all of the swimming, hiking, games and other fun adventures that this summer will be filled with! I am also very excited to have the opportunity to learn and grow in my relationship with the Lord alongside everyone at camp. Camp is always a great place to see the amazing ways that God is working in your life and discover new ways to get to know him.Being a camp counselor is something that I have always wanted to do since I was a young child and I feel very blessed to have the chance to do so this summer! I hope you will be able to join me and the rest of the Bethany Birches staff this summer!
After hearing from some of the returning counselors earlier this spring, I thought it’d be fun to introduce a few of the first time staff members joining us this summer:
Amelia DiSabito is originally from Vermont but currently attends college in Florida. She found out about BBC through her brother James and friend Daniel “Dapper Dan” Appelt. Read on for more about Amelia and what she’s looking forward to this summer:
Because this is my first summer at BBC I don’t have tons of tales to tell about camp, except for the wild stories my younger brother (James) shared after he got home from one crazy week at BBC. I can’t wait to let the games begin and see all the campers having a blast! I grew up on tag, capture the flag and kickball. I love to kayak, rock climb, walk around in the woods, and eat Spaghettios! After being away at school for the year I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to come home to the most beautiful place ever, Vermont! To spend a whole summer praising God for His wonderful creation is such a blessing. On top of that, I look forward to learning to serve those around me better and to love others with the same love that God has for us. Hope to see you this summer!
We’ve been hard at work! So many volunteers have lent a hand as well as paid help. Paul Derksen of Turning Leaf Houserights
Paul working on exit stair from loft
has been running the construction side of the project and putting paid and volunteer labor to work. Mike Bryan (electrician) has been working with Harold Bergey and Herb Frederick of Bergey’s Electric to get the necessary electrical work done and Jim at Royal Alarms has been making things happen on the fire alarm side! We’ve had so many helpers to date and it’s so encouraging. When this project is finished, we’ll list all those involved.
Something amazing – the giving toward this project. We’ve had two gifts of $20,000! Thanks so much to Doug and Becky Clemens and also the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. It’s just amazing how God moves through people to accomplish things. Many have given besides these two very large gifts. We’re so thankful we can keep moving, buying materials and getting everything in place because of this financial support. And on top of that, Goodro Lumber is giving through a 15% discount on materials and A.M. Goshow and Son supplied the windows for the project. Robert Buchan Architect has given quite a discounted rate on services.
Pray with us that we’ll be ready for a final inspection by the week of June 11 and that we’ll have necessary lodging for staff and volunteers this summer. Pray also for wisdom! We want to make good choices about the Bethany Birches facility – choices that will be cost effective but durable and long-lasting. Choices that will serve the program of the camp extremely well and allow us to continue to create a facility that accomplishes the unique mission God has given to Bethany Birches.
Thanks be to God for all the wonderful people who are coming together to help make this building safer!
And no matter what happens in the cabin, summer 2012 is on and only three weeks away!
The sky is the limit. The possibilities are endless. With 100 acres of wilderness and a week’s time the options for activities, discussion, events and experiences at camp are endless. The limitless options can sometimes make planning a summer camp program overwhelming! How does one choose what to do, what to talk about and what to focus on? Over the last 8 years our answer to this question has been THEMES! Wet N Wild Wednesday; Messy Monday; Tidy UP Tuesday; Theater Thursday and Fun Filled, Fire Free, Favorites, Farewell Friday. Each day has a theme and this helps us stay focused in this ADHD day-in-age and gives campers something to look forward to.
Themes also help us in our mission to help young people develop their relationship with God. Each summer has an overarching theme that gives counselors and shepherds a platform for sharing about God’s love and the life of Jesus with campers. The hope is that campers will relate to and remember their experience with God more readily.
Inside Out is the theme for 2012. After using highly specific nature themes for the past few years (Out on a Limb (Trees); Rock Solid (Rocks); Aglow (Fire); H2O (Water); etc) the theme Inside Out will focus on how God’s Kingdom AND the natural world around us often seem inside out from what might be expected. With the beatitudes as our guide (Matthew 5) campers will examine the life and teachings of Jesus. How did Jesus live differently from the world around him? Why would people live differently than the status quo? How does a tall tree grow from a small seed? How can life come from death? What does a life following Jesus look like? These are some of the questions campers and counselors will ask together this summer. Can’t wait!