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Summer Themes Archives - Bethany Birches Camp

Archive for the ‘Summer Themes’ Category

Living Water

Thanks to Erin “Tye Dye” Dye for this guest post.  Tye Die is the camp shepherd this summer:

Thursday evenings this summer have been an opportunity for holy moments. Counselors have gotten to know their campers really well by the 5th night, campers submerse in good vibes from the week and excitement to go home, and for our worship times, this evening is a chance to have an “a ha” moment with the theme and how it relates to their own lives. During our Thursdays the last four weeks, we have looked the story of the woman at the well and her unexpected conversation with Jesus. When Jesus offers her living water, he shows us that he cares for everyone, even the unlikely people (a woman frowned upon by society as well as a Samaritan). As refreshing as the idea of living water sounds, this is an abstract concept of cleansing aspects of ourselves that we can’t pinpoint or see. In efforts to visualize the invisible, campers and staff participated in a demonstration to see the implications of receiving Jesus’s living water. Participants had an opportunity to pour something into a communal cup of water to make it cloudy (ketchup, mustard, pepper, etc.), and share something that personally clouds or weighs down their own spirits. Then as a group we enjoyed the visual of pouring overwhelming amounts of clean water (representing Jesus’ living water), flooding the cup and pushing out all the junk that we put in and that weighs us down, leaving us refreshed and free of burden. Campers consistently reported enjoyment of this activity and deeper appreciation of God’s desire to help us carry and bring relief for our burdens. It’s been a beautiful catalyst moment for the spiritual component of camp.

Campers have shared experiencing God at many different points throughout the summer.  One of those experiences I was fortunate enough to witness as God worked through our high school campers. After one of our small group times, the girls of this particular cabin had heavy hearts over the things they shared and put in the cup during the demonstration. In an effort to put their minds at rest before going to sleep, the cabin counselor opted to pray for each girl of the cabin out loud and proceeded to highlight the delightful characteristics and joys each girl brought to the cabin. At the end of the counselor’s prayer, I had planned to pray similar things for the counselor leading the prayer. However, I never got the chance because the moment she paused one of the campers jumped at the opportunity to pray and pour encouragement on their counselor, and when she finished another camper took a turn to pray for me! This moment was not only pleasant to be prayed for, but more so to witness campers receiving God’s love through our program all week and a strong desire to return the experience. This also meant our campers felt comfortable enough to pray out loud in front of their peers, unprompted, and live out the example Jesus calls us to in encouraging and building one another up in our faith. Although the work of camp is long and challenging at times, it is certainly not without reward!

~ Tye Dye

Day Camp! Unique Themes Each Week

Day camp is back!  Cheeks has been hard at work planning.  I wanted to share with you her recent plans for themes at Day Camp.

From Cheeks:

Each week of day camp will include a lot of traditional BBC Favorites including eating ice cream out of a pig trough, the slip n slide, swimming in the pond, exploring nature, team building activities and more. Each day will have blocks of time dedicated to the theme for the week. Read below for more details on each week.

Classic Week: (6/20-24)

This week is all about BBC Classics! Day Camp Director Amber “Cheeks” Bergey will pull from her 10 years as BBC Program Director to have the best, age appropriate BBC activities for Day Campers. Over the years BBC has gone “around the world”, hosted “muddy Olympics” and “carnivals”, directed “cinemas” and examined a plethora of themes to help young people make connections between faith, nature, relationships and God. Each day campers will get a great taste of what it’s like to be a BBC Camper while making new friends and having a wonderful time!

Wild Week: (6/27-7/1)

This week will focus on the “wild” activity happening around us in nature. Blocks of time each day will be dedicated to examining the wildlife around us. Catching critters in the brook, scavenger hunts leading to different trees and rocks, along with other hands on events will help campers have fun while learning about the wild life around us. It’s never too early to experience how being immersed in nature can put us in touch with The Creator.

Splash Week: (8/1-8/4 or 5?)

This week of Day Camp is in honor of many residential camper’s favorite day: Wet N Wild Wednesday! At Day Camp we’ll be wet and wild all week. Chunks of each day will be dedicated to water activities. If you don’t like to get wet, not to worry! Each day will have options for hands off water activities. Campers will have fun with traditional back yard splash games and also have fun working together to accomplish slippery challenges. Moments each day will also be spent examining how some of the properties of water can help us understand faith and a relationship with God.

