That’s right. It’s safer, faster and you’ll get trips back up more often. Many campers choose tubing as their favorite activity at winter camp. Why shouldn’t they? 1/4 mile long, speed, 3 turns, a ride back to the top. It’s great fun! We upgraded the famous tube run in three ways this year. Safety, speed and the ride to the top. Safety and speed were addressed through some excavation of the second turn. That turn was always problematic. On the slow days it was fine and on the fast days it was not fine! By adjusting the shape of the turn and adding earth a few places we think we have made it both safer and faster. Parents and campers rejoice! The ride to the top: with the addition of the Birchmobile for hauling campers back up (rather than the tractor) the ride up will be faster. That means more runs in a weekend!
Winter camp is around the corner. During February we’ll host elementary and middle school age campers for weekends and long weekends. Winter camp at Bethany Birches is something to behold. Super great food (afforded by volunteer cooks), 160” annual average snowfall, a large indoor space for getting out of the cold, a backcountry ski program and a quarter mile tube run. I wanted to take a minute to update you on the tube run.
Many of you have been asking about Summer 2017 dates. We worked hard to put our schedule in order so we could get them to you. Put these on your calendar and plan now for summer camp!
The schedule is very similar to last year. Throughout the summer we will have three different weeks of “Core” for 9-13 year-olds. These weeks are the heart of Bethany Birches where we do classic and traditional BBC activities like Messy Monday, Wet and Wild Wednesday, Mud Pit, Plenty of Pond Time, and more! Campers are welcome to come to one, two, or all three of these weeks. And yes, we did adjust the aging of Core A to allow 9 year-olds to come to our Core program!
Summit weeks are for older campers who enjoy BBC but desire more free time, cooler games, and unique activities like Night Group Games! Summit High has trips and activities totally unique to that week, so stay tuned for more information on that!
If you’re a teen camper and you love camp why not consider the leadership development programs? They are the perfect way to get the inside track to being a counselor or staff member.
Summer ends with a week for the youngest campers. Launch is a great opportunity for your 6-10 year-olds to experience some classic BBC events and activities that have been specifically geared for their age. Is your child uncomfortable going overnight? Launch Day Camp! Perhaps they want to try overnight but for a short bit. Launch Half! The launch programs are a great introduction to any young camper.
We’ve also updated our website with these new dates. This is a great way to share about the upcoming summer with your friends!
Online Registration for Summer Camp will open Nov 11. In the meantime, check out information on Winter Camps coming up this February! Registration for winter is open right now!
It’s that time of year again! In just two short months we will be ice skating on the basketball court and drying our boots by the fire after flying down the tubing run! Full speed ahead. Its Winter Camp season!
During Winter Camp we pack a full week of Bethany Birches into just one weekend. Campers will get to reconnect with their friends from the summer, hang out with some returning counselors, and sleep in the heated Staff Cabin! Campers also participate in a variety of Snow Camp specific events, including: Tubing, Sledding, Broomball, Snow Painting, Cardboard Sled Races, Firesides, Night Tubing, and the New Pavilion!
Winter Camp Weekends are: Lynx: February 13-16 (Grades 4-7) Polar Bear: Feb 19-21 (Grades 7-9) Bobcat: Feb 26-28 (Grades 3-6) Connect: Mar 25-27 (Grades 8-11)
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.
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/
A lot of snow + campers + BBC= SNOW CAMP!! Undoubtedly campers love going to camp: to see friends, to see the staff, and at BBC- to learn more about God. We (a group of volunteers) had a great time with the campers in a non-stop action packed weekend, but the focus wasn’t necessarily on snow – It was on God.
Something that stands out in my mind from the weekend was a conversation that a couple of us (volunteers and campers) were having. I remembered one of the campers – he has a brilliant mind but had a hard time processing the existence of one almighty God. He and his family tended to be polytheistic and as we talked about the story of Elijah found in 1 Kings in the Bible, he asked some really good questions – like, “Why did Elijah call upon Baal to bring fire down when that wasn’t Baals ‘gift’ or ‘power’? He wasn’t the god of fire so of course he won’t be able to send fire down on the altar.” Hmm, good point. We continued to go deeper, yet at some point he seemed to reach an impasse, to which he said, “I’m a skeptic…” as if he thought that by saying that I would stop asking questions. We pressed on. He said that it would take a REALLY BIG miracle to prove to him that the God of Abraham is real.
It was a blessing to be a part of that discussion. He was processing the Christian story. He was asking good questions. He has a deeper knowledge now than he had before – whether that translates into a trust in Jesus and eventual service of God’s Kingdom is yet to be seen. At least a weekend at camp filled his heart and mind with knowledge of the truth. Sometimes these conversations can be a challenge, but they’re the ones that can also bring about the most change and can give us the most encouragement to keep going, to keep proclaiming the message of the gospel to a world that so desperately needs to hear it, see it, feel it, experience it – and Bethany Birches IS all of those things to EVERY camper!
