Author Archive

Covid-19 update

Greetings friends!

Summer camp is so close and the weather proves it!  The Pandemic is over in this country and the disease Covid-19 remains.  There are varying viewpoints and opinions on how to behave at this time so we wanted to lay out our basic expectations for the summer 2022 season, as of June 7, 2022.  This post may be updated in the coming weeks.

We desire safety for all participants including emotional, social, spiritual, and physical.  As such:

  • All campers coming to camp need to be healthy, without symptoms of illness.
  • If campers develop symptoms of illness while at camp, we will let them rest, rehydrate, and if no improvement, arrange for a pickup.  Camp is a hard place to rest, recuperate and recover.  A camper may return to camp after 24 hours illness free.
  • At this time we require proof of a Covid-19 negative test (at home rapid is fine) within 36 hours before coming to camp.  Details will be explained in the preparation packet you will receive.  If there is an update to this requirement, you will receive an email prior to your session start.
  • If your child or anyone in the household has had Covid within the 5 days before camp, please notify us by email (camp @ bethanybirches.org) so we can schedule a call with you.
  • We strongly encourage the required Vermont Department of Health vaccinations as well as becoming up to date with Covid-19 vaccination.

I hope your school year is wrapping up well.  Can’t wait to see you on the hill soon!

Brandon Bergey

Executive Director

19th Annual Benefit Auction Report

Dear friends,

Thank you!  Thank you to all of you who participated in the annual benefit auction.  It was a great day and the weather was perfect, as you can see.

I can’t speak for everyone, but, I have received many good reports of the camaraderie, food, and of course, the auction event itself.  If you’ve never been, the annual benefit auction is a place where you can both pay way too much for something as well as get a deal.  I was aware of how generous people are during the live bidding as I was watching Denise and Phil’s steak and lobster dinner sell for $600/2 seats.  Or Ruth Ellen’s focaccia bread that sold for $150.  It’s kind of fun to look through the items list and see how the bidding went.  You can find the list with results here.  While I’m sharing links, you can find the photo album from the day here.

By the numbers, 90 bidders online and in person, joined together with 108 donors of items and services to raise more than $65,000 for the camp.  More than 20 volunteers played different roles before and on the day of the event.  There are only about 365 days until the next auction which will be the 20th annual.  We are working on plans  to celebrate a little extra next year.  Plan to join us!  In the meantime, check out the fund a need projects and the volunteer opportunities.

Auction 2020 Success! $113,000

Wow.  Bethany Birches supporters showed up in a big way!  Looking down the list of all the bidders and donors of items warms my heart.  More than 100 persons banded together to contribute items and dollars and time to raise $113,000!  That total includes matches, mug club, fund a need, online auction, live auction, people covering credit card fees, and rounding up their payments. That is almost double a normal auction.  While the pandemic is wreaking havoc accross the world and erasing some businesses and non profits, it apparently isn’t going to erase Bethany Birches Camp.  The BBC community has proven that!

We will do our best to honor your support and care for this ministry and continue on our current path of providing a high-quality, Christ-centered camping experience at an affordable price for all.

If you would still like to give you can give to the “Fund a need” items here.  The climbing wall project especially needs a few more dollars.

I offer these three videos as a thank you!

Work Day this Saturday (Oct 24, 2020)

We need your help to prep camp for the coming winter and summer! Here are some of the tasks:
– Clear ski trails
– Cut trees for firewood (have a chain saw?)
– Split and stack wood
– Light leaf work

We will also provide individually wrapped desserts – physical labor earns brownie points and brownies!

October 17th 9am-5pm
October 24th 11am – 3pm*
*This is an update. If you were planning to come earlier or stay later, please just let us know! camp@bethanybirches.org or FB messenger.

More info here: https://mailchi.mp/ecd318461232/fall-work-day-2

Auction goes live Nov 7. We are testing Oct 16. Join us!

Greetings friends.  We are excited about the upcoming Benefit Auction.  Though it’s going to be different than usual, I think it’s still going to be pretty great.  There will be online bidding for a week, some important needs to give to, and of course Sandy Alderfer coming to us live via Zoom on Nov 7 at 9:30am.  We are trying to make the Zoom auction real time, similar to how we used to bid in person.  But we need to test that.  Will you join our test auction Monday, Oct 16 at 7pm?  If so, register here!

