Friends – it pains me to make a call based on the weather around here. As they say, if you don’t like the weather in Vermont, wait 5 minutes. But still, we’re cancelling the work day tomorrow. Often within 24 hours forecasts are fairly accurate (that’s why we waited until this afternoon to cancel). We value our volunteers’ time and so here’s what I’m going to propose – you think about a time that works well for you. Saturday. Wednesday morning. Whatever it is. You let us know and you can come work on any of these projects:
Bathhouse floor painting
Boiler shed siding
Replace the bathhouse walkway
Putting in the water trampoline
Cutting trees for the new fireside
Woodcutting (we plan to hook up the wood boiler to the cabin this year and need a little more wood!)
Contact me in the office at 802-672-5220 or Amber by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bethany Birches Camp experience teaches many things. Some campers learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, some learn how to cook food over a fire while others uncover gifts God has given them. Learning at camp isn’t limited to campers. Bev Goshow (AKA Grandma Cookie Dough Chaos – that’s her camp name) thought she was coming for one week of serving in the kitchen back in 2010. Seven summers later she is retiring as the camp shepherd for BBC’s youngest campers. Thank you Grandma Cookie Dough Chaos for being open to how God would use you. The following paragraphs are Grandma’s reflections on her path to becoming a camp shepherd at BBC.
~ Amber “Cheeks” Bergey, Volunteer Coordinator & Day Camp Director
As a child I loved attending Camp Sankanac in Spring City, Pa. At that time I was unaware of the seed being planted and nourished. Fast forward to 2010. My husband Dave (aka Woodchip) and I volunteered one week at BBC. I was helping in the old kitchen. When I wasn’t in the kitchen I enjoyed Fireside and soon found myself actively singing with the kids. I’m not sure what happened to me that week. I found myself going down the slip n slide laughing the entire way while campers chanted “Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!”
Before leaving camp, Amber (aka Cheeks) identified one of my gifts as loving children and invited me to be the shepherd the following year. She told me to pray about it. I told her I wouldn’t! I was afraid of what God was calling me to do! My husband Dave felt differently. Dave said right away, “She’ll do it.” He then turned to me and said “You’ll be great at this! It’s right up your alley.”
Preparing for the first year of shepherding brought a lot of anxiety. I had no formal education to do this job. I was just a willing helper. I was fearful the counselors would correct one of my Bible stories! Nothing like that happened. I prayed God would be present and this was for HIM, not Bev. I LOVED my new role!
The highlight of shepherding over the last few years was to share about a loving God and the way of Jesus with 6 to 9 year old campers. I had the total attention of campers when telling them the Bible stories in flannelgraph! You usually could hear a pin drop – even with 84 active kids!
One of the memories that stands out was when I shared the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Quietly the children filed passed me as I gave them bread and fish (Swedish) and told them Jesus loves them. It was so reverent and peaceful. I cried like a baby as the last child went through.
As a camp shepherd I always had one goal: to plant seeds for children to know Jesus as their personal savior and to nourish those seeds in whatever way possible.
The last 3 years she’s been our competent life guard trainer.
Right now she’s on her way to becoming a veterinarian at St George’s University in Grenada.
Quincy started to coming to camp at a young age. She completed the BBC internship in 2010 to fast track her to BBC staff as a 17 year old assistant counselor in 2011 and returned as a counselor in 2012 and 2013. She’s also been back to volunteer numerous times since being on staff. Quincy is a top quality person and we are thankful for her service to the youth of VT. We have great confidence she will provide wonderful care to animals just as she did to campers. And if she’s back in the area and a camp pet is sick, we’ll know just who to call.
Can’t wait till we see you on the hill again Quincy!
Snow covered the ground. The temp was rainy and cool. People were few. A lovely day had by all. All good descriptions of Sat Oct 29th at BBC.
