This summer I have come to camp as myself, what I mean is that I came to camp just to be a fine art illustrator (I’m heading into my senior year at art school) and share that in different ways at camp. One of those ways has been leading drawing and painting interest groups. On Wednesday this week I experimented with Tex and the campers to make these nature art paintings. We used scrapers and a roller to apply layers of paint and then glued on things we had collected from nature to create lanscape scenes of camp.
In my other interest group we played around with watercolors– how the colors can bleed into each other, drips can create interesting shapes and splattering the paint is a lot of fun!
But, back to this post – some of you know Dale’s Homes in White River Junction. Dale and Darlene Snader are the owners and have made significant contributions to the camp… one of those contributions was the Director’s Residence that Cheeks and I currently live in (pictured here):
Well, earlier this week Dale came up to help with the Cardinal cabin. It’s foundation needed work or else campers couldn’t stay in it! While we’ll have to do the excavation in the fall, he was able to secure it for the summer. Thanks Dale!
As he was taking time out of a busy season and crawling around in the mud, I started wondering about what causes someone to give something as significant as a house? What causes someone to give a few hours of their time to crawl around in the mud to help protect children? In Dale and Darlene, I have experienced a generous spirit… the kind of spirit that is enabled by the knowledge that all we have received is a gift from above (including our birth).
Join me in hoping and praying for a summer filled with God’s love and service Dale style.
Greetings friends. The below blog post was written by a friend and consultant, Mark Vincent. He has been working closely with me (Tuna) on our campaign to rebuild the pavilion. This summer we are entering the “Public Phase” of this effort and so I thought I’d share it with you this “Tuna Tuesday”.
Capital campaign communication: 2 awesome examples
We learn so much from our clients. Occasionally we can pass the benefits along.
I have been privileged to work with Bethany Birches Camp as they ready themselves for their first big capital campaign. Their Executive Director, still in the early stages of his career, is an outstanding example of someone who knows he doesn’t know and is therefore able to learn and grow and put a lot of long-timers to shame at the excellence he is already achieving.
Most noticeable is the way he, the board and volunteers have been able to inject the organizational culture of the camp into all their campaign communication. Whenever the constituency interacts with them they are having a camp experience, not just a communication from the camp. Here are two awesome examples:
1. Their video that introduces the campaign and makes the case provides an excellent standard other organizations can aspire to reach:
2. A recent update on an unanticipated project that could have harmed momentum conveys a non-anxious, thankful, yet light-heartedly determined way forward. Anyone who participated can find themselves in the blogs/photos etc. that are linked in the note. It provides a great personal touch mixed with the benefits of social media and web. Here is the text:
Greetings friends. I’m writing with deep joy in my heart for each of you. As you probably remember about a year ago we received some tough news from the fire marshal: that the Bethany Birches Cabin would be shut down April 1, 2012 until we complied with numerous requirements.
One of my biggest concerns was how we’d pay for the upgrades to the building. My second concern related to how to get the work done. Because of you, the work was finished and paid for! THANK YOU!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of this effort and for your ongoing help in Bethany Birches’ mission to help young people develop their relationship with God. Without you we would still be without the use of the cabin!
And here is one more idea. Why not take these examples to your development and/or communications team to view and then ask what is one step we might take to better inject our organization’s culture into our communication–especially in a capital campaign? How might our constituency have an ongoing experience and not just another communications piece?
Many of you know Cheeks. She’s been the Program Director at Bethany Birches for many years (this will be her 9th summer). She also happens to be my wife. We got married after working here at camp together for a few years.
To me, Cheeks has been a gift from God. Let me explain:
Many days I realize this through various circumstances. Today, I realized it again. This time it was related to the fact that she doesn’t get distracted by stuff (you could even say she doesn’t care much about stuff). Seriously. She doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on stuff. She uses stuff until it breaks down entirely. If she looses something, she shrugs it off and mentions that she didn’t really need it anyway. Take her purse/bag for example. Right now, there’s a hole in it and one handle has broken off. She’s still using it. If it broke entirely, she might never get a new one. She might use another bag in the closet or fill her pockets.
