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Pavi Hoedown Teardown: Thank You!

Sometimes the task ahead of us looks too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

When completing a thesis became a requirement for graduate school I wondered if I would pass. (I did.)

When driving over the Killington Pass in the snow became necessary to go home I wondered if I should rent an apt in Rutland. (I didn’t.)

When a group of new summer staff shows up each June and many campers are registered to join us I often wonder to myself, “hmmm, how will this go?” Each summer has gone well, with plenty of lessons along the way. (Except for 2009, that summer was really hard!)

When Tuna told me we needed to have the pavilion packed up, prepared for tear down and host a party the day after 8 weeks of summer camp ended, I laughed. Usually, the day after summer camp ends, I sleep. For a very long time.

The task seemed too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

Then a large group of people showed up. People of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, and camp connections came to help.

I started to realize the day was going to go differently than I expected when one of the Musser Woodcutters (a group of men who have been coming each November to cut firewood for camp for the past 15+ years) walked into the pavi just before 2pm with his wife. They live in central PA. After hugs and greetings they both asked, “what can we do?” Lynette got to work in the kitchen and Merle hauled stuff from the pavilion to various places on the gator.

Board members arrived ready to get their hands dirty. Shoot, they even brought their spouses and kids!

Rouke’s Mom and Dad arrived at the start and took apart the water fountain, the kitchen and some of the walls! Campers from past and present came with their families and cut trees, cleaned out the craft hut, organized and boxed up the nurse’s station, moved kitchen supplies, put the craft hut on trees, and all the while smiled and asked what else they could do to help.

Volunteers who have been around since the start of camp cleaned out the recycling shed (which had not been fully cleaned out for an embarrassing amount of time), took apart electrical things and continued to ask, “what else can we do?”. Sharkbait’s (assistant cook ’14) family spent time moving the cubbies to chickadee and organizing items in their temporary homes.  Chad Yoder and Austin Landes started in well before 2pm, moving the ball box, taking apart the mural, and dismantling the sound system. Jeff Rosenberger and Dale Snader drove their trucks and trailers around camp property moving heavy kitchen appliances. They too, did all this work smiling and always asking what else can we do?

Local carpenters salvaged pieces of the old pavilion to sell at the upcoming benefit auction. Althea and Jane inventoried, bagged up and organized the camp store supplies. Phil, Denise and a crew of helpers provided everyone with a great meal, sans kitchen!

It wasn’t long until I had no answer to the continuous question, “what else can we do?” And it has taken me too long to say THANK YOU to each person who came to help with the Pavi Teardown Hoedown.

And now, as various challenges with each step of the building process arise, the task of replacing the Pavi seems too big. Monumental. Insurmountable.

Then I remember the Pavi Teardown Hoedown. I also remember the volunteers who come to help each summer. I remember what BBC shared with campers for the duration of Summer ’14: God will build God’s people up by using God’s people. That is the story of Bethany Birches. God uses God’s people to build a community of love.  Bring on the task of building a new Pavi.  Only with God are all things possible. May God inspire you to help build the new Pavi.

#We would be building #withGod

 

When will the snow melt?!

Yesterday, I was walking around the pavilion and found a big pile of snow left.  I decided it would be fun to guess when it would melt.  So I took a picture and post it on Facebook with that question. And said whomever guessed right would get a new BBC Sticker.  Each day, I’m going to take a picture around noon and paste it here, on this post.  And that evening, I’ll post it to FB too.

What’s your guess?  When will this pile of snow melt?!  Of course summer camp won’t be far behind…

April 22:

Snow pile April 22

April 23 (does it look any less?!):

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April 24

Snow melt 4-24

April 25

snow melt 4-25

April 26Snow melt 4-26
April 28Snow melt 4-28
April 29Snow melt 4-29
April 30Snow Melt 4-30
May 1Snow melt 5-1
May 2Snow melt 5-2
May 4Snow melt 5-4
May 5Snow melt 5-5
May 6 – IT IS FINISHED!Snow Melt 5-6
COMMENTARY

 

Here’s what people are guessing on FB:

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TODAY: Fall work day

From raking leaves to a re-roofing project, there will be all sorts of fun! Come join us anytime from 9-4pm. We’ll serve Lunch around 12:30.

Bring a rake!

The BBC Cabin has Something for Everyone in Winter

Cheeks trying to stay ahead of the raking

Cheeks trying to stay ahead of the raking

The other day Tuna posted this picture of me trying to stay ahead of leaf raking. Mowing leaves reminded me of plowing/shoveling snow. My heart sunk as I remembered how much harder it is to both shovel snow and drive in snow compared to leaves! Then I remembered the beauty of winter, the memories I’ve created while skiing down East Fall, giggling the whole way down the BBC tube run or heading deep into the quiet woods on my snowshoes. BBC is a winter wonderland. Consider coming to check it out!

