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.
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!
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.
Matthew 25:34 reads: ‘When I was in prison you visited me, when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was stuck on Lynds Hill Road, you pulled me out…’
Actually that last phrase isn’t in the Bible. But the phrase does describe how the Bible came alive last week at Bethany Birches Camp.
I was getting ready to feed Susie when I heard a knock on the sliding door (a common mission impossible destination for many – knocks are not uncommon!). A man I did not know stood outside our door, looking cold and tired. I opened the door a crack.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“Uh, yea,” the man replied. “I’m from VTEL, I’m stuck down the road. Could I use your phone to call a tow truck?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, you may use the phone, come on in.”
“Do you have the number for a local towing company?” The stranger asks sheepishly.
“Uh, sir, you’re in Plymouth, VT. the middle of nowhere. Nothing is local… Let me call my husband at the camp up the road, he’ll know who to call.”
” Oh, just up the road, I can walk up there.”
And after a bit more conversation the cold, tired man trudges up the road towards camp.
About 15 min later, I see Chick on the tractor and Tuna and the stranger in our car driving down the road.
15 min later I see the tractor, the car and a mini van come up the road. The stranger gets out and gives Tuna a hug. The man gave Chick the certificate pictured here.
He wasn’t naked, hungry or in prison. He was stuck. And Chick and Tuna helped him get unstuck.
The words of Jesus continue to come alive at Bethany Birches Camp. Join us on the hill (work days, winter camp, summer camp, volunteering) to experience Jesus for yourself.
For the third straight summer Benji will be behind the camp camera! If you’ve seen any BBC Videos over the past 2 summers you know we are fortunate to have her back. Since last summer she’s spent a semester in LA, taken plenty of selfies, graduated from Gordon College and is still psyched to be back at camp. Read on for more details on why she’s glad to be here and why you should come join her!
“Rahn (aka Benji) is BACK for a third summer! I am SO excited for…everything! Building fires, playing games, swimming in the pond, eating baked oatmeal, hanging out with cabins, and making videos! Oh, and avoiding the mudpit 🙂 I’m also excited to learn more about God (God is everywhere here!), and share about God with all the campers. Speaking of campers…I am most excited for campers to get here!! Camp is waaaay more fun when you guys are here- three weeks can’t go by fast enough!”
For the first time in a decade someone other than Cheeks will hold the role of BBC Program Director. While Cheeks is learning how to take care of a newborn, Dan will be leading the BBC Summer Program. Both people are excited for the summer ahead of them. Read on to find out more about Dan and why he’s excited to be at BBC this summer:
“The Lord’s hand was clear in guiding me to this place. After spending months looking for jobs at a camp, the Lord brought me on a trip from Pennsylvania to Virginia where I heard about this job in Vermont. I’ve been on site for just a few days now and have already fallen in love with the camp; the rustic atmosphere, my loving and godly co-workers, and of course the gaga pit! I’ve already sat down with Cheeks and done some major planning for this summer, and let me say, it’s going to be AWESOME! I’m so excited to present some amazing new games and activities that I’ve learned at my other camps, while bringing back some classic BBC camp games!”
Dan has a host of experience in camping. He spent the last 6+ summers working at camps and he grew up at camp. He recently graduated from Cairn University with a double major in Bible and Music Education. He’s been at BBC since Wednesday and already he’s seen most of camp, eaten at Ramunto’s and played games with Nanuk. COME JOIN US on the hill this summer to meet him in person and find out his camp name!
The week is winding down now. Make It Rain is on site for the weekend. Our fearless leader, Greg Jenne is leading them. Some neighbors and members of Bethany Mennonite Church came out for the morning. Earlier in the week, a volunteer group from Franconia Mennonite Church came. And they made progress! Sheet rock was hung, taped and mud. Siding and roofing continued. Underground electric continued. We are pushing hard to get in before summer. Will you come help?
What a month! The pavi has been transformed from a partly finished shell to an almost summer-ready building…well, parts of it.
Progress could not be made without the help of so many volunteers! People have come from far (PA) and close (Lynds Hill Road) to help get the pavi ready for Summer 2015.
Progress also could not be made without the daily efforts of the Jenne Construction Crew. We’re thankful they braved the mud season & cold spring temps to keep moving the pavilion closer to finished!
