Posts Tagged ‘For Parents’

(Mennonite) Disaster (Service) at BBC

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

The MDS Van

Salford MDS Crew

Salford MDS Crew

Larry Derstine adds shingles

Larry Derstine adds shingles

Marlin and Neil of Bergey's Electric Volunteer to do the high ceiling work.

Marlin and Neil of Bergey’s Electric Volunteer to do the high ceiling work.

Nancy (OSO) and Russell (OWO) volunteer to stain.

Nancy (OSO) and Russell (OWO) volunteer to stain.

 

“See” Winter at BBC

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!

Bobcat Snow Camp: Pics of Bobcat  and a video with the new BBC Quadcopter!

Polar Bear Snow Camp: Pics of Polar Bear

Lynx Snow Camp: Pics of Lynx

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/

Summer Staff Preview: Nye is Hired!

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!

~Nye

Nye's Commits to BBC for Summer 2015

Nye Commits to BBC for Summer 2015

Nye with Bobcat Campers '14

Nye with Bobcat Campers ’14

Nye At Snow Camp

Nye At Snow Camp

Nye Volunteers at Mission Possible Week '13

Nye Volunteers at Mission Possible Week ’13

Let your teen (17 year old) do whatever they want

In his blog post, Jonathan McKee explains an experiment he and his wife performed on their teenager.  He writes:

Our theory was basically this:  Start strict, and loosen up as our kids get older, eventually freeing them from all boundaries by age 17½.

Guess how it went… not bad!  In fact, it allowed their daughter to begin a deeper relationship with them.  Their idea was that at age 18 she can do whatever she wants. The figured they may as well let her start doing that at 17½ so that  they would still have some influence before she left the house.

Jonathan writes:

Discussions with us were no longer about trying to convince us to give her permission—she already had that. Now conversations were about what she was learning from her decisions, good and bad.

She began talking with us about decisions even more. When she wanted to drive over 2 hours to San Francisco with her friends (the furthest she had ever driven), she wanted to know all about traffic, directions and safety. Not because we made her, but because we were “safe” to talk with.

Genius parenting!  Now when she leaves for college, she may stay in touch.  I’d encourage you to read the whole article.

What do you think?  Want to try this out when your son or daughter hits 17½?

Tuna

Newsletter 2013: Summer Programs & Events

Event   Age   Date
Staff Orientation17+Jun 15-22
Pilgrim9-11Jun 23-28
Voyager10-12Jun 30-Jul 5
Voyager Extended10-11Jun 23-Jul 5
Church at Camp and Chicken BBQ(Camp staff lead in worship and sharing)AllJul 7 10 am
BBQ following Service
Friendship/ Pioneer 6-9Jul 7-9/7-11
Discoverer 11-13Jul 14-19
Internship15-17Jul 14-26
Explorer 12-14Jul 21-26
Discoverer Extended12-13Jul 14-26
Sojourner 14-18Jul 28-Aug 2
Mission Possible/Crew 11-14/15-18Aug 4-8
Staff De-Orientation17+Aug 9-11
Facility Available for Rent & EventsAug 12-Oct
BBC Annual Benefit AuctionSept 28 10am
Fall Work DayOct 26 9am

Newsletter 2013: 5 Reasons to Attend the Annual Benefit Auction

Many people have been to the annual benefit auction here at Bethany Birches.  If you aren’t one of those persons, I wanted to give you 5 good reasons why you might enjoy the auction:

  1. A Mercedes Benz will be auctioned with NO reserve price, courtesy of Signal Aviation
  2. There will be free doughnuts and coffee during the preview (9 – 10 am)
  3. A snowmobile will be raffled from June 23-September 28 and the winner drawn that morning
  4. Be AT camp. From the view to the campers to a tasty, no-charge lunch, the auction is a good taste of classic BBC
  5. And of course, Sandy Alderfer (auctioneer) will entertain you with his wit and wisdom

For more information, visit the benefit auction page.

Tuna

PS – we’re looking for auction donations!

At Home in the World: Spiritual Saturday

Among the blogs I read is Generous Matters. It’s largely about generosity, giving and making ourselves rich toward God (rather than just plain old rich). This past Friday, the author of the blog included an excerpt from CS Lewis… I love CS Lewis! Here’s what he wrote in one of his books:

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home on Earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.”

Having read Screwtape Letters, I know that Lewis does not consider it a good thing when we feel “at home on Earth.”  Being at home on Earth makes it hard to be at home in God’s Kingdom.

