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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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!)
The Mug Club! It will be shipped to your house before the live component of the auction so you can enjoy during the auction.
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.
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.
I am constantly surprised and sometimes overwhelmed by the generosity of the community that supports Bethany Birches Camp. A past board member and spouse, who was a long time camper, do lots of preparation for the auction each year and even work hard starting early the day of the event. After that they sit down and bid as high as they can. This is just one snapshot of those who are passionate about this place and work.
Another snapshot from Saturday are Sandy and Vernon, the auctioneers. Some years they bring their wives, other years Sandy has come alone. Well this year, Sandy and Vernon left in Vernon’s Prius at 12:02am Saturday morning. They pulled into the camp around 6am to catch the sunset and a couple Z’s. By 8:30 they were out having coffee. They did their usual excellent and entertaining work, and after lunch got back in the car to head home to Pennsylvania.
I have so many snapshots like this from Saturday. Those images range from young Counselors In Training helping with food service to bidders who bid high and traveled from near and far to some of our youngest campers eating LOTS of popcorn. It is all of you, who give of your time, energy, and money who make it possible to provide camp to all. Our unique tier pricing both provides this possibility and also requires significant fundraising. The auction goes a long way toward those fundraising goals.
As you may know, each year we try to include some sort of program in addition to the rest of the festivities. It’s usually something simple. This year, we were curious which Mennonite breakfast treat would be more popular. So, we set out pieces of Old Fashioned Shoofly Pie and pieces of Funny Cake (all donated by Landis Supermarket). Participants placed a ticket in one of two jars signifying their preference. Get THIS! It was a tie! 28 votes for Shoofly and 28 votes for Funny Cake! One of the auction committee members commented “that is so Mennonite. We wouldn’t want to cause any conflict or bad feelings.”
While the preferred breakfast treat may not be clear, we do know that this year’s auction raised a whole bunch of money for campers who need it. Initial tally shows more than $54,000! Here’s the list of items with winning bid prices. We are humbled by this result and deeply grateful for each person in the room that day as well as those who bid from afar. Mark your calendar for the end of September next year. We hope to see you there!
On behalf of the camp board and auction committee,
The 16th Annual Benefit Auction was great fun and raised over $51,000 for the work of Bethany Birches. Specifically, that means that many campers who could not afford camp could still come and have a powerful summer and winter camp experience. I am so thankful for all of you generous and gracious people who make camp possible. Thanks to everyone who donated items, who came out to the event, who bid on-line, who made food, and who volunteered in numerous ways. We couldn’t do it without you!
On Saturday, we were blessed to enjoy beautiful fall weather for auction day. The sun was out and the leaves were starting to display their autumn glory. The morning began with a delicious breakfast of Phil Lapp’s famous donuts (bet you didn’t eat just one), an amazing selection of quiches, fresh fruit, funny cake, shoe-fly pie (pies courtesy of Landis Supermarket), and lots of coffee and apple cider (thanks for the apples Jeff/Jane and for pressing Mike!). It was just the thing to fuel everyone up for the active bidding that was to come.
We unveiled this year’s mug design as well as the new auction logo – and both were received with enthusiasm. Plus – all those who joined the “mug club” got to enjoy endless beverage refills throughout the day. What a deal!
The preview hour was a great opportunity to check out the silent auction tent, as well as to start strategizing which items to bid on in the live auction. Once Sandy (of Sanford Alderfer RealEstate), the auctioneer, took the microphone we were were off and running. He has such a great energy and he keeps the bidder numbers popping up all over the room. There were certainly some items for which the bidding was quite competitive, and that was really fun to watch (I, Wonder Woman was very excited to win one of the Penn View Farm Chocolate Milks that I had my eye on!). Here’s a list of all the items in the live auction and their selling prices.
The event wrapped up with a fantastic lunch spread, and time to savor good food and conversation around the picnic tables. The kids enjoyed running around at the playground as well. We all had full stomachs, and even fuller hearts.
There were many special moments last Saturday. Two of my favorite moments were listening to a supporter who talked about reconnecting with childhood friends at the auction and watching two current campers attempt auctioning for themselves! In fact, here they are:
This is the last auction items spotlight, as we will close the online bidding form tomorrow (Sept 28) at 9am and start putting full attention on final setup and details. So get your bids in tonight and first thing tomorrow morning if you’re not joining us on Saturday!
One item that is not to be missed is Win One Day of Service by Forest Savers.(Code: FORSAV) Gerry Hawkes, owner/operator of Forest Savers, has been a long-time supporter of Bethany Birches Camp. He headed up the consulting and construction for the camp pond in the 80’s and this spring cut 300 dead trees down in 1 day. This dude has tools and tons of experience. He can make your land project happen! You wanna cut trails through your wood lot, no problem (he’ll even design them). Maybe you want to reclaim a field that’s overgrown. He’ll do it in less than a day. Your driveway is a mess from years of rain and plowing… he can get it looking brand new. He offers many services. Visit his website to see them all and to watch videos of him in action. In fact, here’s Gerry pulling spruce poles out of the camp woods for the pavilion porches back in 2015.
I am personally not what you would call a “good cook.” I have joked with friends that the smoke detector and the oven timer are basically the same thing. Yes, I have burned broccoli while attempting to steam it, and I have practically dehydrated asparagus while trying to roast it. The only real “specialty” that I make is Rice Krispie Treats – and that is simply because I add EXTRA marshmallows to the recipe on the box. (But they are so good!)