I am quite different. I like stuff. I like high quality stuff and I like when it performs well. If it gets scratched or damaged, I like to repair it. Take my bike for example. I rode it today and it was wet. When I got home, I hosed it off and set it in front of a fan to dry. I washed it so the chain was free of grit and used the fan so that nothing would rust.
Here’s the thing. We only get so much time on Earth. Old people tell me that it goes fast. Researching, getting and taking care of stuff takes a lot of time. And, those of us who care about our stuff can at times be on the verge of caring too much for it. This is part of why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his stuff.
Back to me and Cheeks. She is a constant example of what it looks like to care less about stuff. With her attention not focused on stuff, she tends to focus on people… and she’s very good at considering others! Not only is this a blessing to me, it’s a witness.
I hope you find a way to bless those you live with today like Cheeks blesses me. When that way is unclear, look to Jesus. He will show you.
Amber Bergey, Program Director says one thing she loves about her job is interacting with people who rent the camp property.
Some of the stuff renters say
We like being right at camp with “other” opportunities available like tubing, LOTS of room, washer, dryer, woodstove for drying out and warming up. We loved being able to crash together, and enjoyed having you all (staff) right there during the day. The setting is absolutely gorgeous! THE PRICE IS RIGHT 🙂 – Loureen Landis
We enjoy renting the BBC cabin because it fits our whole family (12-15 of us), it is close to many ski resorts, and the tubing hill is lots of fun!! It is also nice to know that we are supporting BBC by renting the cabin during the off season! – Erica Merrill
We love staying at BBC to escape our busy lives and the camp always feels like a home away from home to us. It’s a great way to foster a relationship with God through nature while supporting the camp. – Jen Yoder
The winter of 2013 was a busy one at BBC. Campers, staff and volunteers all enjoyed the endless snow, adventure and excitement that filled the hill from December 2012 – April 2013.
Polar Bear is Back: Polar Bear Camp returned as the third weekend long snow camp this winter. The weekend was exclusively for 6th – 8th graders. Jr. High-aged campers enjoyed being together for their own weekend with Middle School specific activities and topics.
The Game of Seasons: The benefits of hiring an assistant program director for the winter were numerous! One of the benefits included a creative new game that intertwined education about animals’ different needs during different seasons, utilized the space of the cabin and connected to our theme of changing seasons for the weekend. Lynx campers reaped the benefits of this new game and were requesting it be brought back for summer!
Valuable Volunteers: Each snow camp requires significant volunteer input for the weekend to run smoothly. The Franconia Mennonite Church Young Adult Group came to meet all the volunteer needs for the Polar Bear Camp. One young adult served as the shepherd, others cooked and others played the role of counselors. Together they made a great team, brought a ton of fun for campers and served as great role models of service for each of us. We hope they’ll be back!
Summer 2013 Theme: Mission Possible. Matthew 19:26 says “With God all things are possible.” The theme this summer will aim to teach campers how to be WITH GOD and why this is the only mission worth pursuing.
NEW WEEK! Mission Possible Week! Every summer campers ask to play Mission Impossible more than once in a week. We finally caved. This week is all mission impossible all the time. The week requires campers to work together to solve the week long mission! Campers must have played Mission Impossible prior to this week in order to attend.
For years the wonderful staff and campers at camp have been creating many videos (hundreds!). A lot of those (less than two hundred) made their way to Youtube. It was such a shame to let them sit there, lonely and unwatched so we decided to create BBC TV. There are currently four channels: Summer, Winter, Staff and Everything (clever title, we know). You’ll find them here: BBC TV
The annual board retreat was held in January at Jeff Rosenberger’s Springfield Apple Orchard. Phil Bergey was the facilitator. The Pavilion Project is foremost for the director and the board along with the continuing energy needed to carry on the mission of BBC. Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project has been launched to make this dream become a reality in 2014 after the camping season is completed. Building plans, site location, timetables, contractors, current finances, and prospective donors are on the minds of many. A comprehensive director’s review has also been undertaken. Recommendations and compensation have been updated. The board is very pleased with the leadership and vision provided by Brandon Bergey and the program director (and wife!), Amber. Public Social Media Policies are also being formulated to keep abreast with modern technologies and social media. The organization continues to seek ways and opportunities to help shape youth and young adults to be productive Kingdom citizens.
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!