Here’s the Bethel Camp Times — Fall Edition 2019.
It all started in the early summer of ’09. I remember it literally like it was yesterday. I remember how nervous I was, going to a camp ALONE, with no friends, just me. I was at the great age of 10 years old. My mom and dad brought me. They stood in line with me for registration, and helped me make my way up to the top cabin. I nervously waved goodbye, and prepared myself for a life changing week at camp.
I always watched movies where the kids would go to camps, and have the most amazing time. And I expected nothing less. Not only was it similar to those camps, it was 1000x better. The food was amazing, the games were so much fun, the counselors and staff were awesome! But it still felt like something was missing amidst all that. And on Thursday night of that week, I realized what it was.
As Katie and the worship team played “Ocean Floor” that night, (it still blows my mind that I can still remember all these details), I remember an altar call happening. I remember seeing friends I had made that week go off with their counselors and talk. So I finally built up the courage to go with my counselor, Esther, and talked. I got saved on that hot, summer night. And my life has been changed since!
So, for the time in between, I would come to my week of camp as a camper from ages 10-16. But! The summer I turned 16, (the age old enough to counsel), I decided to finally do it. I felt God was calling me to serve Him in ways I never knew possible. Through the campers I was counseling, the staff I was working and growing along side of, and through being at one of the most amazing places on earth, I fell more in love with God. I have worked as a counselor, kitchen staff, and photographer all these years. And also becoming part of the “Camp Fam”.
Now, i’m 20, (turning 21 this summer), and working at camp in the office part time, while I go to college. My dad also helps out and does a few maintenance jobs for camp, which is a blessing! This summer coming up will be my 10th year involved with camp! Where has time gone? In these 10 years, I have gone through more than I imagined. I realized more about me and my faith. I always thought when I was younger, that I had to be perfect for God. And that I was not allowed to mess up. But I have learned throughout the years that God loves you, even if I was still that lost person. And I realized He is a God who doesn’t care how far you have ran, he just wants you to come back home to Him. So, I can’t wait to see what my 10th year here brings and see how God works in my life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my favorite camp, and all the kids that will be impacted by His amazing love!
Bethel Camp Fall Newsletter 2018
Most of you probably got a copy already, but I thought we could post it on here in case some of you missed the newsletter!
The clap of thunder rang through my ears as I watched the wall of rain slam onto the ground. Team games were in thirty minutes and I had just tacked all the activities onto the board. The Recreation Director, Auxiliary staff and I looked at each other and realized we had to pull together a new plan for team games…and quickly.
If you’ve ever been at camp when one of our lovely Kentucky summer storms hit, you know this feeling. It’s that moment when you realize your plan isn’t working and you need a new one.
The Kitchen staff graciously let us clear out the tables in the dining hall to set up our game. Counselors and campers helped us stack tables and chairs. The Auxillary staff helped us set the “field” for team games. Soon everything was set and we were ready to start! The teams did a great job playing the game as if we were out on the field, yet cautious enough to keep everyone and everything safe inside. The game ended well and much fun was had. We were all grateful the storm didn’t ruin the fun!
That’s one thing I have always appreciated about working at Bethel Camp. No matter how the day goes, or whatever circumstances happen, everyone is able to think quickly and find ways to work everything out. No one sees themselves higher or lower than the other, we just want to be there for each other. Our goal is to serve one another, have fun, and learn to love like Jesus.
Bethel Camp community (aka “Camp Fam”) has always done a great job reflecting what the Body of Christ is like. We celebrate, mourn, challenge, and grow together as one big community that simply desires to have fun and grow in Christ. Even in those times when sudden summer storms hit us, we know that we can depend on each other to make camp work and have a good time.
Thank you staff, campers, volunteers, board members, donors, prayer warriors, all of you who participate in many ways with camp for all you do. You are awesome members of our “Camp Fam” 🙂
Sometimes life gets so busy and suddenly you’re going through the motions of life, forgetting to live intentionally, forgetting where your identity lies. This weekend of Fall Retreat was the perfect way to slow down and to realign ourselves with God: to be reminded once more of how big God’s love for us is, how trustworthy his plans are, how wonderful his grace is. The chapel times were a great reminder of these truths as well as the energetic worship times full of dancing and loud singing as we lifted our praises to God. Through chapel, worship, and discussion times we shut up some lies and absorbed a lot of truth.