Auction Bidder Registration

Summer was fun! And weird. And expensive. Help?

Dear Friends,

If you haven’t read about our experience this summer you can get a glimpse here.  Reopening is one thing.  Doing so with a goal to have no virus transmission, especially when living together in groups, is another thing.  We are delighted with the results and so glad that we were able to pursue our mission fully.  We all need to connect with what matters in our lives and see God for who he is more now than ever.  It was a joy to share with young people this summer that God really does love and care for them and all they need to do is reach out and begin to experience the grace, purpose, peace and rescue that God has planned for them.  This message seemed to be especially relevant amid these unprecedented times.  Accomplishing this came at a cost, of course.  We spent over $16,000 for our pandemic response initiative and took in about $70,000 less than usual in summer camp revenue.  While we were able to cut costs by $20,000, there is still a gap!

I invite you give to “Where Most Needed”, “Kids To Camp”, or, “Pandemic Response Initiative” categories.  I also invite you to join us for the annual benefit auction in November.  Learn more about the auction.  Together, we will keep providing programming (even hopefully this winter) so that young people continue to develop a sense of hope, joy, and love.

Brandon “Tuna” Bergey
Executive Director

Camp In A Pandemic: Vol. 3

Dear Camp Friends,

We did it! 7 weeks of summer camp. 185 campers, 29 staff members, and checking with Rupert on exactly how many gallons of hand sanitizer, simple green, bleach, and other cleaning/sanitizing agents we’ve used.

When we started camp in July, I was surprised, and admittedly a little disheartened. Why did we have to be so strict? Will camp even be camp if we aren’t gathered close for fireside, or piled one too many around a picnic table for supper?  Will we be able to feel each other’s love and care even though we can’t see smiles through masks?

The answer is simple, and became clear as soon as campers started arriving. We didn’t bend rules so that we could offer the experience of camp to 185 young people this summer. So that they could reclaim some normalcy, and be with people who care about them, and learn about God in the middle of a global pandemic. While most camps closed or pivoted to virtual, we wanted to see if we could actually follow the guidance and actually avoid virus transmission.  Well it turns out you can take people from many different households, live together, and not infect each other!  All Covid-19 tests taken came back negative and all of the parents who responded to our post-camp surveys, stated their child was healthy or did not suspect their child of Covid-19.

But more importantly than no virus transmission, campers had powerful experiences and our mission was accelerated.  At the end of each week, campers have the opportunity to write “Dear Friend” letters to camp supporters. We got to read some of them and I wanted to share a few of them with you- in case you have wondered if camp was still “camp” this year. (spoiler – it was as good as ever)

See photo and video highlights from our summer here

For more details about our pandemic response, see our FAQ page here.

Kellyn “Benji” Boyden
Media and Communications Manager

 

P.S. We have a few volunteer opportunities including lawn mower, book keeper, wood cutters.  Are you interested in any of these?

Annual Benefit Auction 2020: A Virtual Treat ?

Dear Camp Friends,

Save the date, mark your calendars: Our 18th annual benefit auction has been set for the weekend of November 6-8!

Yes, it will be happening virtually, over the course of a few days. We are working out the details and here’s what we know will be included so far:

  1. Live bidding. Our auctioneer, Sandy Alderfer, who has been with us since day one, will be live for an hour (virtually), doing what he does best: giving you a hard time and convincing you a pint of maple syrup really is worth $200!  This will be interactive with Sandy.
  2. Multi day, online bidding.  If you are not familiar with this style, in short, it works like our silent auction does.  You bid, then someone outbids you.  You get a notification if you are outbid. There is an end time at which the highest bidder wins.
  3. Online shopping. You’ll be able to buy things like camp store swag, items from local businesses, and of course, you’ll be able to buy your mug club mug.  (This will be shipped to your house before the live component of the auction so you can enjoy during the auction!)
  4. The Mug Club!  It will be shipped to your house before the live component of the auction so you can enjoy during the auction.
  5. Matches. Not for building fires… we’re talking dollars!  Do you have interesting in putting up a match toward an item or special project?  Special projects include a new camp SUV, the rock wall in the pavilion, and of course, the ever popular Kids To Camp fund.  Let Brandon know if you would like to talk more about this.

