This is the last auction items spotlight, as we will close the online bidding form tomorrow (Sept 28) at 9am and start putting full attention on final setup and details. So get your bids in tonight and first thing tomorrow morning if you’re not joining us on Saturday!
One item that is not to be missed is Win One Day of Service by Forest Savers.(Code: FORSAV) Gerry Hawkes, owner/operator of Forest Savers, has been a long-time supporter of Bethany Birches Camp. He headed up the consulting and construction for the camp pond in the 80’s and this spring cut 300 dead trees down in 1 day. This dude has tools and tons of experience. He can make your land project happen! You wanna cut trails through your wood lot, no problem (he’ll even design them). Maybe you want to reclaim a field that’s overgrown. He’ll do it in less than a day. Your driveway is a mess from years of rain and plowing… he can get it looking brand new. He offers many services. Visit his website to see them all and to watch videos of him in action. In fact, here’s Gerry pulling spruce poles out of the camp woods for the pavilion porches back in 2015.
I am personally not what you would call a “good cook.” I have joked with friends that the smoke detector and the oven timer are basically the same thing. Yes, I have burned broccoli while attempting to steam it, and I have practically dehydrated asparagus while trying to roast it. The only real “specialty” that I make is Rice Krispie Treats – and that is simply because I add EXTRA marshmallows to the recipe on the box. (But they are so good!)
Needless to say, I really appreciate those who have skills in the kitchen and are willing to share them.
We are so excited to be featuring some friends of camp, who are also very talented home chefs, and are offering up what they do best! At the BBC Annual Benefit Auction you could win yourself an amazing culinary delight. We are talking drool worthy!
For the CHOCOHOLICS out there, like myself, I would strongly suggest bidding on Gwen Groff’s Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis. I think the name says it all – but it is simply a decadent treat not to be missed. Charles Shultz said: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” How true!
For the SEAFOOD LOVERS, there are two great options to consider. First – you could treat yourself to a batch of Phil Wilkerson’s famous Maryland Fresh Blue Crab Cakes! He will make them to order with a week’s notice, and you can pick them up in Bridgewater. That sounds like a perfectly delicious dinner – and no dishes! Amazing!
Secondly – you could enjoy a full 4-Course Seafood Dinner Extravaganza, cooked for you by, and hosted in the home of, Abner and Virginia Schlabach. Everything they make is wonderful and their hospitality is second to none. This would be such a great evening – don’t miss out! The menu includes things like cream of crab soup, salad with scallops, and grilled catch of the day with mango salsa. Yum!
Finally – You can also win a full Dinner for Eight People – cooked and delivered to you by Donna Miles. She will design a menu style to your choice, deliver it do your house, and dessert is included. This sounds like a great way to have friends and family over for a fun evening – and not have to worry about cooking. And it is guaranteed to be delicious.
Virginia Woolf said that “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
The BBC Annual Benefit Auction is only 3 sleeps away. Yay- I can’t wait!
Not only is this a great way to score some amazing items, but you get to help send kids to camp in the process. That is what I call a WIN-WIN!
Have you checked out our website yet to start your ‘WISH LIST’ of things you want to bid on? I have, and so I thought I would share are a couple of the items that I am very excited about.
I don’t know about you, but there is something wonderful about wearing a brand new pair of socks. That feeling is just so cozy and perfect, and totally makes an average day into something special. And if they are a FUN pair of socks, that is even better. So – I totally have my eye on all the amazing Solmate Socks we have to choose from on the auction list. The snuggle is real! Which design will be your favorite? Or maybe you will find the perfect pair for a friend! (Plus – this is a great item to use as a stocking stuffer for those of you early birds who are already in Christmas shopping mode)
And where better to wear those awesome socks – than to the MOUNTAIN! I am a snowboarder, and I look forward to carving up some winter fun. How awesome that we have donated tickets to Killington, Okemo, and Suicide Six. Now, I just need to decide which one to bid on! I guess having too many great options is not a bad problem to have.
