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Post Camp RE-ENTRY

Posted by on August 23, 2019

Post camp RE-ENTRY:
How Parents Can Help Children Transition Well

by Andrea Gurney, PhD, Deer Run Alumna,  & Camp Mom

 

Campers investigating Frog Pond

The sweet time on the shores of Winnipesauke and Heald Pond have somehow come and gone. Campouts, blobbing, Color wars, waterskiing, Narnia, morning devos, and Chapel times filled and nurtured our children’s hearts, minds, and bodies. And now it’s over. Our kids are back home, getting ready to transition to the school year yet still holding on to the memories of camp. How can we help them re-enter smoothly? Here are some quick tips to help both parents and campers reboot.

 1. Give your kiddo space. Like all of us, kids need time and space to process an experience. Although we as parents are incredibly eager to “hear all about it”, let’s be mindful that our children are still mulling over their camp experience and insisting that they share it all right away impedes their process.

2. LISTEN actively when your child wants to share about camp. Refrain from questioning, correcting, or giving instruction, as this undermines the choices they made and ultimately, their competence and confidence. Simply take the posture of a listener and allow stories and memories to be shared over time!

3. Related to the first two points, remember that being away at camp has given kids psychological ownership – the feeling that it belongs to them. It’s one of the reasons (whether we realize it or not!) that we send kids to camp. We want them to grow and be challenged, develop grit, and become more independent. So be intentional and respectful of their psychological ownership– what happened to them at camp belongs to them. What a freeing gift!

4. Continue to foster independence. While our kids were away at camp, they took care of themselves. They applied their own sunscreen, packed their backpacks for the overnight, brushed their own teeth, and maybe even showered once or twice. They even did chores in the cabin and undoubtedly, learned new skills. Often, they are eager to show off their newfound abilities. (Anyone else have campers who are arguing over who gets to be “Jennie or Waiter” for the day?) So let’s be mindful to continue to foster their growth and independence! It’s way too easy to slip back into the pattern of doing things for our kids; our brains, after all, prefer what is automatic and to change an old routine requires more attention and mental energy.

5. Cultivate emotional intelligence and problem solving. Remember that while our kids were at Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, or Moose River Outpost, they navigated emotional, social, and mental challenges without you! They figured out how to interact with a bossy bunkmate, listen to others who had a different perspective, problem solve when they didn’t get their first or second choice activities during sign-ups, make new friends, navigate group situations, and the list goes on. So when you’re tempted to jump in and help rescue your kiddo from a sticky social situation, don’t! Instead, acknowledge the difficulty, provide comfort and empathy, and then give them the time and space to figure it out on their own, just like they did at camp.

Camp friends already! This crew is following their parents’ camp footsteps. (Susan Bradley & York Arico, Kate Bradley MacLeod and Dan DiBase) Andrea’s Deer Runners, Madeline and Kate Hashbarger, are pictured far right.

6. On a more sentimental note, keep the memory of camp alive! For my girls, that includes things such as: displaying their rockets made at camp in their rooms; having their camp song book on our kitchen table so we can sing a camp songs together; continuing to use their camp devotional book; watching the chapel and banquet clips posted on Instagram and Facebook from their session; watching the July and August finale videos on YouTube, and reviewing and sharing the Bible verses they learned at camp.

Camp offers so many gifts to not only our children, but to us as parents. May we continue to reap the benefits of what our children learned at camp as we welcome them home and build our fall routines.

Thank you to all of those at Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost for investing in the lives of our children. You have challenged them, cared for them, nurtured them, and loved them well. This is, I believe, perhaps the greatest thing we can be a part of —nurturing another soul and building Kingdom relationships.

 

Andrea Gurney, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor of psychology at Westmont College, and author of Reimagining Your Love Story: Biblical and Psychological Practices for Healthy Relationships. An East Coast camp girl at heart, and Camp Deer Run (Alton, NH) staff alumna, she currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband, two daughters, and playful goldendoodle. Connect with her at AndreaGurney.com or Instagram @andrea_gurney for practical tips and insights on life!

