It’s true. BBC is 50 years old! The first summer of camping was 1965. Wasn’t long after that and winter camp was added to the mix. Then facility rentals for weddings and other program groups and activities. We haven’t looked back since. We’re celebrating and honoring the past on the weekend of September 25-27. The full schedule is here. Won’t you come and join the fun?
Speaking of fun, the big day is Saturday September 26. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast. The breakfast is for those staying on site. You can rent your camping shelter here. The shelter is $50 for the weekend and meals are covered on Saturday.
Yes, it’s true. Her due date is June 26. We’re posting here to make sure the whole Bethany Birches family knows this exciting news. This will be our (Tuna and Cheeks) first child. We were so busy with camp for many years that we didn’t consider children. One day, Cheeks turns to me (Tuna) and says by the time I’m 30, I want to know if we’re going to have children. I said OK. 30 came and went. So did 31. By the time we were 32 we were ready for a child. And in our 33rd year, we will have a baby, Lord willing. It’s amazing how God works in our hearts and adjusts our perspectives over time.
As you know, June, July and August are the three busiest months of the year here at camp. Probably not the ideal time to welcome a new person into the world. But, we are. And we are thankful for the opportunity to have a child. So the camp started looking for an interim program director since Amber will not be able to do her job this summer. We offered the position to Dan Laubach and he accepted.
The full story on staffing at camp, in case you’re wondering:
I (Tuna) will continue to be the Executive Director
Cheeks may or may not return to her post as Program Director (she is allowed a little more time to decide that)
Dan, the interim Program Director, is committed through October at least.
Many of the summer staff are returning from prior years.
If you’re at camp this summer, you will recognize many of us from past summers. And you might even see baby Tunacheeks!
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.
Where do we start? The fundraising of money has been taking a backseat to construction planning! Current cash and pledges toward the $1,800,000 fundraising goal is $1,375,460 (as of May 30, 2014)! And the fundraising through hands-on assistance is picking up (because we have needed to wait until the construction schedule is more clear). Since our last newsletter, the project has progressed from conceptual to practical. We now have a first set of what is called floor plans and elevations. This really allows us to get serious about budgeting, scheduling, and the long list of choices that are to be made.
This project has filled in any downtime that the staff has had at camp this spring. For me personally, it’s been especially challenging. It has also been invigorating for at least two reasons. One, the challenges have indeed encouraged my learning and honed my skills. Two, I have experienced graciousness, generosity and the miracle of people working together in spite of great odds against that union. For me, these are signs that God’s spirit is alive and present.
Because this project highlights our own inadequacies, yet it continues to move forward, we trust that God is within it and we can say that with God all things are possible.
This post is about money and time. These are two scarce resources. By the end of the post, I hope to have made a great case for why you might like to accept my invitation to come and give time to camp, or give money, or both. In the giving of these two scarce resources, you will be happier!
I stumbled upon two blog posts this past week, both dealing with the data that shows giving things away (especially money and time) make people happier.
One post was sent to me by my brother (thanks Bryce). It’s here. In it, author Arthur Brooks writes:
In 2003, while working on a book about charitable giving, I stumbled across a strange pattern in my data. Paradoxically, I was finding that donors ended up with more income after making their gifts. This was more than correlation; I found solid evidence that giving stimulated prosperity.
He’s not talking about tax loop holes… he’s talking about the way that giving stimulates us. He goes on to explain:
Psychologists, I learned, have long found that donating and volunteering bring a host of benefits to those who give. In one typical study, researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia confirmed that, in terms of quantifying “happiness,” spending money on oneself barely moves the needle, but spending on others causes a significant increase.
I have seen this over and over again. I’ve been working for Bethany Birches for 10 years now. One of my primary responsibilities is to reach out to supporters and would-be supporters and share the power of camp with them. It’s amazing. When people are here, at camp, they meet and impact young people. Often they catch a vision of a better world. They are inspired to adjust aspects of their own lives, encourage young people and give to the camp. It’s magical… or perhaps a better word is mystical. Mystical is a better word, I think, because it makes room for the possibility that in this process of relationships and service (giving of ourselves and our resources), God enters.
The second post is from a blog I subscribe to called Generous Matters. In her post, Rebekah Basinger references Brooks’ post and adds some of her own words.
Here’s the problem with all this. It sounds suspicious. Until you experience the joy that comes from giving your time and money away, especially to those who need it (like young people at camp), you can’t quite believe that it can provide meaning and happiness.
Fundraising is a funny thing. A need arises out of the blue or a vision is put into action, both of which require a capital investment. So where does this money come from? A single donor? A few select individuals? Or a village ready and willing to raise a barn? And why are some people intimidated by a call from someone asking for financial help? Do they think “someone else will cover the cost” or “my gifts are not significant enough to make a difference”?
I have a growing appreciation for people who do development work. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the other side of the phone making excuses why I cannot give to a certain project. Or maybe because each time I agree to help with fundraising, the job is just as difficult as I remembered it. Or because of influences that are out of my control can stifle the joy of people who have typically considered giving as an act of worship and an example of Jubilee. So why do I raise money for BBC?
I had my first taste of fundraising success a few years ago when I recognized the need for BBC to purchase some equipment so maintaining the camp property would be more efficient. A friend of mine, Herb Wenger, had shared a story of raising money to purchase a tractor for BBC years earlier. He was at breakfast with some friends and happened to mention the need for a tractor at BBC. One friend spoke up and said “raise the money Herb and we’ll all pitch in”. And so he did just that, and with the encouragement of some friends, he soon had the money to purchase the tractor.
I was encouraged when I found similar success to that of Herb. I was surprised to hear people say “thanks for asking me Chad” and “we’re happy to pitch in for this cause”. Soon enough I had the money needed to purchase most of the equipment on our wish list. What a wonderful feeling it is to raise money without feeling intrusive or burdensome.
So why does fundraising for BBC feel so different to me? PASSION! I can’t remember a time that I’ve been so excited about a project and I think that my passion makes all the difference. It get’s others excited for both BBC and for me. People want to help BBC build a new pavi, but they also want to support me in my efforts because they see how important this project is to me.
The fall of 2012 was the beginning of the Mission Possible campaign, the Pavi Project. An estimated building cost of $1,400,000 plus another $400,000 (includes three years of programming needs) makes the total amount needed for this project $1,800,000. For some organizations, this may not seem like a big deal, but for BBC it is a major financial mountain to climb. The passion of Brandon and Amber, the BBC board, the staff, campers, and the development resource committee could not be more evident. This is why we named our project “Mission Possible”, because with God, all things are possible.
I am pleased to announce that we have surpassed $1,200,000 in committed dollars to the campaign so far. This is only possible from a wide variety of gifts and we are thankful for gifts of all sizes. Like the gift from the Clemens Family Corporation (shown in the picture), the unique auction match from Glen and Diane Moyer, the many creative auction donors and generous bidders this year, and offering projects like that of the Blooming Glen Mennonite Youth Fellowship. It’s so cool to know that BBC has made an impact on all of those who choose to support the mission of the Camp. This empowers me to keep pressing forward with the Mission Possible campaign with energy and PASSION!