A group of 12 folks worked at getting the grounds ready for winter and tearing out the cabin bathrooms. The volunteers who braved the blustery weather took down tarps at shelters, put away picnic tables, stacked wood, set up sand barrels, cleaned up the garden and disassembled the volleyball net and nine square in the air. The volunteers inside tore apart the cabin bathrooms. In Larry Derstine’s words, “I don’t really like bathroom renovations.” Well I don’t either but they were in sore need of help.
I was outside a lot of the day. At first I was slightly discouraged by the weather but when I saw Nick Champine’s look of sheer glee as he rode around the gator with Dan “Chick” Laubach I felt much better. A little later Caitlyn “Judith” Laubach and I and enjoyed laughing about cleaning up the garden while it was under snow. I was struck with the odd contentment that accompanies serving alongside others. I got to know people better, help the camp and enjoy yummy lunch with all who were present. I’m reminded Jesus doesn’t encourage us to serve as another set of rules to follow but as a way to experience contentment that is otherwise hard to find.
Volunteers joining us on work days is also what allows BBC to keep costs low for campers. It’s a win-win!
Stay tuned for details for other service opportunities at camp (and if you want to come up now, we’re still working on the bathrooms)!
Another auction has come and gone. Boy was it fun! Preparation always seems so stressful for the committee and staff. I left camp at 10pm on Friday night knowing there was plenty to finish on Saturday morning. Slept OK. Woke up thinking about all there was to do. Rushed up to camp after kissing my wife and daughter. Got out of my truck and took a deep breath. Immediately I smelled quiche baking and doughnuts frying. The air was brisk and the sun bright. Fog was rising from the valley below. I recalled a snapshot from a recent board retreat. Someone wrote “Auction Day.” That was a response to the question, “What do you love about camp?” I hadn’t thought about that much until that moment. And I realized that even though it’s stressful for me I just love auction day! Campers are back on site. Many of our most faithful supporters are here. Lots of volunteers hustle around to get food out. And there are new-to-camp folks checking it out for the first time. Sometimes just passing by sometimes from a nearby town.
What a wonderful mix of people! And all for the purpose of supporting a vision of a better world – a vision of giving local children a needed experience; young people who need a place to go and get outside and play. To experience God in nature and the people around them. To be inspired to hope and dream and love. Who doesn’t want to invest in our youth in a meaningful way.
And then there’s the food. Fresh made doughnuts. Quiche & fruit. Fresh coffee. Fresh squeezed apple cider. Popcorn just popped like at the movies. Add the people and food to the event itself – the auctioneers doing their thing with their crazy fast talk. What fun and fellowship!
$42,049 has been recorded so far.
80 bidder numbers were handed out to over 130 people.
95 raffle tickets sold (congrats to Rebecca Golding, winner).
180 doughnuts made and consumed in 4 hours.
See photos from the day on the main auction page. Coming to that page in a day or so will be the lot list with winning bids attached. It’s often fun to see how much items sold for.
And please please please plan to join us next year, September 23 OR 30, 2017 (committee will be deciding shortly).
Please also plan to join us as a volunteer during winter or summer programs. Or, sign up for monthly giving (email me brandon @ bethanybirches.org for the monthly giving form). No matter how you join in the fun, hope to see you here at camp sometime soon.
Work on the pavilion continues! We hope to have the 2nd floor of the pavilion completed and usable by April of 2016. The 2nd floor includes office space, a large meeting room, the nurses station, etc. We’re hoping to utilize as much volunteer labor as possible. Can you help? See the details below and write to email@example.com or call the camp office at 802-672-5220 to let us know if you can help! Join us on Saturday, Dec 12. The work will start at 9am with lunch at noon and continue until 3ish. Snacks, coffee and treats available throughout the day. All work will be inside!
Come for all of the day or come for an hour but PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN COME. This will help Phil Wilkerson plan what work can be done.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the camp office 802-672-5220 to let us know you plan to join.
If you can’t come on the 12th keep your eyes pealed for the next pavi work day in early January.