 

 

 

Prayer Makes a Difference

Posted by on August 16, 2019

Prayer Makes a Difference

Madeleine Schlenz, RN and Camp mom

Camp nursing is different from serving in a hospital: it’s a little bit of mothering, a lot of community health and a ton of smiles and reassurance. Whenever possible, I take time to pray with the kids who come to receive care, and this week I was reminded of the difference that makes.

Homesickness strikes early at camp. Within the first few days we see some kids struggle with being away from family. One that I met this summer will stick with me forever.

A young camper attending Camp Brookwoods from overseas came to visit the Loon on his first night. He was clearly fighting back the tears and just wanted to go home. We spent time with him, encouraged him and prayed with him. Then, he reluctantly went back to his cabin.

The next night he stopped by, less weepy but still wanting to spend time with us. When I asked him if I could pray for him, his demeanor changed and he quickly told me he would love that.

Three nights in, he melted my heart.

While other campers were getting ready for bed, he walked into the Loon (our medical facility) smiling, and just stood there. We asked him about his day. He smiled as he told us what he had done and about all the fun he had. Then we asked if he needed a good night hug. He shook his head, no.  We asked if he wanted some water or if he needed anything medical. Again, he shook his head, no. Puzzled, we asked what we could do for him.

He dropped his head, kicked his feet a bit, then looked up and shyly asked, “Could you pray for me? It really makes a difference.”

I about lost it. I ran to him, hugged him, and wanted to keep hugging him. The other medical staff joined me as we thanked God for this child and prayed for him, lifting him up to a Heavenly Father who is well aware of everything the boy felt and the struggle he was having.

Oh, to have the faith of a child; to simply come and ask for help through prayer! This boy didn’t have a concern with how he looked or what others would think to keep him away. He just came. He wasn’t caught up in his own pride or self-sufficiency. He was vulnerable. He took one small step toward us and we all rushed to meet his request.

Our staff that night consisted of two RNs and an MD, we had plenty of skill, we were confident in our ability to diagnose and treat physical issues, but God wanted us to remember the importance and the power of prayer, because, “It really makes a difference.”

The staff at the Loon is usually busy caring for the physical needs of campers. But this summer, God used a young boy from another country, to show us how much He cares for us, to lift our heads and hearts upward to a God who wants to be brought into everything we do, and to remind us of the value of childlike faith.

 

Madeline and her husband Jeff live in Annadale, VA and they had three campers at Brookwoods and Deer Run this summer, Benjamin, Christopher and Karisa. Before coming to Brookwoods and Deer Run she served on the medical team at Camp Sandy Cove in WV. Her favorite thing to do at camp is fellowshipping with the larger body of Christ and being reminded of God’s involvement in different parts of the world, as well as enjoying the super amazing slushies in the Camp Store. Visit her blog at TurnAside.org (it’s a work in progress :-).

The Weekend of Giving

Posted by on July 17, 2019

The Weekend of Giving

by Ann Higgins, Director of Development

“What is the Weekend of Giving and why does camp do this?” you may be asking. It’s a good question! Many people may not realize that Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost are incorporated as a non-profit organization called Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. That basically means that we are not in operation to produce profits which go to shareholders or owners, but that camp tuition and conference fees go back into running the organization. In our case, back into a ministry of creating communities where lives are transformed for Christ! What a mission! And we’ve been at it for 75 years!

Camp staff helping to promote the Weekend of Giving

With that in mind, Camp, as a non-profit, is allowed to accept tax-deductible donations from folks who love what we are doing and want to be a part of it. That is why we regularly try to communicate the needs of the organization and invite our Camp family to join the mission, or “join the journey” with us through giving financially to the ministry. Hence, a Weekend of Giving!

Instead of sending you zillions of emails on Giving Tuesday, (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) like other organizations, we decided to try a concentrated fundraising effort for our Scholarship Fund over Changeover weekend (the mid-point of Camp). Approximately 20% of our campers require financial assistance to attend each summer, and this year, we plan to gift $300,000 in assistance. We look to our Camp family to substantially provide for this need, and how the families appreciate it:

“My daughter has attended and loved this amazing camp for several years, which was made possible by the camp scholarship opportunity—and I can’t thank Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run and its donors enough for that!… [She] now knows and loves God because she wants to, because of her meaningful experiences at camp—from the love, devotion, and friendships she experienced at this special place.” –Camp Mom

 And there are many, many more testimonies like this one!

