Archive for the ‘Donors’ Category

Staffing crises point to the Body of Christ

Greetings friends!  Been a while since you’ve heard from us via the blog.  That’s because in April, our Program Director, Courtney, fell ill and could not continue her duties!  Please pray for her health and healing.  Where did that leave us at camp?  Restructuring!  In terms of the summer camp leadership team, the restructuring seems to have worked.  We were able to shift leaders around and call Amber “Cheeks” Bergey back into service as Camp Director.  She is mentoring some newer leaders including the Day Camp Director and Resident Camp Director.  All are learning and growing and doing good work.

Come June, it started to feel like we were going to make it through the summer excelling and hosting the many campers as good as always.  As that feeling set in, a second crisis struck in the male counseling team.  We lost an assistant to a broken leg, another to a change in heart.  We lost a male counselor to anxiety and another to a concussion.  We are still down all four of those guys.  How could we go on?!

Many summer staffers talked with friends and one of those friends came to BBC for the first time and did a great job the first week of camp (and will be back twice this summer).  We reached out to other Mennonite Camps and uncovered two brothers who were trusted counselors and could give us a few weeks.  A long time counselor said he could return for a week or two.  Our facilities manager who used to counsel, said he could counsel as needed.  Things are starting to look up!  I was reminded of the “Body of Christ” and how together we can function as a cohesive community and in so doing Jesus would meet us and help meet our need for “daily bread” (in this case, having qualified counseling staff for each camper).  Keep an eye on our youtube channel this weekend for how we made the picture of a body at the top of this post.

Personally, this pair of crises stretched me and my family quite a bit.  I found early morning wake ups common, some tears in talking with God, and challenges at home as the kids got used to their nanny (so thankful for her and my strong wife, Cheeks, who is leading the program team in her third pregnancy!).

I find myself stretched, challenged, thankful and looking forward to uncovering who the next camp director will be.  If you know someone who would be a good fit, tell them of the opportunity to live and serve in the Green Mountains!

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

16th Annual Benefit Auction

The 16th Annual Benefit Auction was great fun and raised over $51,000 for the work of Bethany Birches.  Specifically, that means that many campers who could not afford camp could still come and have a powerful summer and winter camp experience. I am so thankful for all of you generous and gracious people who make camp possible.  Thanks to everyone who donated items, who came out to the event,  who bid on-line, who made food, and who volunteered in numerous ways. We couldn’t do it without you!

On Saturday, we were blessed to enjoy beautiful fall weather for auction day.  The sun was out and the leaves were starting to display their autumn glory.  The morning began with a delicious breakfast of Phil Lapp’s famous donuts (bet you didn’t eat just one), an amazing selection of quiches, fresh fruit,  funny cake, shoe-fly pie (pies courtesy of Landis Supermarket), and lots of coffee and apple cider (thanks for the apples Jeff/Jane and for pressing Mike!).  It was just the thing to fuel everyone up for the active bidding that was to come.

We unveiled this year’s mug design as well as the new auction logo – and both were received with enthusiasm.  Plus – all those who joined the “mug club” got to enjoy endless beverage refills throughout the day. What a deal! 

The preview hour was a great opportunity to check out the silent auction tent, as well as to start strategizing which items to bid on in the live auction.  Once Sandy (of Sanford Alderfer Real Estate), the auctioneer, took the microphone we were were off and running.  He has such a great energy and he keeps the bidder numbers popping up all over the room.  There were certainly some items for which the bidding was quite competitive, and that was really fun to watch (I, Wonder Woman was very excited to win one of the Penn View Farm Chocolate Milks that I had my eye on!).  Here’s a list of all the items in the live auction and their selling prices.

The event wrapped up with a fantastic lunch spread, and time to savor good food and conversation around the picnic tables.  The kids enjoyed running around at the playground as well.  We all had full stomachs, and even fuller hearts.

There were many special moments last Saturday.   Two of my favorite moments were listening to a supporter who talked about reconnecting with childhood friends at the auction and watching two current campers attempt auctioning for themselves!  In fact, here they are:

Posted by Bethany Birches Camp on Saturday, September 29, 2018

Here’s another take from the budding auctioneers:

Posted by Bethany Birches Camp on Saturday, September 29, 2018

So go ahead and mark your calendars for next year, September 28, 2019.  See you there!

On behalf of the auction committee,

Tuna and Wonder Woman

(Brandon Bergey, Courtney Hollingsworth)

Auction Spotlight: Have trails built for you, or your driveway fixed, or your field reclaimed by Forest Savers!

Greetings Friends:

This is the last auction items spotlight, as we will close the online bidding form tomorrow (Sept 28) at 9am and start putting full attention on final setup and details.  So get your bids in tonight and first thing tomorrow morning if you’re not joining us on Saturday!

One item that is not to be missed is Win One Day of Service by Forest Savers. (Code: FORSAV) Gerry Hawkes, owner/operator of Forest Savers, has been a long-time supporter of Bethany Birches Camp.  He headed up the consulting and construction for the camp pond in the 80’s and this spring cut 300 dead trees down in 1 day.  This dude has tools and tons of experience.  He can make your land project happen!  You wanna cut trails through your wood lot, no problem (he’ll even design them).  Maybe you want to reclaim a field that’s overgrown.  He’ll do it in less than a day.  Your driveway is a mess from years of rain and plowing… he can get it looking brand new.  He offers many services.  Visit his website to see them all and to watch videos of him in action. In fact, here’s Gerry pulling spruce poles out of the camp woods for the pavilion porches back in 2015.

