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March 2017 - Bethany Birches Camp

Archive for March, 2017

Sharing About God’s Love

Franconia Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania partnered with BBC for the 5th winter in a row. For one weekend, their young adult group brought up a full volunteer staff of cooks, counselors, and shepherds.  The counselors dedicated their whole weekend to engaging with campers, running fun events, and building community. The cooks brought up a large quantity of food that had been donated by their church. They served delicious meals like pancakes, lasagna, chili, and our famous baked oatmeal.

The whole group also worked together to lead our daily Fireside sessions. Their theme for the weekend was “Love”. Counselors shared at each session by talking about different things we love. Throughout the weekend campers worked to build small journals, each page containing a drawing based on the theme for different sessions. Night one we discussed the love of food so their pages contained plenty of hamburgers, french fries, pizza’s, etc. By the end of the weekend, kids had drawn pictures of objects, friends, and family members. To tie the whole weekend together kids learned about the love of God; a love that is similar to but greater than any of the other things drawn in their journals.

It’s always so awesome for me to see young adults willing to serve and love kids that many of them had never met before. It’s amazing to see their heart and passion for serving and is always such a blessing to the camp. We look forward to partnering with them again!

Dan “Chick” Laubach

Acceptance and learning relationships

One of the founding principles of Bethany Birches back in the 60’s was to “provide a camping experience for youth where counselor and camper together can engage in learning relationships which will prepare them for future responsibilities in life.” As you probably know it’s easier to have a learning relationship with someone you trust and respect.  And it’s easier to trust and respect someone who accepts you for who you are.

During staff training we teach the importance of being with campers in the daily routine of camp; Befriending them, learning to know them, accepting them for who they are. I recently heard from a parent about her daughters experience from this past winter.  Her comments warmed my heart and pointed to an effective season of camps.

This young camper is a strong and talented girl.  She’s pretty and smart and her peers like her.  So I was a little surprised to get this email from her mother:

“Thank you all so much for providing such a wonderful place for [my daughter] to feel love and acceptance. She has been struggling at school feeling like an outcast .  She came home with a great outlook on life again and seemed so much happier. It is with tears that I write this.  Thank you, Dana”

I am thankful for caring staff  that can create this kind of experience.  I am thankful for a God that loves us and gave us examples of love and acceptance. Pray for us as we strive to mirror this blessing and pray that each camper will grow in their confidence and strength as they learn to see God through us.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Waiting Lists at Winter Camps!

This past winter has been interesting weather-wise.  Another interesting trend is the uptick in attendance for winter programs.  For the three overnight programs we saw 168 camper days which is 95% of total capacity.  On top of this, there were waiting lists for all three sessions!

As many of you know, winter is so busy for many families in central VT.  We continue to believe that what we’re doing at winter camps is unique and special and that almost all campers would choose it over other activities once they realize how fun and meaningful the weekends are.  It makes mission accomplishment possible if a camper can be here at least once in the summer, once in the winter and one or two other times between.

We are deeply indebted to the many staff and volunteers that make these weekends possible.  Gigi, a college student and long time BBC-er came to be Assistant Program Director three weekends in a row.  A group from PA drove 7 hours each way to help run one of the weekends.  Lots of other staff and volunteers sacrificed rest and relaxation to make winter camp all that it was.

Plan now to join us next year for one of the fun-filled, faith-building weekends as a camper or volunteer in the #BBCsnowGlobe.

Till then,

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey

Backcountry Ski Experience!

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