Last summer, on our first Weekend of Giving, our generous donors gave over $50,000! This year, we have set an ambitious goal for the weekend. We are hoping to boost the Scholarship Fund by $75,000 in honor of our 75thyear of ministry. It’s a big goal, we know(!), but we had to do it! We’re gonna need a LOT of help to get there! What can you do? Please give, any amount is helpful–and, you can help us promote the weekend on your social media by sharing posts and hashtags, which is also vital to the weekend’s success.

Camp is life-changing. We are praying for lots of “Changemakers over Changeover” to help us bring more kids to experience our gospel-centered communities, hear about the love of Jesus,  encounter God in His creation, and be encouraged along their own faith journeys.

Ann Higgins is the Director of Development for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost where the best part of her job is interacting with the thankful and generous camp family that supports our mission. You can reach her at ann@christiancamps.net

Camp Pictures Forever

Posted by on July 5, 2019

Camp Pictures Forever

by Melissa Yonan, Alumni Director

The Waterfront

Not gonna lie, my life as a full-time camper is pretty great. During the academic year, the “Central PA CCCI Office” is located in State College, PA (is the voice in your head saying “We Are…Penn State!). I patiently (and at times, not so patiently) wait to flip the calendar to June so that we can pack our duffles and head north to Camp for the summer. But that is simply the last step to connect us to Camp. Even though I’m far away from Camp distance-wise, it’s not hard to find camp in our home all year round. From camp shirts in the laundry, to my kitchen clock of two canoers with the words “Camp Forever,” to cabin pictures scattered about, to Peter Ferber’s “The Waterfront” that was commissioned for Deer Run’s 50th birthday hanging over our mantel—they all tell the Camp story and remind us of the place we love. And, over the years, I’ve realized that I’m not the only one with “The Waterfront” hanging in plain view; I’ve seen it in many of your homes, from Colorado Springs to Philadelphia, as you look out to the Boathouse, too.

The Front Lawn

Several years before Deer Run’s 50th birthday, Donna Cordes Lehmann suggested that we contact Peter Ferber and see if he would consider painting a watercolor of a camp scene that we could reproduce and make available to our extended camp family. Bob Strodel invited Peter over to camp one sunny summer day and during the tour, Peter took many pictures for possible paintings. I remember Peter saying, “There are so many beautiful places to paint, we could do a series.” That always stuck with me. At the time, we were certain that we wanted a larger painting and unanimously agreed on the waterfront, the place etched in everyone’s memory. Peter set to work, pencil sketches, then watercolor, and then Peter took the original to Hunter Printers where it was made into giclée prints.

Brookwoods Waterfront

When we started planning Brookwoods’ 75th Anniversary, we immediately talked about more art for our walls, and yours! We picked three scenes that celebrate Brookwoods’ ministry—all that God has done in this sacred place, through His people, for His children (campers and staff alike!). Peter’s initial idea of doing a series came to life with three new paintings, “The Front Lawn,” “Brookwoods Waterfront,” and “To The Boathouse.”

Peter Ferber with “Beating Around Plum Island”

Peter is practically our neighbor and exhibits his work twice a year at The Art Place in Wolfeboro. If you’ve spent time in the Lakes Region, you’ll recognize his work immediately. Since 1994, he has done the annual poster for the New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. Peter’s illustrations have appeared in national magazines, Yankee, Antiques, and Connoisseur. He shared with The Art Place, “In a world that is increasingly complex, impersonal and high-tech, I find myself intrigued with the simple, timeless, and more comprehensible things that often go unnoticed. Having grown up spending all my summers in Wolfeboro, I am drawn to the rural New Hampshire landscape as inspiration for my paintings—the sparkling serenity in the play of evening light across the lake, the simple purity of a white clapboard board in the snow, the warm patina of weathered boathouse shingles, are refreshing to my heart, as I hope they are to yours.”

