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…
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!*
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!
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.
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!
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
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:)
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.
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.
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!