This summer, we hope to have a ton of fun while discovering together this special place some Christians call God’s Kingdom.  If we trust Jesus’ words, we know that in that place is where we receive “life to the full.”

Tuna

Safety and Care at Camp: Tuna Tuesday

This Tuesday, I decided to write about safety at camp.  Why?  I believe many parents are on some level concerned about some aspect of camp.

For some, it’s the thought of their child being bullied or even worse, abused by an adult.  We could classify these concerns as violence.

For others, it’s less threatening and about every day challenges. Some of the questions may be: will my child have fun?  Will they stay warm?  Will they want to come home?  Will they make any friends?  We might call these sorts of concerns comfort related.

For other parents, it’s about physical harm not caused by a person but by the environment and setting.  Will my child break their leg at group games or while hiking?  Will they get stung by a bee?  I might label these concerns as environmental safety.

So what does Bethany Birches do to address these three categories of safety (don’t get me wrong, there are other areas of safety that we monitor!  But for the sake of a reasonable length blog post, I’ll have to include those in a future post)?

Violence: we work very hard when hiring staff.  We do multiple reference checks, a criminal background check including sex offender registries.  We have a detailed interview.  We ask lots of questions about faith, religion and world view.  Finally, if we notice any behavior from a staff person that is concerning on this front, we let them go.  As for bullying, we guard against this as best we can through maintaining adult supervision at nearly all times, requiring campers to travel around camp with a trusted buddy (like when going to the bathroom) and by disciplining those exhibiting bullying behavior and working closely with them to change their patterns of relating to others.

Comfort: this is a tough one!  Some campers don’t want to admit their cold in front of their friends. Others don’t tell their counselor they wet their bed.  And some times, campers just don’t know they’re uncomfortable!  As a parent, you know that you often have to think for your child in ways they cannot yet think for themselves.  This is what we teach our staff to do.  We teach them to notice how their campers are feeling.  Are they happy or sad?  Are their shoes wet or dry?  Do they have extra clothes to change into?  Does their sleeping bag smell weird?  One of our primary goals for counselors and all staff members is that they would be an excellent guide for each camper.  By guide I simply mean that they would provide a meaningful experience, initiate fun and conversation, and take really good care of each child, including washing their sleeping bag after peed in without anyone noticing!

While life and the outdoors throw all sorts of curve balls like a mean spirited attack from another to a cold rainy day, we desire to always care deeply for each person entrusted to us.  We take seriously complaints from parents and do our very best to get better at keeping kids safe, comfortable and happy so their mind, body and soul can grow while at camp.

Here’s to another exciting, meaningful safe season of summer camp at Bethany Birches!

Tuna

 

 

 

Les Miserables & Camp: Tuna Tuesday

So Cheeks and I watched Les Miserables on video the other night.  It’s a classic story and the most recent version done on video is very good.  As I was watching the scene when Javert decides to drown himself, I realized one of many reasons to learn to love our enemies – so we don’t drown ourselves!

Here’s what he says in the song that made me think of this:

Da.ned if I’ll live in the debt of thief
Da.ned if I’ll yield at the end of the chase
I am the law and the law is not mocked
I’ll spit his pity right back in his face
There is nothing on Earth that we share
It is either Valjean or Javert!

Full Lyrics


In short, he can’t handle the fact that his enemy, Jean Valjean, loved him enough to help him in his time of need (Valjean gains permission to release him from behind enemy lines – he would have been most likely killed had Valjean not done this).  He can’t stand this kindness so much that he decides to drown himself.

An article from Wikipedia explains the narrative this way:

“Javert wanders the streets in emotional turmoil: his mind simply cannot reconcile the image he had carried through the years of Valjean as a brutal ex-convict with his acts of kindness on the barricades. Now, Javert can be justified neither in letting Valjean go nor in arresting him. For the first time in his life, Javert is faced with the situation where he cannot act lawfully without acting immorally, and vice versa. Unable to find a solution to this dilemma, and horrified at the sudden realization that Valjean was simultaneously a criminal and a good person—a conundrum which made mockery of Javert’s entire system of moral values—Javert decides to resolve the dissonance by drowning in the river Seine; his body is later found.”

Here’s my point – Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies is for our own good.  Whether we drown ourselves in an actual river or a metaphorical river, hate causes deep inner turmoil.

One of our goals at camp is to build a community of love each week, each summer and over the lifetime of the camp, with all who participate.  This helps each of us learn to love those we otherwise might not get along with.  In learning to love those hard to love, we become free from hate.  Just one of the many things Jesus saves us from.

Tuna