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Thinking about NEXT summer…..

Posted by on September 14, 2017

bob Bob Strodel, Executive Director

I’m sure that some families still MIGHT have a few more piles of camp laundry left, or perhaps a daypack or bag which contains a few pair of socks or a candy bar wrapper from a trip to the camp store.  School has started and families are getting into the pattern of daily routines with sports, friends and new events.

Who has time to think about NEXT summer?

You do!

Last year we had waiting lists at Brookwoods and Deer Run.    Moose River Outpost set an attendance record and we even added a new cabin to accommodate the demand.   I would encourage you to get signed up for camp NOW so you will have a spot reserved for incredible adventure and fun.

The link to the online registration page is:  https://www.christiancamps.net/camps/register-for-camp/

We offer existing families the first opportunity to pick your favorite session, before they are filled, so please don’t wait to enroll.

Investing in Your Kids

Posted by on May 7, 2017

bobBob Strodel, Executive Director

The last nine years have not been pleasant for those involved in the financial sector or those who have new issues with their home mortgages. Areas of the economy that have been fairly predictable have experienced a level of unprecedented uncertainty. For those who have investments, the best advice seemed to be not to open up those window envelopes filled with disappointing statements; just throw them in the drawer and hopefully stocks will rebound from today’s loss.

A few years ago we had a family donate stock to our organization from a very reputable and highly rated insurance firm. I’m thankful they made the donation when they did since the stock price went from well over $20 down to $1.58 per share. Seven months previously this stock was a “strong buy” and now it is worth less than a roll of toilet paper! This illustrates the critical importance of timing involved with investments; what was good 7 months ago has lost its current appeal.

One of the largest investments we make in life, and in the future, is the raising of our children. The United States Department of Agriculture tried to determine the “average” cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 17.  The department looked at several areas: housing, food, transportation, health care, childcare and education. Without going into great detail (you can read the study on the Department of Agriculture web site) the “average cost” of raising a child came out to $300,000. Housing makes up approximately 1/3 of that number; but still, it was staggering to see the bottom-line conclusion. Call me biased, but I believe that one of the best and safest investments you can make is in sending your child to camp. Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, while delivering a recent keynote address to a large conference of camping professionals said, “ No matter what the background of a child, camp opens doors, exposing children to possibilities and opportunities they might never know could be theirs. Camp transports kids with everything to a place where they have close to nothing. In so doing, it takes kids away from things they value, to teach them the things of real value.”

Camp is a temporary summer community involving an outdoor environment, with a child-centered program, safely conducted by trained leaders. Investments at Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost also provide important spiritual objectives. The temporary community is created away from the normal distractions of life. It is amazing the “noise” we have to deal with from the television, iPods, Xboxes and cell phones. Sharing a cabin with others includes responsibilities and learning to respect each other and their property. When issues arise, campers have an opportunity to become more independent by resolving problems without the help of Mom and Dad.

The outdoor setting is a great place for that community because it is safe, healthy and provides openness and conversation as campers learn real life skills. To provide a great support network at our camps, we strive to hire a staff that possess character, and we train them to share their skills and their faith with the campers. Faith is the core of our camp experience. The spiritual objective is to point the campers on a journey of a lifetime by creating the desire, the will, and the ability to follow Jesus.

 

Love your neighbor

Posted by on February 9, 2017

In loving memory of Don Byker

At Brookwoods and Deer Run, we are blessed beyond measure to have such supportive and caring neighbors. Not everyone wants to live next to 300 campers: think cabin nights/noise, Changeover/unusual traffic for those that live around the corner from Camp on Damon Drive. You’ve probably seen the “Woodland Waters” sign many times, with the names of the families… that also call Chestnut Cove “Home.

Of course, this camp story starts before Don and Wyn built their house on Damon Drive. Miles Strodel was serving as Gordon College’s Athletic Director and Wyn was Gordon’s Women’s Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach. Miles, Brookwoods’ Director, had a particularly good sense for people and their talents; he invited Wyn to be the Brookwoods’ archery instructor. Her first summer was 1979. Even though Wyn was technically the one with the “summer camp job,” Don was her biggest supporter, helping set up and take down the range every summer, and everything in between. It was Don who insisted that Deer Run needed more shooting room and a much larger shed. He built that shed and would have cut down most of the trees if we had let him. Everyone that knew Wyn, knew Don, because they were a team, best friends, married for 58 ½ years. He loved her with all his heart and was by her side for everything.

Born in Iowa, raised in Michigan, Don became a New Englander, at the same time as having one foot (if not two) in the Philippines. With a lifelong passion for education, he taught at Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, MI and then as a professor at Calvin College and Harvard University (PhD from Univ. of Michigan). Most of us are more familiar with Don’s entrepreneurial side, first as a business consultant at Boston’s Bain & Company and then Don co-founded Affinity Industries in Ossipee, NH in 1990. Don “retired” in 2001 and co-founded Dignity Business Partners in 2010. Retire? Our guess is that he has never worked harder or tirelessly than with Dignity and the Community Transformation Plant (Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay Philippines) a missions-oriented business designed to create meaningful jobs and high-quality exportable products that can transform the lives of the people in the Philippines’ Bicol region.

Let’s get back to the neighbors. God calls us to LOVE our neighbor (Mark 12:31). Don modeled this kind of love, God’s love, daily, for all of us. He did this immeasurably. I’m thankful for the love he put into our Leadership Development Program campers, as they worked side by side on Habitat for Humanity projects in Carroll County, Camp’s neighboring county. Don practiced selfless, humble and effective service to the world’s poor and forgotten. His heart for the Philippines is so deep, you could not count the number of people that he touched there, from the Grace Christian Mission School down the road from the Dignity processing plant, to the GCM school in Boso Boso, outside of Manila. I can’t say it better than Don’s Dignity partner and friend Stephen Freed, “It would be difficult to overstate how fully he reflected the character of Jesus, and how deeply he loved and helped so very many of us. How profoundly he will be missed by so many.” And the same is true for our Camp family. Don showed us what it looks like when you share God’s love.

Don is survived by his wife Wyn, his children, and grandchildren: son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Ingrid Byker and his son-in-law and daughter-in-law Guy and Patience Wood. His grandchildren, Thomas and Helen Wood, have all spent many summers at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run. Wendy Byker Wood, Don and Wyn’s daughter born in 1960, has been in heaven since 1998.

A service to celebrate Don’s life will be held Saturday February 18th at 2:00 pm at First Christian Church of Ossipee, NH (50 Route 16B Center Ossipee).

In lieu of flowers, Don would wish for contributions to be made to the Scholarship Fund for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run’s, and Moose River Outpost.

Donate to Scholarships Here.

or

Dignity Coconuts

www.dignitycoconuts.com/donbyker

I’m so very thankful to have had this neighbor, this friend, this mentor, and this brother in Christ. We will miss you.

If you want to send a note to Wyn, you can send an email to wyn.byker@gmail.com or send a card:

Wyn Byker

159 Damon Drive
Alton, NH 03809