UBuildIt: A special summer camp 2014 week at Bethany Birches

Camp is packed full of so many fun activities. While part of my job is to think of new and exciting activities to bring to camp, we have often looked to campers for inspiration as well. From interviews, to camper’s evaluations, to conversations, we want campers to have a voice. If a camper has a creative vision, we’ll run with it.  I imagine this is how the pillow log came to be, and it’s exactly why we installed an archery range. Kids after all have the best imaginations!

This year we are putting on our second consecutive special theme week that looks different from the usual Vermont summer camp program. We chose the title UbuildIt. We are harnessing the imaginations of 50 or so campers to create a very fun and interactive week. Campers will be able to pick their favorite activities when they register. We will plan the week based on these choices. Campers will even have the chance to modify existing activities for each other. Some of the favorites up for modification include Mission Impossible, Pig Trough, Slip N’ Slide, Camp Cinema, Group Games.

So often in this day and age we see young people relying on social media, screens and apps to entertain. This favorites UbuildIt week is going to turn this model upside down and challenge campers to get involved in making the fun! We couldn’t be more excited to see what they come up with.

Are you joining us this summer?

Sparkles

 

Newsletter 2013: Snow Camp Synopsis & Summer Highlights

The winter of 2013 was a busy one at BBC. Campers, staff and volunteers all enjoyed the endless snow, adventure and excitement that filled the hill from December 2012 – April 2013.

Polar Bear is Back: Polar Bear Camp returned as the third weekend long snow camp this winter. The weekend was exclusively for 6th – 8th graders. Jr. High-aged campers enjoyed being together for their own weekend with Middle School specific activities and topics.

The Game of Seasons: The benefits of hiring an assistant program director for the winter were numerous! One of the benefits included a creative new game that intertwined education about animals’ different needs during different seasons, utilized the space of the cabin and connected to our theme of changing seasons for the weekend. Lynx campers reaped the benefits of this new game and were requesting it be brought back for summer!

Valuable Volunteers: Each snow camp requires significant volunteer input for the weekend to run smoothly. The Franconia Mennonite Church Young Adult Group came to meet all the volunteer needs for the Polar Bear Camp. One young adult served as the shepherd, others cooked and others played the role of counselors. Together they made a great team, brought a ton of fun for campers and served as great role models of service for each of us. We hope they’ll be back!
Mission Impossible Pose

Summer Highlights:

Summer 2013 Theme: Mission Possible. Matthew 19:26 says “With God all things are possible.” The theme this summer will aim to teach campers how to be WITH GOD and why this is the only mission worth pursuing.

NEW WEEK! Mission Possible Week! Every summer campers ask to play Mission Impossible more than once in a week. We finally caved. This week is all mission impossible all the time. The week requires campers to work together to solve the week long mission! Campers must have played Mission Impossible prior to this week in order to attend.

Cheeks

At Home in the World: Spiritual Saturday

Among the blogs I read is Generous Matters. It’s largely about generosity, giving and making ourselves rich toward God (rather than just plain old rich). This past Friday, the author of the blog included an excerpt from CS Lewis… I love CS Lewis! Here’s what he wrote in one of his books:

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home on Earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.”

Having read Screwtape Letters, I know that Lewis does not consider it a good thing when we feel “at home on Earth.”  Being at home on Earth makes it hard to be at home in God’s Kingdom.

This summer, we hope to have a ton of fun while discovering together this special place some Christians call God’s Kingdom.  If we trust Jesus’ words, we know that in that place is where we receive “life to the full.”

Tuna

Spiritual Saturday: Buoy is Excited for Camp

Dear campers,

I’m coming back to BBC and I am excited!!  I was unable to be at camp all summer last year and that has made me even more excited for group games, GAGA, the water trampoline, Wet n’Wild Wednesdays, the slip n’slide, cooking over a fire, and so much more. Fun is everywhere at camp!

Along with the fun I am looking forward to the serious relationships that camp builds. My hope is that I can grow the relationships that I have started already while creating new, meaningful, ones with all the campers I am going to meet for the first time this summer. I have learned so much in the last year and a half since I was last at camp and I can hardly wait to share what God has been doing in my life. I also look forward to all the things that you all as campers will teach me.

All of you campers should come back too because everyone at camp is important. That is another reason that I could not stay away from camp for another year. Everyone is welcome at camp. I have never been another place that was as welcoming/accepting as camp.

