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Two Camps in One Summer?! - Bethany Birches Camp

Two Camps in One Summer?!

The 2023 summer staff team wasn’t complete until midway through the summer. Mana “Moana” Acosta and Leah “Patti G” Beachy arrived at BBC in mid July while the rest of the staff team started mid June. The two counselors had spent the first half of their summer working as counselors at Drift Creek Camp in Oregon. Moana and Patti G brought fresh energy, new ideas and the ability to learn quickly how to cook over a fire and the daily flow of camp life at BBC. While each newcomer learned quickly Mana had this to say about the transition:

“I wasn’t fully prepared for the culture shock that accompanied my switch to a camp across the country. After five weeks of forming tight bonds with one staff group, I found myself a newcomer among strangers. I woke up on my first morning at Bethany Birches as a Disney princess named Moana, a skilled firebuilder, a celebrated chef, and a launcher of water trampoliners. Adapting to being an older staff member with a new leadership system of assistant and head counselors was a challenge. Despite the differences in leadership structures, games, and even a new name, what touched me was the shared emphasis at both camps on meeting each camper where they are, embracing them with acceptance and love.”

Leah Beachy found herself spending the second half of her summer at BBC because she had heard positive reports from friends and appreciated the established connection between the two camps as both are part of the Mennonite Camping Association. When asked what she was taking away from a summer of dual camping ministries she responded, “Spending time in camp ministry is an amazing respite from the “real world”. Camp provides a space to reflect on the life you live the other nine months of the year, and it never fails to remind me of what is most important, like building meaningful relationships and consuming as much baked oatmeal as possible. Camp ministry also gently coerces you into doing some of the most silly and undignified things for the sake of the children…which has taught me to be better at just having fun with life, and to care less of what others may be thinking.”

~ Amber “Cheeks” Bergey, Volunteer Coordinator

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