Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

Fire Marshal and Cabin Update

We’ve been hard at work!  So many volunteers have lent a hand as well as paid help.  Paul Derksen of Turning Leaf Houserights

Paul working on exit stair from loft

has been running the construction side of the project and putting paid and volunteer labor to work.  Mike Bryan (electrician) has been working with Harold Bergey and Herb Frederick of Bergey’s Electric to get the necessary electrical work done and Jim at Royal Alarms has been making things happen on the fire alarm side!  We’ve had so many helpers to date and it’s so encouraging.  When this project is finished, we’ll list all those involved.

Something amazing – the giving toward this project.  We’ve had two gifts of $20,000!  Thanks so much to Doug and Becky Clemens and also the First Congregational Church of Woodstock.   It’s just amazing how God moves through people to accomplish things.  Many have given besides these two very large gifts.  We’re so thankful we can keep moving, buying materials and getting everything in place because of this financial support.  And on top of that, Goodro Lumber is giving through a 15% discount on materials and A.M. Goshow and Son supplied the windows for the project.  Robert Buchan Architect has given quite a discounted rate on services.

Pray with us that we’ll be ready for a final inspection by the week of June 11 and that we’ll have necessary lodging for staff and volunteers this summer.  Pray also for wisdom! We want to make good choices about the Bethany Birches facility – choices that will be cost effective but durable and long-lasting.  Choices that will serve the program of the camp extremely well and allow us to continue to create a facility that accomplishes the unique mission God has given to Bethany Birches.

Thanks be to God for all the wonderful people who are coming together to help make this building safer!

And no matter what happens in the cabin, summer 2012 is on and only three weeks away!

Tuna

Leon working on the exit from the loft

Fire Marshal Update: Call for help

It’s been about two months since the fire marshal’s visit. We continue to be thankful for the way their office is working with us and helping to make the building safer.

Here’s what’s happening this month (May):

  • Electricians are working on the smoke detection system
  • Egress windows being installed
  • Cutting trees for a neighbor to earn cash for the project ($5000!)
  • Stairways being upgraded (smoke proofed)
  • Exit from loft constructed
  • LOTS OF CLEANING afterward!
Will you join us?  Here are some ways to help:
  • Carpentry, building trades – May 21-June1.  We need at least 2 volunteers each day.
  • Cleaning – we’ll need help with this from June 4-8
  • Cooking – particularly things that can be frozen.  Baked goods too. We need some lunches for people working the last two weeks of May.
You can let us know when you’re available and what you can give by filling this form out.  Again, here are the dates:
May 12:                    Spring Workday – come one, come all!
May 21 – June 1: Carpentry and building help
June 4 – June 8: Cleanup and prep for summer

Cabin Help

As you know, the cabin needs help so we can use it this summer! If you can help, let us know by filling out this form.
  • We will communicate with you this way
  • If you are giving carpentry/building labor, which trades/skills do you have? If food or baked goods, what do you plan to make and how much?
  • Please list the dates you intend to come to work. We will assume a full day unless you specify half day
    If no, select other and let us know how we can get it from you (if you live far, we may not be able to come get it).
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Once we hit June, we hope to have occupancy.  We expect to begin a small addition project that will finish the requirements for the building.  But, because of time, we need to postpone that till August and the fire marshal has been gracious in helping us get a timeline that works.

Join me in praying and hoping for a fun-filled, safe, eternally impacting summer!

Tuna

Fire Marshal Update


I can’t tell you how good it is to be loved and cared for by a community.  In Bethany Birches’ case, this is a community of love.  A community built on Jesus.  I don’t always know how to articulate what that means, but I write it because this community is different than many.  For example:

  • One of our campers made a $10 contribution to the cabin project.
  • Parents of campers continue to call and write offering whatever they can to help.
  • Two large churches are planning to give to the project in a meaningful way.
What has become clear over the last two weeks is that many have received something special while at Bethany Birches.  Others have received something special by supporting Bethany Birches. They have freely received and so they freely give.  This is the way God’s spirit works and it’s so encouraging to be a part of the receiving side.
It’s starting to look like there’s a good chance we’ll be able to get the cabin in shape by June.  I met yesterday with Robert (architect) and Paul (builder) to start the detailed punch list.  Very exciting.  Within a week or so, we ought to be able to post the dates for a couple work days/weekends.  There’s already a work group planning to come mid April.  If you are or have friends that are skilled in a building trade, contact me and we can find a time for you to get to work!
If you have money you can contribute, you can give through the website or by mail (address: 2610 Lynds Hill Road, Plymouth, VT 05056) or phone (802-672-5220).
Hot off the press – this is from our board meeting last week.  One of the greatest challenges to meet is the required exits for the sleeping lofts. We can’t even put a door on the side near the road because the porch roof from below is in the way.  In order to get the exits needed, we’re planning to move forward with one of our master plan initiatives.  In short, it’s to add adequate bathrooms to the cabin (right now there are two, very small bathrooms).  So, if we put the shell for the bathrooms up now, we can bring the two exits out through that shell.  Yee Ha!
Next up – completion of design and plans to obtain permitting through the fire marshal.
I thank God for each of you and for what God’s spirit will do here at camp this summer!
Brandon

Fire Marshal Visit

This post is about a sad story.  It’s the story of the BBC Cabin the day the fire marshal came to visit.

Bruce and Jay were friendly and clear.  They have concerns about how quickly people could get out of the building in case of fire.  They gave us a conditional permit, which ends April 1, 2012!  After that, no one can sleep in the building until it’s amended to meet Vermont Life Safety Code.

How big of a deal can 8 violations really be?  Apparently a big enough deal to cost $20-$30K (un-detailed estimate) – YIKES!

