| || |
This past Tuesday, we took our Third Tuesday Together (TTT) group on our 2nd Annual McAdenville Lights Trip! It's a fun time of fellowship and reflection - we even take goodie bags of treats for the road (many thanks to our Food Service Director, Teressa). The town of McAdenville, NC, decorates every year in a festive tribute to the season. With all the busy-ness that is this time of year, it's important to pause, reflect, and remember.
As we journey in this time of Advent, it's good to remember the Hope that is the Christ-child. One of the houses was decorated with Isaiah 9:6.
"For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
May your family continue to find the Light and Love of Christ during this season of preparation!
Well, another summer has come and gone. What an amazing one it was! Amidst the s'mores and canoes, we had some very meaningful moments with campers at Bethelwoods. We asked big questions about God, about our role in relationship to God, and how we ought to live in the world. We were blessed with a nurturing staff that worked tirelessly to make camp a safe, fun place for each child.
The highlights of our summer? Too many to count. I think the memorable moments really come from when counselors are able to connect and empathize with campers in a way that makes them feel safe, when campers feel able to take risks to learn and grow. It's in those moments when a child gives a huge smile and says "Finally, a place I can just be me!"
We hope that by disconnecting from all the external "noise" and just being in "God's Home in the Woods," children (and adults) can be reminded of simple truths. God created each of us. God loves each of us. Our value and worth have nothing to do with arbitrary social standards of wealth or appearance. We are children of God.
Thanks to each and every person who continues to make summer camp possible! From the maintenance crew to kitchen staff to volunteers, camp truly "takes a village" to happen. "For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know well."
(Psalm 139, NRSV)
On Friday, we had Kids Night Out. While we do themes each month, I've got to say that Dino-night seemed like a lot of fun for our campers AND our counselors. Whether it's the simple joy of watching Dinosaur "eggs" slowly hatch and grow in a cup of water, or the consumption of Dinosaur shaped nuggets, kids and their boundless curiosity is always contagious! Children of all ages were correctly identifying everything from Stegosaurus to Triceratops. I've added some photos from Camp Jurassic night below. Many thanks to our counselors and kitchen staff who work to make these nights happen!
Bethelwoods was very fortunate to host the Mariners in Mission, who spent the week helping out all around camp. They painted Horton Lodge, made new signs, and even upcycled some of our tshirts. We have an AWESOME new T-Shirt banner, showing off some of our summer camp history in Lake Lodge. The camp favorite "You Can't Sink A Rainbow" banner has also found a new home, though still in Lake Lodge.
It's a busy spring season at camp, with summer camp preparations kicking into overdrive. Look for a Wish List coming soon, as well as Spring Break Day Camp re-caps!
While it's always a good time for cake, we're glad to recognize the THREE March Birthdays among our year-round staff with fellowship and food. Wendy, our Housekeeping Coordinator, Liz, our Food Service Coordinator, and Colleen, our Office Manager, all celebrated birthdays within the past two weeks! We're thankful for their continued service to camp ministry. Be sure to send them your warm wishes and appreciation.
Michael joins us for his second summer, after serving in a variety of roles in 2017, including assisting in our Leaders-In-Training (LIT) Program. Besides the opportunity to play more Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge, why did Michael choose to serve again at Bethelwoods?
"Bethelwoods was to me, as a young camper articulated so better than I could, 'the first place I learned how to be me.' I learned who I was and how to explosively grow towards who I could be, thanks to this camp forging the foundation of God for my life. An incredible group of regular people came together, drawn together by their faith and their friends, to make an impact so exceptionally disproportionate in the lives of the kids who attended they may never truly know how big their seemingly small effort went. I wanted to give others the same opportunities I had, to grow and experience joy and challenge as a group, forging fellowship that may have been hitherto unexperienced for some these children and young adults, and to be sheltered from the potentially toxic conventions that plague our years in school. This camp was an incredible place for me, and I wanted to do my part to make sure it continued to be for many years to come."
We're happy to say that our Lake Loop Trail has been completed. Scout Troop #925 was out this weekend to complete a new bridge to finish the path around the lake! A previous scout project was to clear and mark the trail with red blazes.
This will provide options for guest groups and campers to enjoy even more of our 157-acres of woods and beauty. It is a huge THANK YOU that we owe to the Boy Scouts for their continued support of camp with their efforts.
After several months of snow and rain, our maintenance building has now been erected! If you can't tell from the picture, it's REALLY tall, able to hold any and all camp vehicles and equipment we might need. We're currently calling it the "Giraffe Barn," though if you've got any other names, we'd be glad to hear them. (Or, if you can get us the hook-up to become a Giraffe Sanctuary and Zoo, we'd be even gladder to hear from you!)
We were also lucky enough to have several Scout troops out this weekend, doing some much-needed trail maintenance and signage. (Keep your eyes peeled for exciting trail updates coming this Spring!)
As always, thanks for keeping camp in your prayers. Your support changes lives.