While the world looks strange right now, and we have decided to go online for this event, we are excited to spend that weekend with you in a new way. We’ll share stories from this summer at camp, and have some classic auction items available to purchase that weekend too. The auction committee is working hard on some creative ideas to make this year memorable and fun, and especially to retain as much normalcy as we can.

On the topic of normalcy, check out this video from summer 2020.

To stay up to date on all future auction communications subscribe to our email list and encourage others who are interested to do so.

The auction is one of the highlights of our year, and a huge fundraising opportunity for camp, particularly for camper scholarships that make it possible for so many kids to come and experience BBC.
We look forward to sharing more info on the auction soon!

Kellyn “Benji” Boyden
Media and Communications Manager

 

p.s. In case you were wondering – we have two more weeks until we can pronounce that no virus was spread here this summer.  At the moment, no one has fallen ill with Covid-19!

p.p.s. Volunteers!  If interested in volunteering for any of these things, please reply.

  • Auction
  • Lawn mowing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Woodcutting

Camp In A Pandemic: Vol 2

Dear Camp Friends,

We are just starting our fourth week of overnight camp. Camp this summer has been exciting, a little bit chaotic, and definitely required some flexibility (spoiler alert, we have the best program team- they’re working hard, making changes as needed, and coming up with all the ways to keep camp fun, engaging, and safe).

We continue to be pleasantly surprised! First by the staff, who are diligent in upholding protocols and attentive in helping campers following the covid guidelines. This is no easy task!  Second by the campers, who are so excited to be here. Even with some activities missing this year, campers are creative- one cabin built their own mini golf course! (see video here)

Everyday we’re learning what works and what doesn’t. We’re thankful for your prayers and encouragement throughout this journey!

See photo and video highlights from our summer here.

For more details about our pandemic response, see our FAQ page here.

Kellyn “Benji” Boyden
Media and Communications Manager

————-

p.s. We have a few volunteer opportunities including lawn mower, book keeper, wood cutters.  Are you interested in any of these?  Please reply!

p.p.s. We are experiencing a similar level of expense as normal and about half the program revenue.  Would you consider a gift toward the “Kids to Camp” fund or toward the general operations?

Give Now

Camp In A Pandemic: Vol 1

Dear Camp Friends,

It happened! The first week of camp in 2020! We ran our day camp program with campers ages 6-10. The weather was great, and in true Wet and Wild Wednesday fashion, there was a little bit of rain on Wednesday afternoon. We learned about all that God is: loving, gracious, forgiving, trustworthy, and faithful.
One question we’re getting a lot is, how’s it going?
The short answer: Better than expected.

Meals are being cooked over the fire. Silly songs are being sung. Campers are learning about God. The Slip n’ Slide is being conquered. The hill is being trekked. And…we’re wearing masks. We’re washing our hands and burning through hand sanitizer. We’re not playing gaga, and we are definitely not having a pig trough. We’re spending as much time outside as possible, while maintaining safe distance. One of the reasons we’re able to do camp this way is because most of camp exists outdoors (even the Pavi is considered an outdoor space with the garage doors open).

There is a palpable sense of joy though, between campers and staff alike. Camp is still camp, even though it looks different this year. God is still good. I think we have so much to learn from little children. They’ve taken a lot of this in stride; they wear their masks and maintain their bubbles (with some extra reminders during pond time) with a smile, and so much laughter!

We would love your continued prayers for the health and safety of our staff this summer. We have now had staff living on site for two weeks and things are going well.

To see photos from this week at camp, click here.
For more details about our pandemic response, see our FAQ page here.

We still have some spots open for camp this summer!
Get signed up here!  Register Now

Kellyn “Benji” Boyden
Media and Communications Manager

Find previous communications about summer 2020 here.

p.s. We could use new volunteers to mow the lawn. Please reply if you’re interested!

 

This was originally an email.  See the email here.