That’s right folks. This is your chance to apply for your dream job. Being the Program Director at BBC is perhaps one of the most fun (and most challenging) jobs out there. Just think – it could be your job to run (or delegate) Wet and Wild Wednesday. It could be your job to run (or delegate) the annual cardboard sled and boat races. I mean, how awesome is that? Not to mention recruiting and training staff, budgeting, performance reviews… oh wait, those perhaps are not the most fun parts.
Seriously though, if you have any interest, apply now! I hope to select the next BBC Program Director by June 1 of this year. That gives you a month and a half to finish your application and tidy up your resume. Start here: https://www.bethanybirches.org/pd
And if you’re not going to apply, would you pray for the process? Pray that God nudges an ideal fit this direction and that we have the wisdom to see that person when they show up.
Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Working at camp involves a lot of repetition, and as someone who generally revolts against rigid routines, sometimes I felt like I was going crazy. But somehow, beyond all my expectations, God met me in the repetition.
I came to camp expecting that I would meet God in some life-redefining way. In fact, that was one big reason I initially hesitated about working at BBC this summer ― I expected that I would meet God in some big way, and I was afraid of finding him like that. Because finding God meant that I would have to own up to a lot of things, and I did not want to spend the emotional energy, I guess. But I did not meet God, not in the way I thought, anyway, which fit in so well with our theme of “Expect the Unexpected.” No, he did not revealed himself to me in some flashy Damascus road moment. Instead, he pulled me gently back to him, one small moment at a time.
Every week, I repeated the same advice to my campers, heard the same Bible stories, sang the same songs, cooked the same food, did the same activities.
I knew what was coming next. In the logistical sense, I knew exactly what to expect.
Now, when you do something over and over again, and know you will keep doing it over and over again, you have two choices: you can either jade yourself to what you are doing, or you can look for new threads of meaning within the repetition.
I found myself handing out the same advice to my girls this summer, different campers, different ages, different situations. I told them how important it is to learn to love yourself, because if you dislike yourself, then loving your neighbor as you love yourself quickly derails into a nightmare. And by the fifth or sixth time that I heard those words coming out of my mouth, I realized, hey, maybe I should give my own advice a try.
And maybe after the 50th morning of singing that all God’s critters got a place in the choir, I could remember that that meant me, someone who has felt on the outside for a while, not sure of her place in the choir or if she wants to sing at all.
And maybe by the seventh time hearing that God’s best friend Moses killed a man would it actually sink in that, hey, God might want to be best friends with me, too, someone who has not killed anything but maybe some mosquitos.
I usually look for God in the strange, unfamiliar places. I can see him working best when I am outside of my comfort zone. I like to go on adventures, push myself, find weird new places to explore, and hope to bump into God along the way.
But this summer, I learned to look for him in the small, quiet moments, in the spider crawling up my leg, in the curious eyes of children, in the encouragement of fellow staff, in the silly song lyrics.
God knows what we need more than we know for ourselves. He knows I can be skittish, he knows I am stubborn, but he also knows how much I delight in small moments of beauty, and he used that understanding to give me what I needed: a gentle push in a better direction that, with enough encouragement, will eventually lead me home.
As I have settled back into the repetition of my life away from camp, into my college routine, I catch myself thinking about camp a lot. I find I am craving the outdoors, craving rain showers and cast-iron griddles and grease fires and charcoal hand prints on my legs, craving the company of children, craving the peace I found on the hill ― these things that separately I can replicate anywhere, but that all together create something beautiful, something powerful, something unique to Bethany Birches.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to work at Bethany Birches, and I am looking forward to returning next summer, ready to embrace the unexpected from day one.
Liesl “Kiki” Graber
2017 BBC Summer Counselor
This summer was the most attended summer in the history of BBC. Praise God! We had well over 400 camper weeks throughout the seven weeks of summer. These high numbers required that we also have one of the largest staff teams in the camp’s history. Many different marketing events, individuals, and advertisements helped to make this summer’s registration so momentous, but I also believe that campers wouldn’t come (and keep coming!) if it weren’t for the ways camp impacts them.
