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Reflections

Below is a guest blog post written by Will “Creek” Williams, the shepherd during the first week of camp this summer. Creek has been coming to camp for a number of summers now and had some really incredible messages to share with the campers as well as some great response from the campers. I asked him to share about one message in particular that received a wonderful response from the campers.

Chick

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One of the hardest things in youth ministry is coming across youth who feel like no one cares for them or loves them.  Often times it can be the youth that you would least expect to have these feelings.  Self-worth is something that we find in three places – we find it in ourselves, we find it from the positive affirmations from our friends, family and community, and ultimately we find it from God.  As our youth continue to grow physically, mentally and spiritually, we as a Christian community need to find ways to build our youth up in ways that will help them find their self-worth by showing them what God’s love is truly all about.

One example of this is through a shepherding experience I had at Bethany Birches camp.  Late in June 2018, my family took a week to go up and serve at camp.  My eleven year old son and my six year old daughter were campers and my wife served in various roles throughout the week.  I was asked if I could be the “Shepherd” with my background in youth ministry and having previously served at the camp.  Immediately I jumped at this opportunity as it is my passion to serve in various roles in camp ministry and share in the community experience that Bethany Birches provides.

On Tuesday night that week at the evening devotional, “Fireside”, I wanted the youth that were attending to understand what it meant to be made in the image of God and to see what self-worth is supposed to be through God’s eyes.  With the theme of the week being water, I thought it would be a cool idea for us to spend time at the pond and look at our reflections.  Looking at your reflection can be a simple exercise of seeing your own face or it can be an eye-opening opportunity to see just how much God loves us and how we are created in a unique and special way.

Most people when they look at their reflection are looking to see the negatives that are staring back at them.  Even if it is used as an attempt to fix their hair, makeup, shave or wash up, it is to remove any blemishes that they may have.  That is only on the surface.  Some people, when they look closer, see negatives that are much worse and can be very damaging.  Youth and adults alike can see things that other people never see and never hear from that person.  Things such as “I am not pretty enough”, “People don’t like me”, “I am being bullied and no one even cares”, “No one loves me”, “My family hates me” and the list can go on and on.  I have heard youth speak these words when looking at their reflections and I wanted to find a way to turn it around.

My challenge to the campers was to find one good quality that they could see in themselves.  Once they found it, I asked them to go to a picnic table or spot around the pond to share that quality with their cabin.  This is a great way for the youth to begin to see that God has planted something inside of them and that they just need to take the time to find it.  Then I wanted the other campers to affirm and share a quality that they see in that person to help build them up.  So thoughts could turn from “I am not pretty enough” or “I am not good enough” to hearing other people share that they are beautiful, that they are kind, that they are helpful, that they are awesome and that they are a part of a community that loves them.  Hearing the counselors join in to affirm and lift up each of their campers allowed the reflections that were seen by each individual to be fully realized by seeing the true image of God the way that it was intended to be seen – one of hope, one of love and one of a positive self-worth.  We need that in today’s world and it was amazing to see God working in that way.

Maybe it is time that we all sat around a picnic table, thought about the good things that God has blessed our lives with while surrounding ourselves with people that will be there to lift us up and love us when we need it most.  If we can find a community to do that, then we will begin to fully realize the image of God as it was truly meant to be.  At Bethany Birches Camp, we intend to shaping the lives of the young people and the community we serve to fully see the person God made. I pray this will happen ongoing for generations to come!

4th of July Family Cookout

Each summer, as I talk with parents, the thing I hear most often is that parents wish they could come to camp. Well now you can! This year, come spend 4th of July at Bethany Birches with your child! If your camper is signed up for Core B (July 1-6) you are officially invited to join them for a special 4th of July Family Cookout! Come to camp and swim in the pond, jump on the Water Trampoline, enjoy some hamburgers, and attend a BBC Fireside all with your child! The day will end in the evening with a Sparkler Party!

Check out the general schedule below:

3:15 Parents Start Arriving, head down to Pond to play games, go boating, fishing, swimming, etc all with your child, their friends, and their counselor

4:55 BBC Jump Contest

5:15 4th of July Cookout!

6:30 Clean up and Change

7:30 Family Fireside

8:15 Sparkler Party

8:45 Parent Send Off (See you on Friday!!)

REGISTER FOR CORE B

If your child is registered for a different session and you want to switch to Core B or add Core  B as a second session, so you can join them on July 4th, just call the camp office: 802-672-5220

 

Want to come to camp but don’t have a child attending Core B? Check out Summer Family Fun Day on June 16th!

 

We hope to see you here!

Prom: a fun evening!

We were very glad to host the Woodstock Union High School Prom here at camp last weekend.  Thanks to you juniors and planning committee for selecting Bethany Birches.  We hope to see you back again next year!

Check out some of the pictures here from the Vermont Standard.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

p.s. a big congrats to Margo Marrone on her recent retirement.  We were also very for her party to be hosted here at camp this past weekend.

God in growth

Greetings this Thanksgiving holiday!  I am thankful for you and for all the ways God prompts people to engage at camp. I am thankful for the ways God can be seen here.  One way I’ve seen God this past year is in the ongoing growth at camp.  Allow me to give a handful of examples.

Our program director, Chick, continues to grow and learn and seems to not weary of the learning process.  This is a great model for all of us to push through the challenges that come with the learning process.

