Board Spotlight: Looking Back

They say that “time flies when you’re having fun.” It’s hard to believe that in just a few months, I will have completed nine years on the Board of Directors. In some ways, it feels like I was much younger when I joined, and in other ways it seems like last week.

Some words that come to mind when thinking about board work, and the directors in general. Passion, integrity, resilience, thoughtfulness, intentionality, team-work, kindness, etc. Assuming the role of board chair stretched me as a leader, but this group of board members, who are so passionate about Bethany Birches Camp and its ministry, made it a privilege to serve in this role. I made mistakes along the way but was given much grace as I grew into my role.

A few years ago, several board members and I attended a conference called Thriving Boards. This conference was the gold standard for everything board related; like how to conduct a meeting, make agendas, take minutes, call for a vote, create a board policy manual, create an executive director contingency plan, fundraising, budgeting, donor relations, and much more.

It was an intense three days, full of training sessions and fellowship with other camp leaders. But the biggest takeaway was the importance of boards focusing on governance. We can get sidetracked at times, like deciding the paint color of a bathroom, or where to buy a new lawn mower. Now we feel comfortable saying “stop, this isn’t governance”, and move on to more important things.

The board has done a great job of focusing our time on the governance of camp, adhering to the bylaws, supporting (and trusting) those in other positions to do their jobs well, and empowering our Director to run camp to the best of his ability. It has been neat to see the transition.

Some of our greatest (and time consuming) accomplishments over the past few years have been the redrafting of the bylaws, the completion of a board policy manual, the review of camp’s compensation schedule, and navigating a global pandemic. In short, BBC was one of the only camps in Vermont that remained open in 2020, because we felt strongly about finding any way possible to fulfill our mission.

As I leave the board in good hands, my prayer is that there will continue to be a constituency of camp supporters that will willingly volunteer and engage in the governance and oversight of this wonderful place called Bethany Birches Camp.

~ Chad Yoder, outgoing board chair

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