Camp is uniquely powerful in the lives of children for many different reasons. One of the most important reasons, I believe, is the connection between camper and counselor. During the school year children spend 99% of their time with peers (fellow students) and with older adults (parents/teachers). Peers are easy for them to connect with, but often not much of a role model. Adults can be great role models, but difficult to make powerful connections with. Young, maturing, 20-something counselors help bridge that gap. They are fun to be with and people the campers can look up to. Many campers, in fact, realize that they too can grow up to be like these counselors some day. Liesl was an excellent example this summer. In the paragraphs that follow she shares her experiences this summer and you can see that while she made a real impact in the lives of her campers God also used BBC to make a real impact in her own life.
Just the other week my father took me to the Deleware bay to fish for tautog. (Don’t ask me what tautog look like… because we didn’t catch any). Unfortunately, our trip was cut short because of a problem with his boat’s engine. We ended up going through three sets of spark plugs throughout the trip and finally decided to head home in fear of being stranded without any more spark plugs! Sitting in the car during our three-hour drive home I thought about how prepared we were for this trip (boat, rods, tackle, bait, etc) and yet the trip was derailed by a faulty engine.
I think summer camp is quite similar. All year long I work hard to prepare campers for an amazing week of camp. I plan fun games, create great schedules, research new activities, etc. And yet, without an “engine” all of that work is totally useless. At camp, our engine is our staff and volunteers: Counselors, cooks, maintenance, shepherds, program, and more. Without these people, camp doesn’t work.
I wanted to share with you some opportunities to be our “engine” this summer. Below is a list of available positions. All of these positions provide real opportunities to love campers, serve God, and grow in life experiences. If you know young adults who would benefit from a summer working at camp please share with them about BBC! This link is a great place to find more information about each of the available jobs.
We are also working to hire more assistant counselors than ever before! These positions provide older high school students a chance to grow, mature, learn about working with kids, and learn about God. It also makes a great statement on college applications!
Lastly, if you are looking for a way to serve this summer but are only able to work one week, please check out these volunteer opportunities: Shepherd, Nurse, Kitchen, or Maintenance. If you have any questions about these volunteer opportunities, please email Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org
“During my summer at Bethany Birches, I made close friends, I got to know myself better, and most importantly, I got to know God better.”
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you up on the hill this summer!
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!
Bethany Birches Camp Job Description – this position is currently open!
Position: Manager of Maintenance
Job Type: Part-time, year-round
Description: To perform the general maintenance, repairs, upkeep of the Bethany Birches Camp facilities including building, grounds, motor vehicles and tools. Tracking which tasks have been done and which are due is also part of this role. This person may also be responsible to oversee some aspects of facility development (especially construction projects).
Coordinate and plan for volunteer workgroups and workdays
Coordinate and plan for capital improvement projects
Oversee contracted labor
Contact service personnel such as plumber, electrician, etc. when needed
Oversee and complete lawn mowing (volunteers can take care of most of this)
Purchase, within budget, needed supplies for maintenance and repair
Keep firewood stocked in all locations (volunteers can help greatly with this)
Keep all motors (tractor, mower, weed whacker, chain saws etc.) in proper condition performing regular maintenance according to the proper schedules
Maintain trails, low ropes course, pond features and other physical resources.
Help out in the summer as needed
Occasionally fill in for Executive or Program Directors to welcome rental groups
Help with cleaning in preparation for renters
Get facility read for programs (ice rink, winterization, etc. etc.)
Complete daily, weekly and monthly maintenance tasks
Give a report to the Executive Director each month (includes major and minor needs – present and future – what you’ve been working on and general satisfaction about work)
Complete projects and other work that comes up
Report to: Executive Director
Direct Reports: Seasonal maintenance staff & volunteers
$11.50 – $13.50/hour commensurate with experience
Number of hours being offered:
Minimum: 480 hours or 60 days per year
Maximum as of now: 600 hours or 75 days per year
Final compensation and hours will be worked out depending on applicant
You may purchase health care through Bethany Birches. You may use salary to pay for health care. This position has lots of room for growth.
Hours can be adjusted seasonally. A minimum of 1 day per week during spring, summer and fall is necessary. Additional days could be worked in preparation for summer. Winter projects are typically flexible. During winter months, three days/month will be necessary. Ideally this time would be spread across projects and snow removal and snow camp preparations.