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
Impressive. Well Constructed. Beautiful. These are words people have used to describe the new pavi when look around the construction site. But the word we hear most is BIG. And it’s true. There is a lot of space in the new pavilion. Outside of renovating the kitchen, more (dry) space was one of the main motivators for a new pavi. And now we have A LOT OF SPACE. It’s easy for me to think of all the games, activities, etc campers and staff can play in that space. But that’s my job.
At Polar Bear camp in February I asked campers to consider what they might do in this space. Before they started making cardboard sleds they acted out activities that would take place in the new pavi. They had no trouble coming up with ideas. Look below to see a couple of the ideas they came up with.
I hope they’ll each come back and use the new space this summer.
They say the third time’s a charm. No doubt that will be true for Romie! Romie started as the counselor of Hummingbird in 2013. She returned to Hummingbird for a 2nd summer in 2014. She has a unique ability to listen and lead, sing and play and share God in a way that makes sense to each individual she interacts with. When I asked Romie if she’d consider returning for a 3rd summer I was delighted to hear her say, “Yes. I believe I’m not done learning at BBC.” Read on for more on what Romie is excited about and why you should join her this summer at BBC! (It’s very possible that if you join Romie this summer you may hear this as a song…)
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.
Waking up to snow this morning reminded me that this is the winter that just won’t quit! And what a winter it has been. Lots of people were on and off the hill to help with the building but my favorite groups continue to be THE CAMPERS! During the month of Feb there were 3 great weekends of winter camp! I recently spoke with a camper who was at snow camp who said she enjoys snow camp even more than summer camp.
The 2015 Snow Camp Season included Bobcat Camp for grades 3-6, Lynx Camp for grades 5-7 and Polar Bear Camp for grades 7-9. Each camp had unique activities like cardboard sled races, snowball olympics and popsicle stick collages. Each camp had different staff and campers. Despite the uniqueness of each weekend all 3 snow camps included time outside enjoying the beautiful (and cold) winter wonderland, learning and asking questions about faith, great food (thanks to many volunteers) and lots and lots of fun!
See the BBC Snow Camps for yourself at these different links and then mark your calendars to join us next year or tell your friends to join us for exciting weekends of camp in the snow!
As winter winds down (slowly) we are anxiously awaiting Summer! This summer marks BBC’s 50th summer and the first summer in the new pavi! Don’t miss these exciting milestones at BBC! Sign up for SUMMER CAMP now at http://www.bethanybirches.org/summer-camps/
NYE is coming back for the summer! He’s been at snow camps, he’s volunteered at summer camp and for the first time since 2012 he’ll be at BBC for the entire summer. Read on for why he’s returning and why you should too!!
“I CAN’T WAIT to come back to camp! I’ve been busy stewing my creative juices in my time away from BBC- and I can’t wait to see how having a brand new ENORMOUS pavilion will let us create new games and activities. I can’t wait to do all of my old favorites- the Mudpit, Mission Impossible, Gold Rush- and I even have ideas for awesome NEW games! But I won’t give them away here- come join us at camp this summer to find out!
I can’t wait to worship God, play in the sun, and see you all this summer!
Campers will teach you just as much as (if not more than) you teach them. I share this mantra with staff often throughout orientation. Staff and campers prove the saying true for 8 weeks every summer at Bethany Birches Camp (BBC). A few weeks ago I experienced the mantra to be true for myself as well. Three BBC teen campers reminded me of what it looks like to love God and love people.
About 6 months ago at BBC’s 2013 April Connect for Teens, Annie and Katie Soho told me I should join them on a service trip to an orphanage in Ethiopia in August*. The offer was tempting. I perseverated for about 6 weeks until I finally declined. Recently I was browsing pictures from their trip and reading about their stories (I’m still waiting to hear in person) through an article in the Valley News** and I’m wondering why I didn’t join them. The pictures and comments struck me as love in action. Specifically loving the least – children and widows. The campers were carrying out the beliefs I claim and share each summer.
For the past 10 summers I’ve shared God’s 2 most important commandments: Love God and Love People. As each summer concludes the post summer blues inevitably sink in. I miss the excitement and energy of young people at camp. I miss the staff. I feel like the beauty of camp is wasted on the emptiness. I wonder if any campers heard anything this summer that will change their lives. Over the course of their summers at BBC – Annie, Katie and Flossie heard something. These 3 girls have been hearing this message for a long time from camp, from their churches and from their families. These BBC campers not only heard a message to love others but put the message into practice. They sacrificed 2 weeks of their summer to serve in Ethiopia. Campers continue to teach me.
Annie, Katie (and their mom Sandy) and Flossie inspired me. Following their journey to Ethiopia and back again has inspired me to not just stay on the hill of a lonely camp but to move into the world (or invite the world to me) to love God and love people. I don’t know that I’ll be heading to Ethiopia anytime soon but right now I’m inspired by these 3 BBC campers to consider how I can live out now what I share all summer. How do I love the love and serve the people around me now? I’m learning more from these campers than they are from me.
*Selamta Family Project is an organization that seeks to place orphans in forever families. Find out more here.
**I waited too long after the article to post this. You can’t seem to get to the article anymore online. If you’d like to read it in full let me know, I think I can get my hands on a copy.
So yesterday I hiked up the back side of Mt. Washington with some friends. We wanted to get some late season skiing in!
I have a cool GPS map but there’s an error with the file. If you could see the map you’d notice that we were all over the place! After hiking up, we walked to different areas of the mountain to see how the skiing was over there (and then over there… and over there). We did this because we didn’t know the mountain very well and wanted to find out where the sweet spots were.
This is not so different than the life of faith. For example, Jesus tells us in the Bible that he is “the way, the truth and the life…” For many years, it was hard for me to understand what that meant. I hadn’t experienced him enough to know that what he said is true or understand how it worked. I hadn’t found out where the good skiing was, yet, so to speak. In fact, yesterday I had to trust that there was good skiing up there somewhere. And I trusted that there was because many people have said so, and, I had been there a few times before.
When we got down, one friend mentioned that he feels like he knows the mountain much better now. (He’d better – we spent 10 hours walking around on top of it!) When following Jesus, in faith, it feels very much like this. A little like wondering around for a while on top of a mountain. And, we get to know him better after spending time with him or trying out something he said. Then we come to a knowledge of him. Knowledge of him (or of the mountain) is beyond faith in him (or trust that the mountain will have some sweet spots).
Just one of the many reasons I’m excited for Summer Camp 2013. Another chance to explore the life of faith and come to know Jesus. Please share if you too are excited for camp (or have been up Mt. Washington in the spring!).
What about you – what’s the life of faith like for you?