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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

Thankful For The BBC Family

Greetings friends. Some of you are single. Some of you have six children.  Some of you are newly married or recently divorced. Whatever your status with respect to your family, know that we are glad you’re part of the Bethany Birches family.  The BBC family is one that you can choose to be a part of and we’re glad you have chosen to join this family and we look forward to the next time we’re together. Until then, have some grace with your biological and other chosen families.  I believe many of our societies problems could be solved through united and loving families.

Reflecting on this recent election I realized that there are a whole bunch of folks in my American family whom I don’t understand.  And I would like to understand them.  Not to prove them wrong or to change their minds, but to connect and deepen my own understanding.  This is a key to learning to love my neighbor. Or my brother/mom/uncle/aunt.

So why not use this Thanksgiving day as an opportunity to both enjoy your family and friends and to get to know someone a little deeper. Ask a question about his life. If she supports a political or religious perspective that you don’t understand (or even hate) why not ask her about it?  How will his chosen candidate solve a problem that exists?  Don’t react against what you see as off-base but rather listen deeply and thank your brother/sister/grandparent for sharing vulnerably.  Consider sharing vulnerably yourself. I believe that everyone’s perspective and actions make sense given their unique inputs.

Here’s to courage and patience enough to love our families: Cheers.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Volunteers Invite Friends to Camp

I’ve been struck the last few days how much fun it is to bring friends to camp! This past week 2 volunteers who have been coming to camp for the past 18+ years brought two friends to camp. Each of them contributed to help the 2nd floor of the pavilion progress.

Merle Horst and Dave Mussleman are part of the Musser Woodcutting crew. This crew of guys have been cutting the camp’s wood for the last 18+ years. A few weeks ago I sent an email to Merle to see if he could round up some able volunteers to help us finish the 2nd floor of the pavilion. Dave was available and so were 2 friends – Lester and Will.

Thanks to Merle and Dave inviting friends a lot MORE was accomplished in 2 and a half days on the top floor of the pavilion. Beautiful barn doors, trim, wainscot caps, shelves were among their projects. Not to mention everyone seemed to have a lot of fun! Community building happens among campers, volunteers, staff and whoever finds themselves on the hill. Camp is always more fun with friends!

If you’re a camper family – consider inviting at least 1 new friend to BBC this summer!
If you’re a volunteer – consider inviting a friend who’s never been to camp to join you the next time you’re on the hill!

We hope to see you on the hill soon!

Cheeks.

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The sawing station

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Lester and Will work on shelving

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Pine Trim Everywhere

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Shelf and Coat Rack at the Main Entrance

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Dave putting up Barn Board Trim

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Rustic Shelving above office doors

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Friends from Lancaster helping at BBC!

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Having a good time

Ongoing Pavi Volunteer Opportunities

BBC continues to be an exciting place to be in the winter. With and without snow! Thanks to the doors being installed in the new pavilion snow camps are exciting and fun even with limited snow.

Can you help us continue to move towards a finished pavilion? This time it’s in a slightly different form than a traditional work day.

Do you have an hour or 3 to give to the pavilion progress efforts over the course of the next 2 weeks? Pavilion Progress will continue during the weeks between snow camps with the following projects:

– Staining pine boards for the upstairs ceiling and the garage door interior siding.
– Painting the walls of the 2nd floor.

Staining/Painting will be set up in between snow camps. If you can come for a chunk of time on any of the following days, please let me know and we’ll be ready for you! No prior experience required.

Tues Feb 23 – Thurs Feb 25: 9:30am – 4pm

Tues Mar 1 – Sat Mar 5: 9:30am – 4pm

While the format is different we’ll still plan to have coffee, snacks and lunch for you if we know you are coming. Email amber at bethanybirches.org to let us know when you can help!

We are so thankful for your help! Hope to see you on the hill soon,

Amber “Cheeks” Bergey

Let the little children VOLUNTEER

The words of Jesus came alive again this week at BBC. But this time, the example isn’t from the hill. It’s from Franconia, PA. Two of BBC’s youngest volunteers were helping to stuff mailboxes with the latest news from BBC. Karly (age 1) and Cameron (age 5) are pictured here.  These two ladies counted and stuffed with the best of them, led by their mom, Kari Landis.

In 3 of the gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) Jesus encourages children to be with him despite the indignation from the adults around him. While we can’t point children towards Jesus in the flesh we can point them towards ways of being like him. Service is one of the ways we can encourage kids to be like Jesus and hopefully experience him.

BBC has opportunities for all ages to serve. Check out the volunteer page of the website for more details or join us at the next pavilion work day, Feb 6th. More details to follow.

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