I recommend you check out the website and start making your own Wish List. We hope to see you on Saturday, from 9am-Noon, at the Auction.
Why do all good things come to an end? So that new good things can begin!
Dan “Chick” Laubach has served as program director since May 2015. He has decided to finish his service at Bethany Birches effective the end of August 2018. He has made important contributions (and will continue to this year… and he evens plans to volunteer beyond this year). While he was program director, summer and winter registrations were opened earlier than ever. I believe that has contributed to the ongoing increase in attendance (in fact, half of programs offered in a calendar year have waiting lists… we’re expecting even more waiting lists this year). Chick has also contributed to a professionalism in the office. He has helped to upgrade policies and procedures and has sharpened some of our marketing and communications plans.
I very much appreciate the amount of time he has allowed us for making the transition. He is going to continue managing the program throughout this winter and summer. He will depart at the end of summer 2018. If a replacement is found in time, I would consider him/her starting as soon as May 2018 for maximum transfer of knowledge, ideas, practices etc. However, if an ideal fit is found, we would start them whenever works best for them. The search for a new program director will begin shortly. We have some backend work to do to clarify the type of person we’re looking for and finalize some details. In the mean time, if you or someone you know has interest, please do reach out to me. Call the office, email or even text if you have my number.
We give Chick a big round of applause and wish him the very best in his future endeavors. Most importantly, may you be guided by God’s spirit and at peace into the unknown. Thanks for your service and can’t wait to see you back here as a volunteer.
In a society preoccupied with STUFF consider giving the gift of an experience this Christmas.
PARENTS: planning to send your camper to camp this winter or summer? Consider giving them camp for Christmas! You can use the form on this page to get them signed up easily and will get a card to give your child too: bethanybirches.org/xmas
SUPPORTERS: Perhaps your loved ones don’t need any more things. Give them the gift of knowing a child is being nurtured spiritually, physically and emotionally. Make a contribution using the form on this page (bethanybirches/givecamp) and we’ll email you a Christmas card you can place in a loved one’s stocking Christmas morning!
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.
Dot Samsi was a parent/volunteer last summer (2017) at BBC. She agreed to reflect on her experience for the 2017 fall newsletter. Check out family – friendly – no – previous – experience – required – volunteer opportunities for 2018 here.
Camp has been a part of my life since I was a kid in Ohio. Every summer I went away for a week. When I came home covered in mosquito bites, I would write letters to my camp friends and impatiently check our mailbox for their responses. After college I got to work at camp for a summer that turned into a year and a half. My husband and I even got married at that camp and had our reception in the dining hall! Once our kids were old enough, they joined the fun by coming to Mom & Me camp.
Since leaving Ohio several years ago, camp hadn’t been part of our lives but I knew that I wanted camp to be part of our kids’ lives. When we moved to New England, we heard about Bethany Birches from some friends. Then two years ago we made the 120 mile trip to camp for the first time. We dropped the kids off on the mountain for Launch Half. Two days later we picked up exhausted campers who had had a great time!
This past summer I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. I asked if camp might need a volunteer and heard back from Amber that Bethany Birches loves volunteers! Yay! And it turns out, BBC can use plenty of volunteers. My daughter invited 2 friends and one of their moms, Amy, volunteered also. We all arrived ready to stay for the 2-night Launch Half program.
Amy and I both volunteered in the kitchen where Sparkles and Sharkbait put us right to work. Within a few minutes, we had gloves on our hands, bandannas on our heads, and we were serving dinner to hungry campers! We washed dishes, mopped floors, packed meal crates, and made huge amounts of apple crisp. We even got to make a grocery run for pig trough supplies!
As far as lodging, we brought our sleeping bags and we were ready to rough it, but we ended up staying in a really nice house up the street. It was more like glamping than camping and we had a good time getting to know the other volunteers. Looking for adventure, Amy and I slept out in the hammocks the last night. When we weren’t in the kitchen, we got to see some of the activities (now I know what a pig trough is all about!) and hear some of Grandma Cookie Dough’s firesides. We also got to do a little hiking. (The treehouses are amazing! I think that there may be a treehouse sleepout in my future!)
