Posts Tagged ‘Newsletter’

Cabin Update

“Hi, could I talk with the owner?”  It’s early on a Tuesday morning in March.  I respond, “Uhh, our ownership is comprised of about 60 households… I’m not sure how you could easily reach them all.”  So the voice on the other line responds: “Well, this is Jay with the state department of public safety – I’m a fire marshal.  I found your building online and would like to come take a look at it.  You rent it out to guests, right?”  Me: “Yes, we do.  Sure, I guess you can come look at it.”  Him: “OK, how about Monday morning next week.  9:30 OK?”  Me, looking at my calendar, noticing I’m in the office Monday morning, but not sure I should say yes… thinking that maybe I should just hang up the phone for fear of what would happen Monday morning when Jay comes to visit: “Uhh, sure.  Yea, 9:30 on Monday is fine.”  Him: “OK, thanks.  See you then.”  Click goes the phone.  Gulp goes me.  I think, is this OK?  What’s going to happen?

Next week comes.  The fire marshal comes to do an inspection on the BBC Cabin (Bruce and Jay).  We talk for about a half hour about the various fire hazards in the building.  They leave with concern about the safety of the building.  I leave with a report showing 8 violations of the life safety code and a temporary occupancy permit.  Gulp!

I first get frustrated. Then scared; nervous; concerned. After a little reflection, I feel calm. I begin to sense God’s spirit near. I remember what good has come in my life during times of challenge, struggle, correction, outside direction.  I wrote a note on the camp’s Facebook page.  I wrote a blog post.  I wrote an email.  Within two days, people were asking about the situation, offering help and supplies and all sorts of things.  I was surprised and amazed at the immediacy and generosity!  And it continues – AM Goshow and Son have donated windows.  Goodro Lumber is offering discounted materials.  Robert Buchan (Architect) and Paul Derksen (Turning Leaf Housewrights) are doing lots of work on the project for deeply discounted rates.  A camper gave $10.  First Congregational Church of Woodstock gave $23,500.  Dave Beidler, Andrew Moyer, Matt Harootunian, Mike Horst and others are giving generously of their time.  Bergey’s Electric is coming to install the smoke detection system (free of charge) under the supervision of Mike Bryan (electrician).  It’s like the early church in Acts… so that no part of camp had need (Acts 4:32-37).

If you’d like to help, there are various ways to do so – we still have the second phase of this work to pay for.  If you’re a carpenter or have experience with building trades, come work!  We’re working the last two weeks of May (21 – June 1), each day.  We need 2-4 people each of those days.  We expect to begin work on an addition in August that will gain us permanent occupancy (you could call or email for specific dates in June or July).  The fire marshal is working with us and has set limits we must meet before we are able to use the building for summer program and then some additional things we need to do to make it even safer.  We’re so thankful for the understanding and kindness Bruce and Jay and their office have shown us and their understanding of both our need to make the building safer as well as our need to do it in a manner that saves money by including volunteers.

Dave Beidler upgrades stairwell side 1

If you’d like to read more about the ongoing work and issues, click here for the relevant posts.

Board Report: Naomi Mast Moyer

Above: Winter Family Fun Day was great, well.. FUN!

My vision for BBC includes this sacred space being a place for all children to become their potential through building healthy relationships with other children that are culturally different from themselves, developing a deeper relationship with their Creator, and recognizing possibilities in themselves that remain untapped.  Bethany Birches Camp has been a place where children are safe to observe and explore nature, develop their spirituality, and become their potential.  It has also been a place for young adults to develop their leadership skills, healthy relationship with others, and deepen their relationship with God.  These are principals that I hope we will continue to uphold going forward.

As a board we recognize that the facility needs to provide space for this to occur.  We want camp to be a place for children to relate to nature and develop healthy relationships with others and their Divine Creator.  The last several years the board has been looking at what a reasonable amount of dry space is for indoor activities in the summer and winter. We are grappling with how to insure children spend as much time outdoors as possible while recognizing the need for larger group space in inclement weather. We continue to use Robert Buchan’s architectural expertise to assist us in the practical aspects of these ideas.  As a board we continue to ask what impact will changing facility have on the financial future of the camp?  Historically, as an organization, we remained solvent by having minimal overhead.  We continue to look at facility and the direction of the camp in regard to financial sustainability with continued focus on children growing toward wholeness.