So I tell the board.  They wisely came to the decision that now is not the time to upgrade the building as we hope to someday.  We must stay focused on the pavilion project.  We’re oh so close to beginning the fundraising effort for that.  So, the vote is that we amend the building as simply as possible in the least expensive way we can.

For those of you who are wondering about these violations, here’s the first draft of a punch list:

ViolationRemedyNotes
1.No Egress window main floor bedroomsInstall 1 egress windows in each of four bd. rms.Window to be 5.7 square feet
2.Stairwells out of code. upgrade wall material. install 20 min doors. install closure on door. upstairs build wall. 4 stairwells. drywall. doors
NoneAdd heating in loftNeed heating because of closure to lofts
3.No exits in loftsInstall exit door in each sided (2 total)Need exit stairway from floor to ground
4.loft ceilingInstall sheetrock
5. inadequate Co2 detectorsInstall hardwired Co2 with battery back-upRun wires with smoke detect system
6.No smoke detectors in basementInstall 2 smoke detectors in basementPart of total smoke detect overhaul
7. no emergency lightingInstall emergency lighting system
8. inadequate fire alarm systemInstall new fire alarm system with communicationsClarify what communications system is
NonePainting and other touchups related to construction

And so here we are.  We MUST do the above if we want to use the building this summer in program.  CAN YOU HELP US?  HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO HELP:

  • Give money!  Just the materials are going to cost over $10K (EDIT on 4/6/12 – materials will probably be closer to $30K!).  Send a check or give online here and give to general operations or where needed most.
  • Give time: we’ll need volunteers to do most of the work.  Consider getting a small crew of experienced people together and come up for a weekend.  A few experienced laborers can make a big dent in just two days.  Call the office or email Brandon.
  • Give material: perhaps you own or have influence in a supply chain that could get us sheet rock, lighting, paint, etc.  If it’s in the above list, we need it.

And so the story of an old camp, that’s doing the best it can, continues.

Something very interesting to me is the fact that I had a two hour emotional cycle after the fire marshal’s visit.  At first I was frustrated and annoyed.  Then, humility kicked in.  So often, when I receive correction, direction, instruction, if I am able to release my frustration, I begin to sense God at work.

God, join us in this endevor and in all of our endevors.  I pray that you will bring the resources and people needed to acomplish this change and that it will not distract from the bigger things ahead.

Pavilion Project: Survey Results

Recently, some of you (141 to be exact) filled out a survey to help us understand the support you have for this project.  The results were helpful and meaningful – thanks!  See the bottom of this post for more context on this project if you’re not sure what all this is about.

Some highlights from the survey results include:

  • Estimate that together you may support this project to the tune of $425,000 in cash
  • Estimate that together you may provide expense offsets to the tune of another $500,000
  • The project as it is conceptualized is well supported among you, specifically these ideas:
  • Additional rainy day space
  • Winter space that allows campers to get and stay warm during winter program
  • Ability for staff to do their jobs well, with less stress
  • The continuation of the pavilion concept (rather than a traditional building)
  • The possibility of a “Barn Raising” meaning, lots of opportunity for volunteer help and labor
  • Support for the current leadership, vision and mission of BBC
  • Diversity around the importance of “Green” construction
  • Diversity around the term rustic and just how rustic BBC ought to be and remain

The cost estimate for the total project including all related expenses and fundraising for normal operations is estimated to be between $1,600,000 and $1,800,000.  Bear in mind that there are many factors that go into these estimates and the project cost and the estimated revenue could change quickly depending on any of those factors.

So here we are.  At a cross roads.  How much faith do we put into these estimates?  How big of a problem is it that there is a $700,000 discrepancy between what is needed and what might be raised?

These are extremely tough questions to answer.  We know we don’t want a mortgage.  We know we need to move forward with this project.  We know God has done unusual things at BBC in the past.

We as a board are looking closely at whether we can overcome the perceived money gap by phasing the building from the outside-in.  If this is possible in a way that is desirable, we will be able to proceed.

———————————

A little context:

For years we’ve been planning toward a more sustainable Bethany Birches (BBC).  One that relies deeply on the wisdom and guidance of our gracious God.  And at the same time, a Bethany Birches that doesn’t need to raise quite so much money for annual support.  A BBC that understands deeply the heart of it’s ministry and is consistently able to find the right people to carry out the work of it’s mission.  And this is the ongoing lesson in humility – to do this work while at the same time recognizing God as the giver and sustainer.  It’s something we’ve been working out for over 47 years now.

Our planning and probing has revealed various things and sparked passionate conversation.  The immediate next step in our work is replacement of our program head-quarters… the Pavi!  It was the first building on site in 1966.  It was added on to in 1968.  The building has lived well and been used well.  It’s old, broken and in many ways can’t do what we’re asking it to do.  For more on the intentions of the project, see this post.

New Arts and Crafts Program

Thanks to one Beth Horst, we are doing a bunch of new arts and crafts activities this summer.  She has much skill in this area and managed to put together a set of new activities for us.

Pictured is Cheeks holding the book and a sample necklace.

Thanks so much, Beth and family, for this great gift!

This brings me to another point. Mike, her husband, recently bought us a set of GPS devices that we’ll use to introduce Geocaching this year!  And don’t even get me started on the map that Mike has created for us.  So sweet!

Thanks to the Horst family (Mike & Beth) for continuing a long tradition of Kingdom building at Bethany Birches which Mike’s dad, Earl started when he came with a bunch of relatives that we refer to as the Musser Woodcutters.

God will provide.  Sometimes God’s providence has nothing to do with our desires and that confuses us.  How can a father turn away his hungry child when his child asks for bread? And you reply by asking, what about all those starving children in Africa?  That brings us to the Bread of Life.  And sometimes, the bread that we have been charged to offer our brothers and sisters in Africa is different from the bread God is offering to all.

Tuna