Matthew 25:34 reads: ‘When I was in prison you visited me, when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was stuck on Lynds Hill Road, you pulled me out…’
Actually that last phrase isn’t in the Bible. But the phrase does describe how the Bible came alive last week at Bethany Birches Camp.
I was getting ready to feed Susie when I heard a knock on the sliding door (a common mission impossible destination for many – knocks are not uncommon!). A man I did not know stood outside our door, looking cold and tired. I opened the door a crack.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“Uh, yea,” the man replied. “I’m from VTEL, I’m stuck down the road. Could I use your phone to call a tow truck?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, you may use the phone, come on in.”
“Do you have the number for a local towing company?” The stranger asks sheepishly.
“Uh, sir, you’re in Plymouth, VT. the middle of nowhere. Nothing is local… Let me call my husband at the camp up the road, he’ll know who to call.”
” Oh, just up the road, I can walk up there.”
And after a bit more conversation the cold, tired man trudges up the road towards camp.
About 15 min later, I see Chick on the tractor and Tuna and the stranger in our car driving down the road.
15 min later I see the tractor, the car and a mini van come up the road. The stranger gets out and gives Tuna a hug. The man gave Chick the certificate pictured here.
He wasn’t naked, hungry or in prison. He was stuck. And Chick and Tuna helped him get unstuck.
The words of Jesus continue to come alive at Bethany Birches Camp. Join us on the hill (work days, winter camp, summer camp, volunteering) to experience Jesus for yourself.
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.
For the first time in a decade someone other than Cheeks will hold the role of BBC Program Director. While Cheeks is learning how to take care of a newborn, Dan will be leading the BBC Summer Program. Both people are excited for the summer ahead of them. Read on to find out more about Dan and why he’s excited to be at BBC this summer:
“The Lord’s hand was clear in guiding me to this place. After spending months looking for jobs at a camp, the Lord brought me on a trip from Pennsylvania to Virginia where I heard about this job in Vermont. I’ve been on site for just a few days now and have already fallen in love with the camp; the rustic atmosphere, my loving and godly co-workers, and of course the gaga pit! I’ve already sat down with Cheeks and done some major planning for this summer, and let me say, it’s going to be AWESOME! I’m so excited to present some amazing new games and activities that I’ve learned at my other camps, while bringing back some classic BBC camp games!”
Dan has a host of experience in camping. He spent the last 6+ summers working at camps and he grew up at camp. He recently graduated from Cairn University with a double major in Bible and Music Education. He’s been at BBC since Wednesday and already he’s seen most of camp, eaten at Ramunto’s and played games with Nanuk. COME JOIN US on the hill this summer to meet him in person and find out his camp name!
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.
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
You should have received this brochure in your mailbox. There are 2 errors in it! If you match the dates in the brochure to the website (bethanybirches.org/summer-camps) you’ll find it. The website is correct! FIRST PERSONS TO EMAIL THE ERRORS to firstname.lastname@example.org receives 10% off camp registration! Don’t feel like digging through to find the answer? SHARE THIS Blog POST on FB and get 5% off camp registrations!
We’re thankful to Kellyn “Benji” Boyden for creating such a beautiful brochure. Next year we’ll proofread more carefully!
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.
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/