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Summer Magic

Posted by on May 8, 2020

Summer Magic

by Bob Strodel, Executive Director I’ve heard it said that your most favorite music is probably the tunes you enjoyed in high school. That’s not surprising as the developmental years in life are so formative and make such long lasting impressions. One of the BEST parts of my job at camp is  visiting and catching up with alumni, and the FUN part of that is hearing “old camp stories.”    Last week I enjoyed a phone call with an alumnus, both a Brookwoods camper and staff member from the 1950’s. He is 83 years old and his memory of his camp days seemed as sharp as the day he served. His enthusiasm was contagious as he regaled me with camp stories, including the ability to recall the names of his fellow staff members and some of the challenges they faced “back in the day.” I was ready to hire him once again on our waterfront staff!    Occasionally, I post a “Throwback Thursday” picture on my personal Facebook page. I’m always fascinated to see the comments unfold from alumni that recognize themselves or their friends who were “tagged” in the photograph. The comments are never anything like, “that was the worst time of my life,” but rather tend toward wonderful, uplifting memories of people, places, and events they enjoyed at camp and look back on fondly. Last week, I posted a photo of the 1981 Deer Run CITs. It resulted in a long string of comments, including: “Such wonderful memories”…”Oh, to be a kid again”…” You look the same”…” That was a great summer.” There is something special about summer camp—I call it “Summer Magic.” The temporary community we call camp manages to form experiences, friendships, and memories that last a lifetime. At Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, this is what we try to encourage through our programs: shared experiences, appropriate challenges, and conversations about life and our Lord. Parents who have made the camp investment for their kids, also see this growth and development. If I could summarize the most frequent feedback I’ve received from parents over the last 26 years, it could be categorized in these three areas: 
  1. What did you “do” to my kid at camp? They now clean their room and read their Bible.
  2. How do you get such a great set of people at camp? My kid(s)’ best friends are all from camp and they are such a positive influence.
  3. Where did you find such great staff?
Of course, not every child is a good match for camp experiences, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the high rate of “happy campers.” And when parents can help prepare their children for the camp experience, this can help even more campers be successful in our camp environment. Currently we are confident that on June 28th we will be able to welcome campers at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. That date is two months away and while we don’t want to ignore what is happening around the world, we believe this period is a “blizzard” and not an “ice age.” I know that parents want to send their kids to camp this summer after the disruption to normal life, the extended distance education experience, and the need to get out of the house for recreation, fun, and interaction with friends. Our hope is that we will be able to provide a safe place for that to happen. We are continuing to accept applications for the summer and spaces continue to fill up.  Some of our sessions are 100% filled, but others still have a few spaces. Please tell your friends and family members about our wonderful camps. We are happy to send out New Information Packages to anyone who requests one.  Please feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Camp is a happy place, and we are excited to prepare for a fun summer.
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Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. since 1995, and this summer will be his 46th at Brookwoods! His favorite camp activity is model rockets.

What’s Happening at Camp?

Posted by on May 4, 2020

What’s Happening at Camp? – May 4th Update

By Bob Strodel, Executive Director

We know the last seven weeks have turned many lives upside down and presented many challenges for those in our camp family. Life is anything but normal right now! Our hearts are with you and our hope is that you feel God’s presence, provision, and love during these difficult times.  I know of several members of our camp family who are personally dealing with the COVID-19 virus, and we pray the Lord will heal their bodies and those of the people they love.

At Christian Camps and Conferences, we understand that a lot is up in the air right now. Even so, our current plan is to open the camp gates on June 28th to welcome our first session of campers to Camp Brookwoods, Camp Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. This date is still about two months away. While we know things are tenuous right now, we are very hopeful that camp will go forward as planned. We are praying that this will be so. Our ministry at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost is life-changing and we want to see kids head up to camp for adventure, fun, and meaningful connection with other campers and staff. Our unique camping environment—founded on the Christian faith and centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ—changes kids’ lives.

 Our lives have always been in God’s hands.  Nothing has changed!  

I want to encourage members of the camp family to remain positive.  Don’t be an Eeyore!   The  Governors  of New Hampshire  and  Maine  are  gradually  “opening  back  up”  the  States,  which  is  encouraging  to  all.  While we  don’t  have  a  final  timeframe,  progress  is  happening  in  the  right  direction!  

If however, we are forced to alter or cancel a session this summer due to COVID-19 CDC recommendations, we will let you know immediately. Also, you can be assured that camp is committed to eliminating any financial risks of signing up your kids for the summer. If any of our sessions are cancelled you will have four options:
1) Receive a full refund
2) Transfer to a session later in the summer (if space is available)
3) Use your deposit for a future summer experience, or

4) Designate your money as a donation to help the camp ministry. (As you can imagine, COVID-19 has negatively impacted our ministry due to loss of spring conference group income. Now, more than ever, we are relying on, and are grateful for, the financial support of our camp family and friends.)

We also understand some of you might not feel comfortable sending your kids to a camp this summer. We hear you. Let us know, and we will honor our assurance that camp is committed to eliminating any financial risk for you; you will have these same four options. Be assured, though, that health and safety are at the top of our priority list. As each camper arrives on Incoming Day we will check him or her for temperature, outward signs of illness, and medical history. We always have campers use hand sanitation stations when entering the Dining Hall at mealtimes and encourage that throughout the day. We also have experienced medical staff on-site to care for campers and staff, with the latest up-to-date information.                      

We are continuing to accept applications for the summer, and spaces are filling up.  Some of our sessions are 100% filled, but other still have a few spaces. So please tell your friends and family members about our wonderful camps. We are happy to send out information packages to anyone that requests one.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting some fun videos about some new stuff at camp, some old stuff, and some informative stuff. Here is a video we did several weeks ago week discussing some of the new programs at camp this summer. (Make sure to watch it to the end!)

Please feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Camp is a happy place, and we are excited to prepare for a fun summer!  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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Bob Strodel, Executive Director

Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. since 1995, and this summer will be his 46th at Brookwoods! His favorite camp activity is
model rockets.