Lynx snow-campers displaying one of their tracks - part of an excercise in considering what or who we follow

We are also looking at policies that will drive how program and camp should function now and in the future.  In the near future we will have access to cell service on “the hill”.  This will impact the ability of children to use technology and, how staff will monitor its use.  Like other institutions we need to remain thoughtful about the use of technology.

I continue to volunteer as a board member because of my strong belief that when children and youth are provided an environment that supports their potential they will develop into healthy adults.

Will You Help A Kid Get To Camp This Summer?

 If you make a gift of $400 a camper who literally could not come to camp through any other means will get to come.  Even if you can only give $10, give it! 40 people giving $10 each will send a camper.  You’ll receive a letter from a camper who got to come to camp as a result of you sharing your resources.
If you’d like to give on a monthly basis automatically, you can do that by logging into your donor account through our website. If you have given before but don’t know your login, simply fill out the form on the page to receive your login.


Exploring Jesus Through the Theme: Inside Out

The sky is the limit. The possibilities are endless. With 100 acres of wilderness and a week’s time the options for activities, discussion, events and experiences at camp are endless. The limitless options can sometimes make planning a summer camp program overwhelming! How does one choose what to do, what to talk about and what to focus on? Over the last 8 years our answer to this question has been THEMES!
Wet N Wild Wednesday; Messy Monday; Tidy UP Tuesday; Theater Thursday and Fun Filled, Fire Free, Favorites, Farewell Friday. Each day has a theme and this helps us stay focused in this ADHD day-in-age and gives campers something to look forward to.

Themes also help us in our mission to help young people develop their relationship with God. Each summer has an overarching theme that gives counselors and shepherds a platform for sharing about God’s love and the life of Jesus with campers. The hope is that campers will relate to and remember their experience with God more readily.

Inside Out is the theme for 2012. After using highly specific nature themes for the past few years (Out on  a Limb (Trees); Rock Solid (Rocks); Aglow (Fire); H2O (Water); etc) the theme Inside Out will focus on how God’s Kingdom AND the natural world around us often seem inside out from what might be expected. With the beatitudes as our guide (Matthew 5) campers will examine the life and teachings of Jesus.  How did Jesus live differently from the world around him? Why would people live differently than the status quo? How does a tall tree grow from a small seed? How can life come from death?  What does a life following Jesus look like? These are some of the questions campers and counselors will ask together this summer. Can’t wait!

Cheeks (Amber Bergey)

Special Invitation

Keep up more regularly with camp and also get discounts (rentals and program)! You can do it by reading our blog from time to time.  To make it easier for you, now you can get updates via email. Just click here to sign up.

To Each According To Their Need: Price Tiers

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, which has recently been made into a movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 presents ideas that are arguably opposed to the Kingdom of God. Any Rand’s philosophy on the matter of need suggests that people should get only what they earn, regardless of their needs. If you earn it, it’s yours. If you need it, well, you can’t have it until you earn it. She believed that this would create a society full of contributing individuals. Consider that.

Now, consider Acts 4:32-35 from The Message:

32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one— one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them. 34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them 5 was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

I realize that Ayn Rand may not have seriously considered the Reign of God as a legitimate economic model. That doesn’t mean Bethany Birches shouldn’t. Since the beginning of BBC in 1965 we have tried to offer a unique camping experience, creating a community of love with whomever joins and we’ve tried to do this at a low price. While a camping community is a different version of the church than what we see in Acts, there is much similarity.

Obviously, offering something to someone for less than what it cost to provide that something runs up a deficit somewhere. Let’s put this in the context of camp. If it costs us about $400/camper, and we charge $200, there is $200 of expense remaining. Who will pay the remaining $200? Enter: donors.

Bethany Birches was initiated with a donation of land. And since that very first day, our story has been one of people providing money, time and oth- er resources to make the camp pos- sible; an ongoing illustration of God’s provision for kids to have a special, faith-developing experience.

In a board meeting in 2010 we were discussing these issues around the topic of pricing. We talked about the fact that some of our camper families have much resource and some have very little. Enter: tiered pricing.

We are now well into the first summer season using a tiered pricing structure. The highest tier is about what we figure it costs to have a camper at camp (no profit built in). Both of the lower tiers are donor-subsidized rates. Could we consider this a Kingdom economic model? Or perhaps foolishness? Maybe it’s a system easily taken advantage of. Whatever you call it, we’re trusting that the Christ who inspired the craziness in the book of Acts will continue to inspire us and show us a way so that “not a person among them was needy.”