You should also come to camp this year because we have one of the coolest themes ever. Mission Possible! I think I have a little bit of a bias opinion because the theme relates to one of my favorite bible verses, Philippians 4:13 “for I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” You should come back to camp because we can do everything through Christ so who knows what might happen this summer. Whatever mission God give us is possible. The theme also makes me think of mission impossible one of my favorite games to play at camp.

Lastly I know I will not be alone there is a group of staff coming to camp that I am sure are great.  I have already started to ask that Christ give me the strength that it takes to play games and talk about God, so that we can make this summers’ mission possible. I’m excited to see all of your smiling faces at camp summer.

Buoy

Summer 2013 Registration Open!

It’s true. It’s open. AND, you get a $50 discount for registering between now and next Friday at noon. An automatic discount that is. More details here.

If you already know your sessions and dates, just go ahead and sign up!

 

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Tracks in the Snow

The hill is finally snow covered. Actually, camp is snow buried.  For those of you that have seen me at a snow camp, what I’m about to write might surprise you. My heart sinks when the snow starts falling. There’s no arguing the snow is beautiful. Clothed with adequate warm weather attire I love to go tubing, snow shoeing, skiing, snow painting or falling in the snow to make a snow angel. What I hate about snow is driving in it! I hate the fact that the roads I drive daily become unpredictable and dangerous. The additional travel time is detrimental to a chronically tardy person. I don’t enjoy the increase of blood pressure and white knuckles that are my body’s response to driving in the snow.

The other day I was lamenting all of the above as I watched Tuna drive away in inches of snow towards Killington. It’s so natural for Tuna to drive in the snow. As I pondered the many differences between us small indentations in the snow caught my eye. The indentations led straight to a tree. My gaze then caught another set of tracks. These were much bigger leading from the road to the woods. I was suddenly reminded that I am not the only one adversely affected by the snow. As the snow gets deeper moving around the woods becomes more challenging for some animals. The whereabouts of animals become more easily detected after a fresh snow fall. Despite the increased challenge, God gives these animals adaptations to make snow survival more possible. I was reminded of the adaptation God has given me in an AWD Subaru to get around in the snow. Despite my fear, I can usually get where I need to go in the snow.

I hope that someday I become more comfortable traveling in the snow but after 5 winters of white knuckled driving on the hill I’m not so sure I will.  At camp we often look around us to attempt to learn from nature. Seeing animal tracks in the snow reminds me that despite increased challenge, fear and adversity God gives each creature the resources required to live. (Philippians 4:19) God provides us with whatever we need to make our mission possible.

Come see for yourself, join me on the hill this winter for some animal tracking:)

Animal Tracks by the Tipi_Jan 13

Inside Out Lives On!

Summer 2012 is officially over. Actually, it’s long past official, it’s history! The temps are dipping lower and lower, the counselors and campers have been gone for months. The pond is empty of the summer toys. The swings are still. The water to the bath house is off. Now is the time of year when BBC looks ahead to next summer, summer 2013. It’s been a challenge to move on this year partly because the theme from last Summer continues to be real all around me. Inside Out is be evident each day. I continue to see these ideas around me and experience them in my life.

The most visible example of late was the foliage season. The brilliant colors of the leaves changing bring the mountains to life. Everywhere is bustling and busy with tourists and crafts. Life is vibrant. But the reality is, regardless of all the life and color that comes with the changing leaves, it’s a symbol of dying. The leaves change color because all the nutrition and oxygen is removed. The trunk of the tree holds onto all the life giving material so the tree as a whole can survive winter. This allows pigments in the leaves that have always been there shine through. The displays of red, orange and yellow are beautiful. The colors are beautiful symbols of the death to follow.  Beauty precedes death. The dying of the leaf allows the tree to survive the winter.  The current leaves die and fall so the tree can live on through the winter. From death comes life. It’s Inside Out.

I’m sure the Inside Out theme will continue to abound around me, even now that all the leaves have fallen. I’ll continue to enjoy recounting the experiences and events of the summer of 2012. As I remember the relevance of the Inside Out theme, I’ll seek to uncover a theme with the same amount of relevance for the upcoming winter camps and the Summer of 2013. Stay tuned!

 

Tuna and Cheeks enjoying foliage with new friends Dave and Kathi Peters of GlobalStory2 in October 2012.

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