Despite all the progress that’s been made during the month of April there remains quite a ways to go! Do you have anytime during the month of May to join us in getting the pavilion ready for summer? Email us or call the office to let us know when you can come. If you can’t come to help in May be sure to join us this summer! Bring a camper or come volunteer!
Read on for a recap of pavi work throughout the last month. Click the link to see Pavilion Progress Pics and the people who have been doing the work.
Pavi Construction Update week of April 6
Another exciting week at BBC! A group of 13 are here from Salford Mennonite Church (Harleysville, PA). In one day (Tues) they’ve put decking on the porch roofs, started shingling, aided Harold Bergey with the electrical progress in the kitchen and continue to prepare the downstairs for insulation and sheet rock. The crew of Jenne Construction continues to steadily move the pavilion towards completion. Pray for good roofing weather this week as many hands make the work light!
Pavi Construction Update: Week of April 13
There continues to be lots of action on the hill this week to move the pavilion towards a certificate of occupancy by June 1! Inside the building a team of electricians are finishing up the rough wiring and spending time on a lift to prepare the high pavi ceilings for lights. Many thanks to Harold Bergey who’s here for the third straight week and his posse of volunteers: Will Bergey, Marlin Bergey and Neil Bergey from Bergey’s Electric (Hatfield, PA). Andy Bird (Bridgewater, VT) has been volunteering his VT Masters license all week too! Roy Snell (Woodstock, VT) Ken Hershey and Larry Derstine (Bridgewater, VT) have spent 2 days shingling and siding. Nancy and Russell Pejouhy and Jeremy Ebersole (Tafstville, VT) have spent time staining interior boards. RFactor is here spraying insulation downstairs. On Tuesday Nevin and Job Mast (Oley, PA) spent the day installing piping for a central vac. Audie Bellimer (Bridgewater, VT) is making sure propane is ready to be used in the kitchen. Jon Blanch (Wallingford, VT) continues to spearhead the heating efforts. And the crew of Jenne Construction steadily contributes to pavi progress each day!
Pavi Construction Update – week of April 20:
Today marks 6 weeks exactly until we would like to gain conditional occupancy and start moving into the new pavilion. In some ways, that seems like a long time. But it’s not! There is much to be done before that point. If you’re able to give some time (or $$$) between now and June 1, please do!
This week a group of 10 guys from Blooming Glen Mennonite Church is volunteering. R-Factor insulation experts are on site doing spray foam. Jenne Construction is here, of course. Local volunteers (Betsy Tonkin, Marcia Bender, Calef Hepler, Naomi Moyer, Joanne Hershey and others) are staining board after board. Porches are being finished and then siding will continue with help from Ken Hershey, Roy Snell and Larry Derstine. Roofing will continue as weather allows (it snowed some today, April 20). Electrical rough in is nearly done and finishes are starting. Pray with us for ongoing safety and good times.
Pavi Construction Update – Week of April 27:
Harold Bergey is back to work with Andy Bird on underground electrical needs. Dale Snader of Dale’s homes donates time and machines to dig trenches. Ken Hershey and Larry Derstine contribute their carpentry expertise to every aspect of the building. John Blanch continues to move the heating work towards completion. Jenne Construction completes the shingling on the 2 story part while making headway on drywalling the kitchen. Tuna, Greg and Robert discuss phasing with the fire marshall in an effort to gain conditional occupancy by June 1.
After being a camper (many summers), an intern (’11), an assistant counselor (’12) and the counselor of Partridge (’13) and taking a summer off (’14) Frodo is returning to try out a different staff position: Floating Counselor! Each camper will get to have Frodo as a counselor at some point during the week. Read on for why she’s glad to be back at BBC and why you should come too!
“Look out summer of 2015, this is going to be like one you’ve never seen! Who is ready for some crazy fun times up at BBC this summer? I know that I am! I am back on staff this summer and I can’t wait to share wonderfully fun times with friends new and old! It will be a grand time at camp this summer soaking in the sun, running around in the woods, singing praises to our precious Jesus (and silly songs too!), and who knows what crazy new adventures we will all be having together! I know I am looking forward to swimming in the pond and working in the garden (maybe we can even cook some of our camp-grown food!). More than anything else I am excited to get hugs from you all and spend a week- or two!- doing all sorts of fun things together!” – Frodo