The Bethany Birches Cabin is a great spot to enjoy every aspect of winter…
…Head to the nearby mountains for some of the best skiing in the northeast.  (Killington Mountain or Okemo Mountain)
…Tube down BBC’s 1/5 mile tube run on tube park quality tubes for a memorable adventure
…Strap on snowshoes or cross country skis and explore the 100 acres of camp.
…Snowmobile the VAST trail which runs through camp property and can take you anwhere in the state of VT.
…Or simply watch the snow fall from a cozy cabin.

No matter the type of adventure you enjoy – BBC is a cozy, affordable place to stay. The cabin is kid friendly and a great place for groups of any kind to gather!*

Take 20% off a week long rental. Inquire about midweek/3 night rental specials. For more details on rates click here. Or click here to check the availability. To reserve the cabin click here.  Or give us a call! (802-672-5220)

If you’re coming to ski – don’t’ miss out on Killington’s early bird deals ($58 Weekend Tix/$38 Mid Week Tix offered through 10/17) Keep in mind, Killington is open until May and skiing in April can be just as fun as skiing in Feb!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Non Profit Youth Group Discounts ($15/person)

Voyager Nature Art

Another fun week with wild wednesday interest groups dedicated just to nature. Here are the outcomes of nature art!

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Nature Art

Pepper here!

This summer I have come to camp as myself, what I mean is that I came to camp just to be a fine art illustrator  (I’m heading into my senior year at art school) and share that in different ways at camp. One of those ways has been leading drawing and painting interest groups. On Wednesday this week I experimented with Tex and the campers to make these nature art paintings. We used scrapers and a roller to apply layers of paint and then glued on things we had collected from nature to create lanscape scenes of camp.

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In my other interest group we played around with watercolors– how the colors can bleed into each other, drips can create interesting shapes and splattering the paint is a lot of fun!

 

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Newsletter 2013: BBC TV

For years the wonderful staff and campers at camp have been creating many videos (hundreds!).  A lot of those (less than two hundred) made their way to Youtube. It was such a shame to let them sit there, lonely and unwatched so we decided to create BBC TV.  There are currently four channels: Summer, Winter, Staff and Everything (clever title, we know). You’ll find them here: BBC TV

Tracks in the Snow

The hill is finally snow covered. Actually, camp is snow buried.  For those of you that have seen me at a snow camp, what I’m about to write might surprise you. My heart sinks when the snow starts falling. There’s no arguing the snow is beautiful. Clothed with adequate warm weather attire I love to go tubing, snow shoeing, skiing, snow painting or falling in the snow to make a snow angel. What I hate about snow is driving in it! I hate the fact that the roads I drive daily become unpredictable and dangerous. The additional travel time is detrimental to a chronically tardy person. I don’t enjoy the increase of blood pressure and white knuckles that are my body’s response to driving in the snow.

The other day I was lamenting all of the above as I watched Tuna drive away in inches of snow towards Killington. It’s so natural for Tuna to drive in the snow. As I pondered the many differences between us small indentations in the snow caught my eye. The indentations led straight to a tree. My gaze then caught another set of tracks. These were much bigger leading from the road to the woods. I was suddenly reminded that I am not the only one adversely affected by the snow. As the snow gets deeper moving around the woods becomes more challenging for some animals. The whereabouts of animals become more easily detected after a fresh snow fall. Despite the increased challenge, God gives these animals adaptations to make snow survival more possible. I was reminded of the adaptation God has given me in an AWD Subaru to get around in the snow. Despite my fear, I can usually get where I need to go in the snow.

I hope that someday I become more comfortable traveling in the snow but after 5 winters of white knuckled driving on the hill I’m not so sure I will.  At camp we often look around us to attempt to learn from nature. Seeing animal tracks in the snow reminds me that despite increased challenge, fear and adversity God gives each creature the resources required to live. (Philippians 4:19) God provides us with whatever we need to make our mission possible.

Come see for yourself, join me on the hill this winter for some animal tracking:)

Animal Tracks by the Tipi_Jan 13

Happy New Year from BBC

Happy New Year from Bethany Birches!