If you’ve got a couple days you’d like to give or a group of people who’d like to help let us know. There is plenty to do in the hopes we can have the top floor finished by April.
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.
The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) van could be seen in the camp parking lot from April 6-10. Each spring a group of volunteers from Salford Mennonite Church travel in this van to an area that has experienced a natural disaster. The group serves for a week by doing whatever needs to be done to minimize the physical effects of the disaster. This spring there wasn’t an option to head towards a natural disaster on the East Coast so they drove the van to BBC!
A number of the guys in the group joked about bringing the MDS van to BBC. Clearly, this is NOT a site of a natural disaster. And yet something about having the MDS van at BBC last week was so fitting. At times this project has felt like a disaster…
…Attempting to build a large building from start to finish in VT during the months of Sept – June is a bit disastrous…Utilizing as many volunteers as possible to build a commercial building has the potential to be a scheduling disaster…Going 50+ days below freezing when attempting to complete outside construction work feels like a disaster to each worker who can’t feel their fingers/toes most of the day…A spring thaw turning the parking lot into a huge mudpit has the feel of disaster.
The Salford MDS crew did what most MDS crews do. They brought encouragement in the face of discouraging facts. They smiled as they climbed ladders to shingle the roof. They shrugged off the April snow that pushed them to insulate inside. They asked questions about the mission of BBC and worked all the harder. When they finished on Friday the building had more siding, shingles and insulation. The van pulled out early Saturday morning. The parking lot was still muddy. Much of the building is left to be finished. There still isn’t enough money in the bank.
On Monday Ken Hershey, Larry Derstine (Bridgewater, VT), Roy Snell (Woodstock, VT) volunteered time to continue working on shingling and siding. Andy Bird (Bridgewater, VT), Harold Bergey, Will Bergey, Marlin and Neil Bergey (Hatfield, PA) are volunteering all week to continue the rough in electrical work. Today Russell and Nancy Pejouhy (Bethel, VT) came to stain interior boards. Margaret (Lebanon, NH) is here keeping the office in order. A group from Make it Rain will be here this weekend to volunteer their skills and on Sunday a group from Blooming Glen Mennonite Church will start a week of service.
At BBC we normally experience God using people to bring encouragement in the face of discouraging circumstances all summer and this year, all winter. Experience first hand how God does this by volunteering time or giving money to help build the pavilion or sending a kid to BBC this summer!
The MDS Van
Salford MDS Crew
Larry Derstine adds shingles
Marlin and Neil of Bergey’s Electric Volunteer to do the high ceiling work.
Weather is getting better! Today (tues.) being town meeting day meant very few people on site. Happy Birthday to Jerry (of Jenne construction) and a big thanks to Rich Landis and Nanuk for putting a full day in today.
This week brings more heating system work, framing the mudroom, blocking in the walls and the beginning of siding staining. A big thanks to Fred Schlabach and Paul Derksen for putting in windows yesterday. Most of the windows are in now which is very exciting.
Volunteer opportunities for the very near future include mudroom framing (skilled), radiant tubing help (un-skilled) and siding staining (un-skilled). Contact Amber (802-672-5220) to help.
Plumbing rough-in was almost completed this past week thanks in part to a group of volunteers including Austin Landes (Make It Rain), Ben Leatherman and Jon Studt. Four others helped (Kyle Nyce, Jim Frankenfield, Eric and Frank Sirianni) to make the trip a success. Today (Feb 16) was so cold that very little work was done other than prepping for the close-in of the main entry porch.
Site Supervisor Greg taking a break from the cold to try funny cake for the first time!
If weather is decent, that porch structure may be wrapped up this week. The main job for this week is exterior insulation. This will help protect sheathing, give increased R-value and be our main air barrier in the stick frame part of the building.
Volunteer opportunities for the very near future include window and door setting (skilled), radiant tubing help (un-skilled) and siding staining (un-skilled). Contact Brandon (802-672-5220) to help. Or sign up here.