Hey all! The weather strikes again. Since we are expecting snow all day tomorrow, it seems best to NOT be out raking leaves.
However, if you have some free time to give over the next two weeks or so, then we would love your help clearing trails out in the woods. Let us know what works for your schedule and we will provide the lunch.
Fall has so many wonderful, seasonal traditions that we all look forward to each year. These include things like pumpkin spice flavored everything, football games, apple picking, wearing our coziest sweaters- and of course the BBC Annual Fall Work Day!This is always a great time to get together with our fabulous BBC community in the crisp, fresh air and help prep camp for winter. This year we are hoping to do a lot of leaf raking, back country ski trail clearing, buttoning up the garden, and some organizing. Can you help us?
We have set the date for October 27th, from 9:30am-3:00pm, with a hearty lunch provided at 12:30pm. There will be coffee, snacks, and fresh pressed cider to enjoy all day as well.
Feel free to come for some or all of the day. There will be work available for any age/skill level. AND – will also have child care provided from 9:30am until lunch. So bring your kiddos, drop em off and get to work! Please rsvp if you need childcare (no charge) to email@example.com. Include number and age of kiddos.
The Bethany Birches Camp experience teaches many things. Some campers learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, some learn how to cook food over a fire while others uncover gifts God has given them. Learning at camp isn’t limited to campers. Bev Goshow (AKA Grandma Cookie Dough Chaos – that’s her camp name) thought she was coming for one week of serving in the kitchen back in 2010. Seven summers later she is retiring as the camp shepherd for BBC’s youngest campers. Thank you Grandma Cookie Dough Chaos for being open to how God would use you. The following paragraphs are Grandma’s reflections on her path to becoming a camp shepherd at BBC.
~ Amber “Cheeks” Bergey, Volunteer Coordinator & Day Camp Director
As a child I loved attending Camp Sankanac in Spring City, Pa. At that time I was unaware of the seed being planted and nourished. Fast forward to 2010. My husband Dave (aka Woodchip) and I volunteered one week at BBC. I was helping in the old kitchen. When I wasn’t in the kitchen I enjoyed Fireside and soon found myself actively singing with the kids. I’m not sure what happened to me that week. I found myself going down the slip n slide laughing the entire way while campers chanted “Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!”
Before leaving camp, Amber (aka Cheeks) identified one of my gifts as loving children and invited me to be the shepherd the following year. She told me to pray about it. I told her I wouldn’t! I was afraid of what God was calling me to do! My husband Dave felt differently. Dave said right away, “She’ll do it.” He then turned to me and said “You’ll be great at this! It’s right up your alley.”
Preparing for the first year of shepherding brought a lot of anxiety. I had no formal education to do this job. I was just a willing helper. I was fearful the counselors would correct one of my Bible stories! Nothing like that happened. I prayed God would be present and this was for HIM, not Bev. I LOVED my new role!
The highlight of shepherding over the last few years was to share about a loving God and the way of Jesus with 6 to 9 year old campers. I had the total attention of campers when telling them the Bible stories in flannelgraph! You usually could hear a pin drop – even with 84 active kids!
One of the memories that stands out was when I shared the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Quietly the children filed passed me as I gave them bread and fish (Swedish) and told them Jesus loves them. It was so reverent and peaceful. I cried like a baby as the last child went through.
As a camp shepherd I always had one goal: to plant seeds for children to know Jesus as their personal savior and to nourish those seeds in whatever way possible.
Dot Samsi was a parent/volunteer last summer (2017) at BBC. She agreed to reflect on her experience for the 2017 fall newsletter. Check out family – friendly – no – previous – experience – required – volunteer opportunities for 2018 here.
Camp has been a part of my life since I was a kid in Ohio. Every summer I went away for a week. When I came home covered in mosquito bites, I would write letters to my camp friends and impatiently check our mailbox for their responses. After college I got to work at camp for a summer that turned into a year and a half. My husband and I even got married at that camp and had our reception in the dining hall! Once our kids were old enough, they joined the fun by coming to Mom & Me camp.
Since leaving Ohio several years ago, camp hadn’t been part of our lives but I knew that I wanted camp to be part of our kids’ lives. When we moved to New England, we heard about Bethany Birches from some friends. Then two years ago we made the 120 mile trip to camp for the first time. We dropped the kids off on the mountain for Launch Half. Two days later we picked up exhausted campers who had had a great time!
This past summer I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. I asked if camp might need a volunteer and heard back from Amber that Bethany Birches loves volunteers! Yay! And it turns out, BBC can use plenty of volunteers. My daughter invited 2 friends and one of their moms, Amy, volunteered also. We all arrived ready to stay for the 2-night Launch Half program.
Amy and I both volunteered in the kitchen where Sparkles and Sharkbait put us right to work. Within a few minutes, we had gloves on our hands, bandannas on our heads, and we were serving dinner to hungry campers! We washed dishes, mopped floors, packed meal crates, and made huge amounts of apple crisp. We even got to make a grocery run for pig trough supplies!
As far as lodging, we brought our sleeping bags and we were ready to rough it, but we ended up staying in a really nice house up the street. It was more like glamping than camping and we had a good time getting to know the other volunteers. Looking for adventure, Amy and I slept out in the hammocks the last night. When we weren’t in the kitchen, we got to see some of the activities (now I know what a pig trough is all about!) and hear some of Grandma Cookie Dough’s firesides. We also got to do a little hiking. (The treehouses are amazing! I think that there may be a treehouse sleepout in my future!)
Volunteering at camp was such a welcome change of pace. The positive atmosphere, the beauty of God’s creation and the joy and enthusiasm of the campers and staff were so refreshing. Even with all the hard work, I came away feeling refreshed. I’m so glad that my family has found Bethany Birches. We can’t wait until next summer!