I (Cheeks) took a few minutes to reflect on the past year. 2012 was another year full of learning and challenge. The various challenges and uncertainty left a lot of room for God to work. As God moved and worked here on the hill I learned a lot about prayer. All summer long we tell campers to pray when they are in trouble, when they are thankful, before meals and any time they want to connect with their Creator. We teach them a variety of ways to pray. We encourage them to pray for each other. Staff pray for campers all throughout the year. And yet this topic has alluded me of late. But as I reflected on 2012 the resounding theme was ANSWERED PRAYER. I was so aware of God answering prayers consistently throughout the year. Read on for my recollection of the top 5 answered prayers of 2012:

Bobcat Campers enjoying the snow

1. SNOW for SNOW CAMP: The week before Bobcat snow camp there was a vital ingredient missing: SNOW! I called my mom and told her we had no snow on the ground for snow camp and asked her to please pray for SNOW. I started planning for a snowless snow camp while praying snow would come. We could see grass on Thursday afternoon, but by Friday afternoon the hill was covered and night time sledding was a blast! I don’t know if God changed the weather pattern specifically for a BBC Snow Camp, but I learned to trust more in God as the snow covered the ground.

Lynx snow-campers with Marlin and Guppy in the middle. (This was just before we got the bad news from the fire marshal.)

2. SHEPHERD for SNOW CAMP: Two weeks before the 2012 Lynx Snow Camp camp was shepherdless. Person after person turned down the offer to come teach Jr High campers about Jesus. One night after exhausting the last person I knew to call I prayed – “God who will shepherd these campers?” The next day Marlin and Guppy called up saying they wanted to make room in their life to drive 12 hours both ways from VA – VT to help at a snow camp – did I still have any needs? YES! Marlin and Guppy shepherded for Lynx Camp and a good time was had by all. I continue to learn that God will bring people to do God’s work.

3. FIRE MARSHAL RALLY: You may have heard the story of the cabin upgrades required by the fire marshal in March (If not, scroll back to earlier blog posts). The whole fiasco was so discouraging at times. And yet, in each discouraging scenario we prayed. Prayed for God to bring funds. Prayed for God to bring volunteers. Prayed for God to bring materials. And each time God answered. One time God answered with a generous donation from the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. Another time God answered with 2 of Tuna’s Aunt and Uncles coming for a week to do all the electrical work. Another time God answered with camper parents who were willing to volunteer their carpentry skills. Another time God answered prayer with a 10K check from an individual supporter. God answered each prayer and I learned to trust him for all my needs.

Summer 2012 Staff

4. STAFF SHORTAGE: Going into March there were only a few applicants to counsel for summer 2012! We had recruited at colleges. We invited past staff to return. I had sent out emails. And still, the applications did NOT come. Finally, I committed staffing to prayer. Every day I diligently prayed for young adults to be drawn to BBC. By the end of March we had an excess of male and female counseling applicants. God does not always answer prayer on a timeline that I’m comfortable with but I’m learning timelines are overrated!

MORE CAMPERS: We can only have camp if campers come. When it comes to camper attendance, “the more the merrier!” is always true. Since the end of Summer 2011 I had been feeling like camp should have more campers. At the beginning of 2012 I started praying for more campers. God, bring more campers to camp! And God did. One week God answered by having one camper family invite their entire basketball team. A worker at a social services agency used to attend BBC as a kid so she sent every camper she could. Word got out. BBC was the place to be this summer. Camp saw over a 12% increase in camper attendance during the summer of 2012. God brought more campers and through each one, more of himself.

Join me in praying for BBC in 2013. Don’t be surprised when God answers.

– Cheeks.

Inside Out Lives On!

Summer 2012 is officially over. Actually, it’s long past official, it’s history! The temps are dipping lower and lower, the counselors and campers have been gone for months. The pond is empty of the summer toys. The swings are still. The water to the bath house is off. Now is the time of year when BBC looks ahead to next summer, summer 2013. It’s been a challenge to move on this year partly because the theme from last Summer continues to be real all around me. Inside Out is be evident each day. I continue to see these ideas around me and experience them in my life.

The most visible example of late was the foliage season. The brilliant colors of the leaves changing bring the mountains to life. Everywhere is bustling and busy with tourists and crafts. Life is vibrant. But the reality is, regardless of all the life and color that comes with the changing leaves, it’s a symbol of dying. The leaves change color because all the nutrition and oxygen is removed. The trunk of the tree holds onto all the life giving material so the tree as a whole can survive winter. This allows pigments in the leaves that have always been there shine through. The displays of red, orange and yellow are beautiful. The colors are beautiful symbols of the death to follow.  Beauty precedes death. The dying of the leaf allows the tree to survive the winter.  The current leaves die and fall so the tree can live on through the winter. From death comes life. It’s Inside Out.

I’m sure the Inside Out theme will continue to abound around me, even now that all the leaves have fallen. I’ll continue to enjoy recounting the experiences and events of the summer of 2012. As I remember the relevance of the Inside Out theme, I’ll seek to uncover a theme with the same amount of relevance for the upcoming winter camps and the Summer of 2013. Stay tuned!

 

Tuna and Cheeks enjoying foliage with new friends Dave and Kathi Peters of GlobalStory2 in October 2012.