I hope to see you on Saturday!  If you can’t make it, stop by anytime.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Auction Spotlight: Delicious Eats!

Hi BBC Family!
I am personally not what you would call a “good cook.”  I have joked with friends that the smoke detector and the oven timer are basically the same thing.  Yes, I have burned broccoli while attempting to steam it, and I have practically dehydrated asparagus while trying to roast it.  The only real “specialty” that I make is Rice Krispie Treats – and that is simply because I add EXTRA marshmallows to the recipe on the box.  (But they are so good!)
Needless to say, I really appreciate those who have skills in the kitchen and are willing to share them.
We are so excited to be featuring some friends of camp, who are also very talented home chefs, and are offering up what they do best!  At the BBC Annual Benefit Auction you could win yourself an amazing culinary delight.  We are talking drool worthy!
For the CHOCOHOLICS out there, like myself, I would strongly suggest  bidding on Gwen Groff’s Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis.  I think the name says it all – but it is simply a decadent treat not to be missed.  Charles Shultz said: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  How true!
For the SEAFOOD LOVERS, there are two great options to consider.  First – you could treat yourself to a batch of Phil Wilkerson’s famous Maryland Fresh Blue Crab Cakes!  He will make them to order with a week’s notice, and you can pick them up in Bridgewater.  That sounds like a perfectly delicious dinner – and no dishes!  Amazing!
Secondly – you could enjoy a full 4-Course Seafood Dinner Extravaganza, cooked for you by, and hosted in the home of, Abner and Virginia Schlabach.  Everything they make is wonderful and their hospitality is second to none.  This would be such a great evening – don’t miss out!  The menu includes things like cream of crab soup, salad with scallops, and grilled catch of the day with mango salsa. Yum!
Finally – You can also win a full Dinner for Eight People – cooked and delivered to you by Donna Miles.  She will design a menu style to your choice, deliver it do your house, and dessert is included.  This sounds like a great way to have friends and family over for a fun evening – and not have to worry about cooking.  And it is guaranteed to be delicious.
Virginia Woolf said that “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
To that I say: Let the bidding begin!
Love,
Courtney “Wonder Woman” Hollingsworth

Auction Spotlight: snuggly socks (you could wear to the mountain)

Hello!

The BBC Annual Benefit Auction is only 3 sleeps away. Yay- I can’t wait!

Not only is this a great way to score some amazing items, but you get to help send kids to camp in the process. That is what I call a WIN-WIN!

Have you checked out our website yet to start your ‘WISH LIST’ of things you want to bid on? I have, and so I thought I would share are a couple of the items that I am very excited about.  

I don’t know about you, but there is something wonderful about wearing a brand new pair of socks. That feeling is just so cozy and perfect, and totally makes an average day into something special. And if they are a FUN pair of socks, that is even better. So – I totally have my eye on all the amazing Solmate Socks we have to choose from on the auction list. The snuggle is real! Which design will be your favorite? Or maybe you will find the perfect pair for a friend! (Plus – this is a great item to use as a stocking stuffer for those of you early birds who are already in Christmas shopping mode)

And where better to wear those awesome socks – than to the MOUNTAIN! I am a snowboarder, and I look forward to carving up some winter fun. How awesome that we have donated tickets to Killington, Okemo, and Suicide Six. Now, I just need to decide which one to bid on! I guess having too many great options is not a bad problem to have.

I recommend you check out the website and start making your own Wish List. We hope to see you on Saturday, from 9am-Noon, at the Auction.

Love,

Courtney “Wonder Woman” Hollingsworth

New Program Director Hired!

Greetings Friends, a little while back I announced that Dan “Chick” Laubach was moving on from Bethany Birches at the end of August.

We launched a search in March and received 27 applications by the time we closed the application period this summer.  After extending an offer to an applicant and receiving a “no” from him, I opened a discussion with a friend familiar to Bethany Birches.  We call her Wonder Woman.  Outside of camp she is known as Courtney Hollingsworth.  She has volunteered as Camp Shepherd, Day Camp Manager, and Kitchen Aid, among other things.  She’s filled with energy and love and was looking to get back into ministry of some kind after supervising the front office at the Woodstock Inn.  Prior to that she was in seminary and before that she was a director of high school youth ministry at her home church in CA.

The only agreement we have come to at this time is that she will be full time through next summer.  Her and I will consider her fit after she’s been here a few months and see if we would like to arrange a longer tenure or not.

She has already begun!  She has an email address (courtney@bethanybirches.org). Feel free to reach out to her and introduce yourself.  She is currently working from a distance lightly and will start here at camp on the 27th of Aug and overlap with Chick for a week and then take the reigns.

Courtney/Wonder Woman with a baby sea turtle

Thanks to each of you who have been involved with the camp and have helped to cause our ongoing success.  Please welcome Wonder Woman warmly.  I hope you’ll come out to camp soon if you haven’t been recently.  Next option to be here is the Benefit Auction September 29.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey