From Camper to Servant

What do I remember about Bethany Birches? I remember the great fireside roundups, cooking over the fire, British Bulldog game, the mud pit, sleeping in the cabins, and so much more. My name is Leah Beidler and my week at BBC was often the best week of the summer. I am now 28 years old and living in Dorchester, MA, but was a faithful BBC camper for years when I was in middle school. I always enjoyed the drive up there and the excitement of what the week might hold. I met great friends, got to sing great songs about Jesus, and be immersed in God’s country.

I now live in the inner city of Boston and volunteer with a church in an underserved, high crime area. Vermont and Dorchester, MA are two different worlds. I have gone from the quiet, solitude of Vermont to hearing sirens, sometimes gunshots, and many other things. In the midst of the darkness I have found great light in the children and youth that live in our neighborhood. They are hungry for new experiences. I am the Youth Pastor at the church and this summer I wanted to get some of the children out of the neighborhood. My hope is that they could experience something new, exciting, enriching, and full of Jesus. BBC was that and everything more. I was a little skeptical about bringing three boys from the inner city up to BBC because of the extreme differences, but I remember what BBC did for my heart and growth so I wanted to give it a chance.

I think the best moment was picking the boys up after a week at BBC. The whole ride to Vermont I was worried that I would get there and they would say their time was miserable and boring. When I arrived they greeted me with hugs and begged to stay. They told me all about what they had learned, games they had played, and friends they had made. The highlight was hearing one of our boys read a poem that was about his vision, hopes, and thoughts about God. I remember thinking; “This alone makes it worth it.” To share that energy with the boys and hear the excitement that BBC and the staff brought to their hearts was an amazing gift. I am so grateful for the staff at BBC and their hearts to pour into our children, youth, and this kingdom on earth. Thank you! We are already waiting for next summer.

Leah Beidler, former camper

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