Update From The Board

The main work of the BBC Board of Directors continues to be the definition of the Master Plan and the impact developing program has on facility.

We have had a lot of super help from Robert Buchan. Robert is an AIA- and CSI-certified Architect who brings a great set of planning and design skills. Those skills have been invaluable in helping the board make good progress in understanding the requirements of the plan and facility as we move along. Robert’s close work with Brandon has been a key motivator of the process. We have been 7 looking at lists of space recommendations and sketches of how those might fit together. These combine with thoughtful work by Amber and Brandon on what the program staff needs to successfully serve our growing program in the coming decades. It’s really satisfying to begin to see how these could be a positive part of our growth.

The board has also begun to think about our policy coverage. While we’re against a huge boxful of unremembered and useless rules, we have realized that our coverage is a little thin in a few critical areas. A lot of these areas orbit around our interface to the evolving online world. As people are more “wired” into the culture all the time, we need to allow our staff to move freely and safely in both the physical and virtual domains, but also protect privacy and well-being of staff and campers alike. With the rise of social media as a force in marketing and the direction of campers’ lives, we strive to ensure the staff connects with campers and constituents in positive ways.

Finally, the board members are pleased and excited to look forward to the hard, satisfying, tiring, lovely, and excellent work the staff and many volunteers spend the Summer doing. We are so thankful for all the extraordinary people who give in so many ways to our mission: to help young people to develop their relationship with God by providing them with a Christ-centered camping experience in a natural and nurturing environment. Thank you for all you have done for BBC in the past and will do in the future!

Scott Hepler, BBC Board Member

BBC Calendar


  • June: Summer Camp! For brochure
  • July 10: Summer Camp! 10 Annual Sunday Worship – BBQ – Association Mtg.
  • August 8-31: Summer Camp!  Rent the camp grounds for inexpensive group conference/gathering
  • September 1-30: Rent the camp grounds or bring your family for fall foliage rentals
  • September 24: Annual Benefit Auction – 9am on
  • October 1-31: Rent the cabin for inexpensive small and large group gathering
  • October 29: Volunteer Workday
  • October 29-30: Connect: grades 9-12
  • December 1-31: Bring your youth/church/school/family group to ski!


  • January 7-8: Connect: grades
  • January 9-12 7: Family Fun Day – FREE: all ages
  • January 9-31: Bring your youth/church/school/family group to ski!
  • January 20-22: Bobcat Snow Camp: grades 3-6
  • February 1-29: Bring your youth/church/school/family group to ski!
  • February 24-26: Lynx Snow Camp: grades 5-8
  • March 31-1: Connect: grades 9-12


Social Media

You may have noticed the recent Bethany Birches blog or Facebook page. Maybe cruising around on Youtube you saw the BBC channel. Maybe you even noticed the BBC Twitter feed. Or, maybe you think all this social media stuff is a fad and you’re sad to see BBC getting “sucked in.” Whatever your opinions on the matter, this newsletter is being provided on our new blog. The benefit to reading it on the blog is that there is some media in addition to the text and a few other stories, including a conversation between Cheeks and Clack.

See newsletter


Success by Vision or Trial? Guidance by Serendipity or Divinity?

Prior to the winter of 2007, the mother of a teen camper asked if we could host a reunion of sorts during the winter for the teen campers. That year Polar Bear Snow Camp for 14-18 yr olds was replaced with a 24 hour teen reunion. It was a hit! Since then the teen reunion has evolved into three 24 hour gatherings for teens to come back, reconnect, relax at camp and discuss relevant life topics. We call these events Connect.

And even more recently, we started inviting/ asking/begging our teens to come join us for work days, the Annual Auction and anything else we can use their help with. Connects plus volunteerism plus the BBC Internship program in the summer has led to a handful of our recent teen campers joining the summer staff. Voila! We have stumbled into what we were hoping for: a way to connect on a deeper level with campers year-round. Was this mother’s request in 2007 serendipitous or guided? Yes. Was her desire and her child’s and ours God-given or simple luck? Yes. Is it more possible to carry out the Great Commission (one of our main goals at camp) through an intense experience or ongoing relationship? Yes.

And this ongoing interest in more camp throughout the year is one of several significant reasons it’s time to rebuild the pavilion.

Cheeks & Tuna