Dual Perspective: Summer at BBC as a Parent and a Volunteer

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

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