This summer, I had the great privilege to serve for two weeks as the Camp Shepherd at Bethany Birches. The first week when I was with the older teens, they kept asking me to go to basically every event they had. Which I was honestly surprised by. But, of course, I had to say yes! After doing a few, long camp days, exhaustion finally hit me about Wednesday when I had to crash and take a nice long nap! Not only did I want the campers and counselors to know that I cared about the experiences they were having, I was excited to be embraced and included by them into those experiences too! Experiences like trying and failing on the blob, hiking through the riverbed, playing countless games, and going to dance parties and talent shows. Everything we did was anchored in caring, genuine relationships. Because that’s what camp is really all about. Developing Christ-centered relationships so that each participant can grow in faith. This, to me, is the anchor of the BBC experience; real, genuine relationships and experiences that renew people.
It’s been an encouraging Fall for me seeing many students who went to camp in the school I teach at and truly seeing the impact it has made. There hasn’t been a week of school yet where a student from my school who went to BBC hasn’t mentioned something about either this summer, next summer, or winter camp! They, like me, can’t wait to go back again!
~ Michael “Toothpick“ Bennett
**Michael Bennett is a local pastor and school teacher, father of campers, and Bethany Birches volunteer. He and his family came to camp this past summer, some to be campers, and some to serve in different roles. We asked him to give you a window into his experience as camp shepherd for two weeks.