To The Boathouse

As you look at Peter’s work, you can’t help but notice his mastery of light. At camp, we are also enamored with that play of light and the beautiful New Hampshire landscape. And what about that light? It reminds us that God made this very place with us in mind—we are especially thankful for Peter’s talents, and through his work, we can be reminded of His gift to us, no matter where we are.

This summer, the original watercolors are hanging in the Main Office lobby, and we’d love for you to stop by and see them. Camp prints are available to purchase, please email me. A portion of the proceeds go to the Scholarship Fund.

 

Giclées –  The three watercolors have been made into limited edition giclées, which are museum quality, signed and numbered by Peter. They are are $150 each. Total print size approximately 23” x 17” (image is 19.5” x 13.5”)

There are 8 remaining gicleés of “The Waterfront,” which were made to celebrate Deer Run’s 50th.  These are larger prints (23” x 35”) and the cost is $250.

 

Digital Prints – We also had the paintings reproduced digitally into smaller prints. Each print is $20, or the set of three prints is $50. Print total size 13”x 9.5” (image is 11” x7.5”)

P.S. Also available is a commemorative poster of the Boathouse, to purchase, please email me.

 

 

 

 

Incoming Day 2019

Posted by on June 28, 2019

Incoming Day 2019

by Tim Nielsen, Director of Ministry Services

Yesterday was my first Incoming Day as a staff member at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run. It was a busy day, full of excited (and sometimes nervous) campers and their parents. Staff were fully engaged in cleaning, greeting, conducting swim tests, preparing meals and so much more! Incoming Day is a BIG DEAL!

A Brookwoods camper moving into his cabins

I have spent the last 30 years directing another camp, and I have experienced over 200 Incoming Days. Each camp manages this experience differently. Here are some highlights from my first Brookwoods Incoming Day (as a camper) since 1979.

Worship and Church – Most of the parents missed this part, but I think it is fantastic. Even though the task list was long, the staff schedule included a time of worship and a time in God’s Word in the morning. This is evidence of camp’s commitment to Christ-centered spiritual transformation!

Alumni Luncheon – What a brilliant idea! This luncheon allowed alumni, campers and parents, to reconnect and reflect on their experiences at camp. It also allowed the leadership to share the future hopes and dreams of the ministry!

Deer Run campers on Incoming Day

New Parent Orientation – Dropping your child off at camp for the first time can be a little scary. This gathering allowed new camp parents to personally connect with the Executive Director, Bob Strodel. The question and answer time was educational for the parents and the Executive Director as well!

Excellent Parking Management – How do you fit 181 vehicles in 80 parking spaces? You need attentive staff managing this process! I thought that this was managed so well!

Campers headed to MRO in Maine – We also loaded and shipped out three vans full of campers headed north to Moose River Outpost. It is such a rich blessing to be serving campers on that amazing property.

Great snacks and multiple check-in locations! – Checking in 281 campers takes time. I loved that this was conducted at three different locations in camp. Each of these locations had beautiful trays of cookies and fruit, as well as refreshing drinks! Waiting in line is always better with delicious snacks!

There is always someone ready to play Ga-Ga

A great dinner followed by a HIGH ENERGY Opening Rally! – The first meal of the summer was hot and delicious. We had Thanksgiving Dinner with hand-dipped ice cream for dessert! The Food Service staff knows how to deliver quality! After dinner the kids learned some camp songs, the camp staff were introduced, and the spiritual direction of the session was set! It was an awesome way to welcome the kids and start off the session!

There were a million other details that made the day great! Most importantly, thanks to the Lord for the perfect weather, that really enhanced the experience!

In 2019, Tim joined Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc., but he is not new to Christian Camping. For the last 30 years he directed camps in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As a child, Tim attended camp every summer at Camp Sandy Cove and for a few summers in the 1970s, he attended Brookwoods. Tim attended Houghton College and completed a Masters Degree in Christian Education at Columbia International University in South Carolina. Tim’s wife, Adina, is also passionate about camp. They have two young daughters, Tilba and Dagny, who are happily carrying on the Staff Kid tradition. tim@christiancamps.net