I understand Kumbaya means come by here. Directing this at Jesus, we ask the Lord to come by here, where we are… to show up in our midst. We sang this at Polar Bear Snow Camp with the help of Scott Kratz. Here’s a recording from my phone:
Last weekend the cabin was bustling with Bobcat Campers. This weekend the cabin will be bustling with Polar Bear Campers. And next weekend the cabin will be bustling with Lynx Campers! Each weekend includes a great line up of snowy adventures on the tubing run and ice rink, unique BBC all camp winter activities, stellar staff and a theme to help us each understand how much God loves us. We asked a few Bobcat Campers what they liked most about snow camp and compiled their response into:
TOP 5 REASONS to come to SNOW CAMP (from a camper’s perspective):
1. The Tubing Run is AWESOME
2. Broomball Tournaments are fun!
3. Lots of Laughter
4. The Indoor Game Room (Air hockey, foosball, ping pong, etc)
5. Making Creations
There are many other reasons to come but you should join us on the hill to find out why! Lynx camp still has openings for any 4th – 8th grader. Register online here or email the camp office with questions: email@example.com
I (Cheeks) took a few minutes to reflect on the past year. 2012 was another year full of learning and challenge. The various challenges and uncertainty left a lot of room for God to work. As God moved and worked here on the hill I learned a lot about prayer. All summer long we tell campers to pray when they are in trouble, when they are thankful, before meals and any time they want to connect with their Creator. We teach them a variety of ways to pray. We encourage them to pray for each other. Staff pray for campers all throughout the year. And yet this topic has alluded me of late. But as I reflected on 2012 the resounding theme was ANSWERED PRAYER. I was so aware of God answering prayers consistently throughout the year. Read on for my recollection of the top 5 answered prayers of 2012:
Bobcat Campers enjoying the snow
1. SNOW for SNOW CAMP: The week before Bobcat snow camp there was a vital ingredient missing: SNOW! I called my mom and told her we had no snow on the ground for snow camp and asked her to please pray for SNOW. I started planning for a snowless snow camp while praying snow would come. We could see grass on Thursday afternoon, but by Friday afternoon the hill was covered and night time sledding was a blast! I don’t know if God changed the weather pattern specifically for a BBC Snow Camp, but I learned to trust more in God as the snow covered the ground.
Lynx snow-campers with Marlin and Guppy in the middle. (This was just before we got the bad news from the fire marshal.)
2. SHEPHERD for SNOW CAMP: Two weeks before the 2012 Lynx Snow Camp camp was shepherdless. Person after person turned down the offer to come teach Jr High campers about Jesus. One night after exhausting the last person I knew to call I prayed – “God who will shepherd these campers?” The next day Marlin and Guppy called up saying they wanted to make room in their life to drive 12 hours both ways from VA – VT to help at a snow camp – did I still have any needs? YES! Marlin and Guppy shepherded for Lynx Camp and a good time was had by all. I continue to learn that God will bring people to do God’s work.
3. FIRE MARSHAL RALLY: You may have heard the story of the cabin upgrades required by the fire marshal in March (If not, scroll back to earlier blog posts). The whole fiasco was so discouraging at times. And yet, in each discouraging scenario we prayed. Prayed for God to bring funds. Prayed for God to bring volunteers. Prayed for God to bring materials. And each time God answered. One time God answered with a generous donation from the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. Another time God answered with 2 of Tuna’s Aunt and Uncles coming for a week to do all the electrical work. Another time God answered with camper parents who were willing to volunteer their carpentry skills. Another time God answered prayer with a 10K check from an individual supporter. God answered each prayer and I learned to trust him for all my needs.
Summer 2012 Staff
4. STAFF SHORTAGE: Going into March there were only a few applicants to counsel for summer 2012! We had recruited at colleges. We invited past staff to return. I had sent out emails. And still, the applications did NOT come. Finally, I committed staffing to prayer. Every day I diligently prayed for young adults to be drawn to BBC. By the end of March we had an excess of male and female counseling applicants. God does not always answer prayer on a timeline that I’m comfortable with but I’m learning timelines are overrated!
– MORE CAMPERS: We can only have camp if campers come. When it comes to camper attendance, “the more the merrier!” is always true. Since the end of Summer 2011 I had been feeling like camp should have more campers. At the beginning of 2012 I started praying for more campers. God, bring more campers to camp! And God did. One week God answered by having one camper family invite their entire basketball team. A worker at a social services agency used to attend BBC as a kid so she sent every camper she could. Word got out. BBC was the place to be this summer. Camp saw over a 12% increase in camper attendance during the summer of 2012. God brought more campers and through each one, more of himself.
Join me in praying for BBC in 2013. Don’t be surprised when God answers.