Needless to say, I really appreciate those who have skills in the kitchen and are willing to share them.
We are so excited to be featuring some friends of camp, who are also very talented home chefs, and are offering up what they do best! At the BBC Annual Benefit Auction you could win yourself an amazing culinary delight. We are talking drool worthy!
For the CHOCOHOLICS out there, like myself, I would strongly suggest bidding on Gwen Groff’s Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis. I think the name says it all – but it is simply a decadent treat not to be missed. Charles Shultz said: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” How true!
For the SEAFOOD LOVERS, there are two great options to consider. First – you could treat yourself to a batch of Phil Wilkerson’s famous Maryland Fresh Blue Crab Cakes! He will make them to order with a week’s notice, and you can pick them up in Bridgewater. That sounds like a perfectly delicious dinner – and no dishes! Amazing!
Secondly – you could enjoy a full 4-Course Seafood Dinner Extravaganza, cooked for you by, and hosted in the home of, Abner and Virginia Schlabach. Everything they make is wonderful and their hospitality is second to none. This would be such a great evening – don’t miss out! The menu includes things like cream of crab soup, salad with scallops, and grilled catch of the day with mango salsa. Yum!
Finally – You can also win a full Dinner for Eight People – cooked and delivered to you by Donna Miles. She will design a menu style to your choice, deliver it do your house, and dessert is included. This sounds like a great way to have friends and family over for a fun evening – and not have to worry about cooking. And it is guaranteed to be delicious.
Virginia Woolf said that “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
The BBC Annual Benefit Auction is only 3 sleeps away. Yay- I can’t wait!
Not only is this a great way to score some amazing items, but you get to help send kids to camp in the process. That is what I call a WIN-WIN!
Have you checked out our website yet to start your ‘WISH LIST’ of things you want to bid on? I have, and so I thought I would share are a couple of the items that I am very excited about.
I don’t know about you, but there is something wonderful about wearing a brand new pair of socks. That feeling is just so cozy and perfect, and totally makes an average day into something special. And if they are a FUN pair of socks, that is even better. So – I totally have my eye on all the amazing Solmate Socks we have to choose from on the auction list. The snuggle is real! Which design will be your favorite? Or maybe you will find the perfect pair for a friend! (Plus – this is a great item to use as a stocking stuffer for those of you early birds who are already in Christmas shopping mode)
And where better to wear those awesome socks – than to the MOUNTAIN! I am a snowboarder, and I look forward to carving up some winter fun. How awesome that we have donated tickets to Killington, Okemo, and Suicide Six. Now, I just need to decide which one to bid on! I guess having too many great options is not a bad problem to have.
I recommend you check out the website and start making your own Wish List. We hope to see you on Saturday, from 9am-Noon, at the Auction.
It’s almost time for the annual benefit auction. I am excited! Why? It’s so fun! Even better, there are so many great people and lots of great food! Sandy, the auctioneer is a great entertainer (and will convince you that you need to keep bidding… which is good for the kiddos who benefit from your bidding).
In my excitement for the food and people and fun, I forgot about all the cool stuff you could win! Each year in the week or two leading up to the auction we highlight some of the items just to give a sense of some of the cool stuff on offer. As usual, there are a handful of services you can purchase. You can give to benefit campers and in return, get your house clean, go on a date and leave the kids at home or host an upscale party complete with professional cellist, wine and cheese.
The house cleaning was donated by Goldcoast House Cleaning. Owner of Goldcoast and camper mom Sarah, will send her lovely staff to your residence or vacation home if it’s near Bridgewater, VT. She will include cleaning basket of natural sponges, clothe essential lemon oil, and a bottle of Thieves Cleaner for you to do your own cleaning next time. You can visit Goldcoast’s website and learn about the specific cleaning they will do for you or place a bid online here using code GOLDHC.
Bethany Birches’ very own program director, Courtney “Wonder Woman” Hollingsworth is providing a date night in Woodstock. Speaking from experience, I have seen her educate, have fun with, and take great care of young people of all ages. This item not only includes 6 hours of her time but it also includes a gift certificate to the Woodstock Inn’s restaurants and movie tickets to the Town Hall Theater. She’ll drive up to 45 minutes from Woodstock. Visit this listing or place a bid online here using code DATENI.
Last and certainly not least is the opportunity to enjoy an intimate evening with friends as you listen to a private recital of a seminal piece of the cello repertoire, Bach’s Solo Suite for Cello no 1 in G Major. Wine and cheese will beprovided to further your enjoyment of the evening. Location of your choosing within 30 miles of Hartford, VT. Visit this listing or place a bid online here using code BACHWI.
This year brought the 15th Annual Benefit Auction. This particular Saturday was abnormally warm. A perfect match for the abnormal generosity at the auction. We started out with Larry’s syrup. Each quart sold for $400! That’s abnormal.
Did you know that in the first 14 years of the auction the event has raised $400,000 to help make the Bethany Birches Camp experience accessible to all? This year’s event continued that trajectory! $51,042 was the total given during the auction this year thanks to many generous donors (both items and dollars) and a friend of camp who matched item #50 (Camperships) with $10,000! You can see the live bidding items and sale amounts here.
People coming out to the auction included friends as close as a stone’s throw from camp and more distant attendees from VA and PA and other nearby states.
One of my favorite things was seeing a few campers so excited to help that they waved items they were displaying and even danced a bit!
Please mark your calendars now to attend the 16th Annual Benefit auction scheduled for September 29, 2018!