Volunteering at camp was such a welcome change of pace. The positive atmosphere, the beauty of God’s creation and the joy and enthusiasm of the campers and staff were so refreshing. Even with all the hard work, I came away feeling refreshed. I’m so glad that my family has found Bethany Birches. We can’t wait until next summer!
-Dot Samsi, 2017 Summer Camp Volunteer
Volunteers surround camper enjoying the pig trough
The first (small) snow fell yesterday at BBC! The snow fell on leaf cleared grass, newly built pallets and freshly felled trees. Saturday Nov 4th was a busy day at BBC. Thirtyish folks came from Rutland, Bethel, Woodstock, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Brandon, White River, Randolph, etc to help BBC get ready for winter. A big thanks to all you from Calvary Bible Church who came and joined the fun!
Volunteers brought different skills. All brought smiles. Volunteers were different ages with different familiarity with BBC. Some were at BBC for the first time. Others were campers who were attending their first work day. And still others have been coming to BBC in some capacity for the last 50 years! Over the course of 6 hours the group raked ALL the leaves, cleared the garden, built a number of pallets and fell trees to clear space for pallet storage and pond beach expansion.
Each October I try to focus on the beauty of the changing leaves but always find myself distracted by the knowledge that all the leaves will drop. And then need to be cleared. And how exactly will that get done? Along with all the other pre winter work 100 acres of forrest requires?
And each fall a group of people show up to help. This year was no different. This year people joined in the leaf raking, pallet building and falling trees. God continues to bring people to do the work of God and I am grateful to be part of that.
Summer is under way and we are excited! Summer 2017 is shaping up to be Bethany Birches’ most attended summer in our 53 year history. You can see the current capacity of camp that remains open and which sessions are full on the 427 page. If you see a session you’d like to attend and see that it’s full, it may be worthwhile putting your child on the waitlist (as cancellations do happen). To do that, just sign up like you normally would.
To those of you who helped spread the word about Bethany Birches Camp and our rustic, relationship and skills developing, faith-building camp program, thank you! Please continue to share with your friends all that Bethany Birches has to offer: from unique and awesome summer and winter camp programs to weddings and other facility rentals. It takes a village to raise a child and we need all of you to help in that work. If you’re reading this and don’t have children camp age and don’t have use for the facility, consider sponsoring a camper this summer. Give to the Kids to Camp fund or join us at the annual benefit auction to make it happen.
Pray with me that this summer will be like all the others before it – that God’s presence will be experienced and that each person will be filled with God’s love, mercy, hope and joy. Come see for yourself as a volunteer.
It is challenging to gauge success when trying to accomplish a mission like Bethany Birches’. We do some surveys after summer and winter seasons to see how we did in a couple different areas. I just LOVE what came from the surveys this past summer.
33% of survey respondents (parents) rated their child’s experience a 10 or “the best time imaginable.”33% more rated their child’s experience as a 9. And 24% an 8. Half of all survey respondents said their children “seem more loving or kind” after their week at camp. As I read through survey’s from camper parents post summer I saw this report from a mother about her two campers:
“They both came home singing great pre-dinner songs like, “thank you God, for giving us food!!!!” We loved learning these songs and still sing them before meals! They also learned about how to be a good friend, and how to work well with others. They learned how to do their own dishes which made me very happy!”
I think that part of the reason most campers loved it here last summer (ratings of 8, 9, 10) is because they felt loved, accepted and cared for (fun, great people and great activities didn’t hurt either!). “Proof” that we are creating the type of atmosphere required to accomplish our mission. I also take great encouragement knowing that half of the parents surveyed said their children “seem more loving or kind.” This reminds me of Jesus’ teaching to love God and to love people. We must become a person filled with God’s love and love for those around us to accomplish this. If parents are noticing their children becoming “more loving or kind” I bet it’s because what happens at camp is helping people live out this teaching of Jesus and develop a relationship with God.