-Dot Samsi, 2017 Summer Camp Volunteer
Volunteers surround camper enjoying the pig trough
The first (small) snow fell yesterday at BBC! The snow fell on leaf cleared grass, newly built pallets and freshly felled trees. Saturday Nov 4th was a busy day at BBC. Thirtyish folks came from Rutland, Bethel, Woodstock, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Brandon, White River, Randolph, etc to help BBC get ready for winter. A big thanks to all you from Calvary Bible Church who came and joined the fun!
Volunteers brought different skills. All brought smiles. Volunteers were different ages with different familiarity with BBC. Some were at BBC for the first time. Others were campers who were attending their first work day. And still others have been coming to BBC in some capacity for the last 50 years! Over the course of 6 hours the group raked ALL the leaves, cleared the garden, built a number of pallets and fell trees to clear space for pallet storage and pond beach expansion.
Each October I try to focus on the beauty of the changing leaves but always find myself distracted by the knowledge that all the leaves will drop. And then need to be cleared. And how exactly will that get done? Along with all the other pre winter work 100 acres of forrest requires?
And each fall a group of people show up to help. This year was no different. This year people joined in the leaf raking, pallet building and falling trees. God continues to bring people to do the work of God and I am grateful to be part of that.
Just when you thought pavilion progress was over…2017 started off with pavilion door painting! A group of 8 Seniors (+ 2 adults) from Dock Mennonite Academy spent Jan 3 – 8 doing a lot of painting. The interior doors of the pavilion are clean and colorful thanks to their service.
Painting doors wasn’t their only accomplishment. The group of seniors prepared the mudroom to hang/stack/organize winter gear including skates and skis. Others in the group spent time repainting the floor and walls of the cabin basement. Now the basement of the cabin matches the new bathrooms upstairs. Both are shiny, clean and fresh! The group rounded out their week with various odds and end jobs and finished the week having some fun on the tube run and ice rink!
Why would a group of 8 seniors from PA come to BBC to paint, clean, sand and scrub? Dock Mennonite Academy requires each senior to participate in senior experience week. Seniors have the option to job shadow a professional in a field they have interest in or spend the week serving. We are thankful this group chose to spend the week helping at BBC.
The next time you’re in the cabin basement as a renter or snow camper or the next time you walk through the pavilion door as a parent, renter, camper, staff or volunteer you might be thankful for their work also!
We’re hoping to see some of them in the future while camp program is in session. In fact we hope the same for you! 2017 has opportunity for folks of all ages to experience BBC (including freshly painted doors). Check out summer and winter options. Hope to see you on the hill soon!
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.” ~ Scoop
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you up on the hill this summer!
Snow covered the ground. The temp was rainy and cool. People were few. A lovely day had by all. All good descriptions of Sat Oct 29th at BBC.
A group of 12 folks worked at getting the grounds ready for winter and tearing out the cabin bathrooms. The volunteers who braved the blustery weather took down tarps at shelters, put away picnic tables, stacked wood, set up sand barrels, cleaned up the garden and disassembled the volleyball net and nine square in the air. The volunteers inside tore apart the cabin bathrooms. In Larry Derstine’s words, “I don’t really like bathroom renovations.” Well I don’t either but they were in sore need of help.
I was outside a lot of the day. At first I was slightly discouraged by the weather but when I saw Nick Champine’s look of sheer glee as he rode around the gator with Dan “Chick” Laubach I felt much better. A little later Caitlyn “Judith” Laubach and I and enjoyed laughing about cleaning up the garden while it was under snow. I was struck with the odd contentment that accompanies serving alongside others. I got to know people better, help the camp and enjoy yummy lunch with all who were present. I’m reminded Jesus doesn’t encourage us to serve as another set of rules to follow but as a way to experience contentment that is otherwise hard to find.
Volunteers joining us on work days is also what allows BBC to keep costs low for campers. It’s a win-win!
Stay tuned for details for other service opportunities at camp (and if you want to come up now, we’re still working on the bathrooms)!
It’s the time of year when we need to get BBC ready for winter. Can you help us?!
On Oct 29th we’ll do work around camp from 9-3. We’ll break for lunch around12:30. Come for the whole day or come for part.
There are jobs for skilled and non skilled folks. Come alone or bring the family.
Skilled labor for remodeling the BBC Cabin bathrooms. (If you’ve used them in the last few years you know this is long overdue.)
Non skilled labor for all the other miscellaneous tasks: blowing up snow tubes, putting the garden away, leaf raking, wood stacking, taking down shelter tarps, pulling in the floating dock, etc)
The bathroom renovation will take more than 1 day. If you’re available any day from Oct 29 – Nov 3, we could use your help. If you’re traveling from a distance and want to make a long weekend out of it, we’ll have a place for you to stay!
Summer programming starts in a month! We want to have occupancy to the pavilion by the end of the month. Can you help?!
Join us on Saturday May 28th from 9am – 3pm for Spring Work Day! Jobs will include (but not limited to) .Painting the upstairs of the pavilion .Turning the pavilion from a construction zone to summer camp zone .Putting away/Cleaning up winter camp equipment .Preparing Shelter Sites for Summer .Preparing grounds for summer camp
We’ll have jobs for all skill levels and lunch for everyone, too! Russell “OWO” Pejouey will be on site to cook a delicious lunch.
Lodging is available here at Bethany Birches for anyone who wants to come from a distance or make a weekend of it!
Email amber at bethanybirches.org to let us know you can help or respond on the BBC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/568154376678577/