The rest of the weekend included many fun activities. We participated in fall activities like pumpkin carving (praying constantly that God would guide the campers hands with the knives so as to keep everyone’s fingers intact), a fun hayride, and various hikes. One of my favorite hikes was the first night as we walked around in the dark with flashlights and would occasionally have everyone turn off the flashlights and simply listen to the sounds of nature. It was a good reminder of how intricately God has created nature, also a reminder of how full of energy and joy middle-schoolers are. Sunday morning we woke up bright and early before the sun and made our way up a hill where we sang songs and listened to God’s word as the sun rose.
We also played Capture the Flag and Dare Base as a camp. We played Capture the Flag in the dark, with only a few scraped up legs from tumbling down hills as the guys stole the girls’ flags and eventually won the game. Everyone was very ready for showers and sleep after that game.
What a blessing it was to be able to come and serve alongside Bethel Camp as counselors for the weekend. Being a part of the Fall Retreat was truly refreshing.
-The REACH team
The first time I remember helping out at Bethel Camp was with worship in the Old Chapel. The worship leader needed someone to help move the over-head transparencies during the music. I really don’t remember if I was “volun-told” or I volunteered. Either way, it happened and suddenly music, worship, and camp started to get a hold of me.
I’ve been helping out at Bethel Camp as a staff member since 2005. I’ve grown so much at this place and it has become a home to me. This summer was the first where I wasn’t there the entire time. It was weird. Instead of all summer staff, I became a visitor and spectator. I didn’t get to join in on all the campfires, shaving cream fights, or late worship nights. It was a transition I wasn’t sure I’d been handling well.
But just as the seasons transition, we have to as well. This summer I realized that I was transitioning into a “back-stage” view of camp. Though it wasn’t comfortable at first, God showed me a lot about gracefully (but still sometimes awkwardly) going from one season into the next.
This summer as a “visitor”, I actually got several chances to still help out at camp when I could. I was able to help with worship, recreation, behind-the-scenes auxiliary stuff, and even just hanging out with staff for some mutual encouragement! Being in the background made me realize how much I like it. Just like when I was asked to move the overhead slides when I was younger, I’ve realized how much I just love to help. I love being flexible to help out with worship, helping team games, cleaning up, etc. All of those things bring me joy in doing. I didn’t always get a chance to connect with the campers, or be in any “big summer moments”, but it was good to hear about them and watch other staff grow in their own experiences. Suddenly my transitional summer didn’t seem so bad. It became a good growing place.
Today is the first of Fall. Summer is officially over and now we’re waiting to see if the weather is going to follow the correct season or not. I took a walk around camp today to look at all the new things coming. We’re getting a new cabin, our chapel porch is looking fantastic, and we’re getting ready for the fall retreats! The leaves are starting to change and fall, covering the footsteps of summer staff and campers. The building projects are happening, the new season is beginning and Bethel Camp I believe, is transitioning well into it!
Thanks to all the staff and campers who made this summer awesome. Thank you to all the work teams, donors, and volunteers who have worked incredibly to make camp grow. Thank You, Heavenly Father for being good and faithful in our transitions.
Please continue to pray for Bethel Camp and thank you so much for your support!
If you are wanting to register for one of the fall retreats, you can download a registration form at:
The chimney and fireplace were completed before camp this summer.
One of the work groups who came in August started on the porch awning over the front dining hall doors and Samuel Short just finished it this week. You can also see the retaining wall which was installed by another of the work groups who came in August.
A 5th girls cabin was added this spring, and used during a couple of the summer camps.
Three different work groups came this spring to help us get that cabin ready in time for camp this summer. In the following picture you will see the location for the ADA cabin that we are planning to build before camp time next summer. It will mostly be used as a boys cabin, but if needed could provide accomodation for campers with physical disabilities since its location won’t require a hike up the hill. You will also notice the awesome smoker that was used to do the chicken for our benefit auction and the new 54″ zero-turn John Deere lawnmoer that is making our lawn mowing easier and faster.
And though some of the scenery may change, the heart of Bethel Camp is still to see young people meet Jesus and experience hope in a vibrant relationship with the God of the universe who personally knows their name!
Camp counselors play a distinct role in the summer camp setting. They are the leaders. Mentors. Mediators. Parents-away-from-home. And they can be some of the most influential people in a young person’s life. Whether it’s teaching kids how to make friendship bracelets, playing in the pool with hundreds of wild campers, or having deep conversations,…
Mark and Mary have been serving as camp resource people since before I (Roger) got involved with camp. We appreciate so much the way they invest in the lives of campers and staff alike. Mark has been doing morning devotionals, so if you want to get a “fill of the word” early each morning, join him for that. Above is a link to the devotional he did at the end of 2016. I hope you enjoy.
Many of you already got this in your regular mail box, but I wanted to get an online copy up on the web for people to see (and see it all in color!)