I am experiencing similar growth. As camp grows I am stretched to get better at strategic and future thinking. 1 Cor. 13 comes to mind, that famous passage about love. Picking up at vs. 8 “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  This is relevant to me right now.  I am growing up, yes.  I am also increasingly aware of the need for love.  Over doing a good job. Over getting it right. Over everything.

On the topic of growth, this summer was the most attended in our 53 year history.  I chalk this up to the movement of God’s spirit in three people, among others.

Jane Glick, school nurse at Rochester who asked the school board to promote the camp among all the students.  After getting their permission, we offered BBC’s tiered pricing as well as additional subsidy from Taftsville Chapel. Over 30 new campers attended camp this past summer through her efforts.

A second woman named Beth Ann Maier, leader of Camp Agape (CA), made a way to send CA campers too old for the CA program to the BBC sessions that would be age appropriate. That accounted for 30 additional attendees.

A third person contributing to the attendance growth this summer is a young camper named Nick. He hosted his birthday party at camp in January.  Facebook ignited after we posted a video of the party and 20 registrations were received the three days after the posting of that video.

It’s partners and champions like this that fill camp with people.  I believe each of these three are responding to inner promptings they experience from God.  To be clear, I am not trying to promote a type of prosperity gospel, but rather an image of a God who longs for our presence and desires each of us to be in tune with Himself.

Join me in sitting still for a moment this holiday.  Consider meditating on how God might be prompting you.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Executive Director

Many Hands Make Light Work

The first (small) snow fell yesterday at BBC! The snow fell on leaf cleared grass, newly built pallets and freshly felled trees. Saturday Nov 4th was a busy day at BBC. Thirtyish folks came from Rutland, Bethel, Woodstock, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Brandon, White River, Randolph, etc to help BBC get ready for winter. A big thanks to all you from Calvary Bible Church who came and joined the fun!

Volunteers brought different skills. All brought smiles. Volunteers were different ages with different familiarity with BBC. Some were at BBC for the first time. Others were campers who were attending their first work day. And still others have been coming to BBC in some capacity for the last 50 years! Over the course of 6 hours the group raked ALL the leaves, cleared the garden, built a number of pallets and fell trees to clear space for pallet storage and pond beach expansion.

Each October I try to focus on the beauty of the changing leaves but always find myself distracted by the knowledge that all the leaves will drop. And then need to be cleared. And how exactly will that get done? Along with all the other pre winter work 100 acres of forrest requires?

And each fall a group of people show up to help. This year was no different. This year people joined in the leaf raking, pallet building and falling trees. God continues to bring people to do the work of God and I am grateful to be part of that.

-Amber “Cheeks” Bergey

Pavi Project Update: Kitchen completion continues

Since the last pavi update more progress has been made!  A faithful supporter gave $9,000 toward kitchen equipment so we bought the convection ovens and slicer. Huge upgrades!  You can see the updated pavilion project punch list below.

Here are the ovens being delivered:

And the ovens in place!

 

And the slicer:

 

And here is the punch list.  You can compare this to the one from a report this past December to see progress made.  Very exciting!

This is the list as of August 2017:

Onward!

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Sharing About God’s Love

Franconia Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania partnered with BBC for the 5th winter in a row. For one weekend, their young adult group brought up a full volunteer staff of cooks, counselors, and shepherds.  The counselors dedicated their whole weekend to engaging with campers, running fun events, and building community. The cooks brought up a large quantity of food that had been donated by their church. They served delicious meals like pancakes, lasagna, chili, and our famous baked oatmeal.

The whole group also worked together to lead our daily Fireside sessions. Their theme for the weekend was “Love”. Counselors shared at each session by talking about different things we love. Throughout the weekend campers worked to build small journals, each page containing a drawing based on the theme for different sessions. Night one we discussed the love of food so their pages contained plenty of hamburgers, french fries, pizza’s, etc. By the end of the weekend, kids had drawn pictures of objects, friends, and family members. To tie the whole weekend together kids learned about the love of God; a love that is similar to but greater than any of the other things drawn in their journals.

It’s always so awesome for me to see young adults willing to serve and love kids that many of them had never met before. It’s amazing to see their heart and passion for serving and is always such a blessing to the camp. We look forward to partnering with them again!

Dan “Chick” Laubach

High School Seniors Start the New Year Serving

Just when you thought pavilion progress was over…2017 started off with pavilion door painting! A group of 8 Seniors (+ 2 adults) from Dock Mennonite Academy spent Jan 3 – 8 doing a lot of painting. The interior doors of the pavilion are clean and colorful thanks to their service.

Painting doors wasn’t their only accomplishment. The group of seniors prepared the mudroom to hang/stack/organize winter gear including skates and skis. Others in the group spent time repainting the floor and walls of the cabin basement. Now the basement of the cabin matches the new bathrooms upstairs. Both are shiny, clean and fresh! The group rounded out their week with various odds and end jobs and finished the week having some fun on the tube run and ice rink!

Why would a group of 8 seniors from PA come to BBC to paint, clean, sand and scrub? Dock Mennonite Academy requires each senior to participate in senior experience week. Seniors have the option to job shadow a professional in a field they have interest in or spend the week serving. We are thankful this group chose to spend the week helping at BBC.

The next time you’re in the cabin basement as a renter or snow camper or the next time you walk through the pavilion door as a parent, renter, camper, staff or volunteer you might be thankful for their work also!

We’re hoping to see some of them in the future while camp program is in session. In fact we hope the same for you! 2017 has opportunity for folks of all ages to experience BBC (including freshly painted doors). Check out summer and winter options. Hope to see you on the hill soon!

Basement floor – before and after