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2017 Scholarship Challenge: Thank you for Your Generosity!

Posted by on July 21, 2017

We Are So Very Grateful for Your Generosity!

In early March, a generous group of Alumni pledged to match every dollar donated to scholarships with a donation to the Inspiration Point Endowment Fund, up to $100,000. If we met this goal by July 23 (Changeover), an additional $60,000 would be donated.

Praise the Lord that by the first day of camp we were thrilled to have met the $100,000 match goal. Our alumni donors then agreed to continue matching donations up to $125,000.  Through the amazing generosity of our donors, we have now reached and exceeded that goal as well!

Thank you!          Thank you!          Thank you!

All totaled, we have grown the scholarship fund by over $185,000 and $218,000 has been donated to the Endowment!  We are humbled and incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to the 2017 Scholarship Challenge — our generous God is reflected in how so many of you gave so generously to this challenge, allowing us to bring more kids to camp today and for generations to come. Each year, approximately one third of our campers depend on financial assistance to attend. We love saying “YES” to those campers!

Thank you so much for giving campers the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel, meet God in His creation, and experience how Christ transforms lives for the Kingdom.

Click this link if you would like to join the many people who have donated to the Scholarship Fund. Donate Here!

“I have made lifelong friends and every summer is a refreshment of my faith and relationship with God. I am grateful for camp and to all the donors who give to camp’s Scholarship Fund…you make a difference because being at camp makes a difference to each one of us” — Scholarship Recipient, Leadership Development Program

 

Jack Lees, a Brookwoods camper from 1947-1955, who has a heart for sharing the gift of camp, is spearheading this effort. He and a group of his “camp buddies” share a desire to bring as many kids as possible to camp. Jack puts it this way in a letter to the camp family:

 

Former Brookwoods friends, Dick Geney, and Jack Lees (right) on a recent visit to Brookwoods.

“When I think back on what my Brookwoods experience meant to me, and how those years at camp set the course for my life, I realize how important it is to help provide that experience to others.

I can’t think of a better investment in the life of a young man or women than to provide the Christian growth experience at camp. The cost of attending camp is a small investment for the life skills, spiritual development, life long friendships and peer support gained during time at camp. When you look further and realize the expansion of that investment over generations, it really blows your mind to the lasting impact. My wife, Linda, and I have been privileged to send our two daughters to camp and now are witnessing the attendance of our four grandchildren. That is a 6 to 1 investment in development in our family alone. Do you know of any other opportunity that has such a high rate of return?

Jack Lees (left) and Peter Bennett, life long friendship started at Brookwoods, and continues through today; despite the differences in the size of their catch!

The past 60 years of my life were successful in part because of my time at Brookwoods. Linda and I are grateful we’ve had the ability to provide that experience to others by giving to the Scholarship Endowment Fund and that these contributions will provide growth experiences for the next generation of campers. I want to encourage you to join us through your gifts to this important fund.”

– Jack Lees

Brookwoods Camper (1947-1955)

Camp Parent (1978-1981)

Camp Grandparent (2016-present)

 

In 2016, over $200,000 was gifted to 200 campers who could not have attended otherwise. We anticipate even greater requests in 2017 for campers who need financial assistance to attend Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost.

 

The Scholarship program is beneficial to all campers because it not only provides a way for kids who need financial assistance to attend, but it also enhances the camp experience for the entire community by bringing children together from different and diverse backgrounds. This broadens the outreach and impact of the ministry as more campers are introduced to a gospel-centered community where lives are transformed for Christ and His kingdom.

 

The Scholarship program is funded by two sources: funds that are designated on an annual basis for that camping season and the Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides annual earnings from this invested fund. Contributions to this fund will benefit both current and future generations of campers.

 

Click here to Double your Donation to bring kids to camp now, and for generations to come.

What does it mean to be a Christian camp?

Posted by on May 9, 2017

bob Bob Strodel, Executive Director

Probably the most asked question from new families who are checking out Brookwoods, Deer Run or Moose River Outpost is “what does it mean to be a Christian camp?” The question is also asked in another manner “what do you do at camp that makes it a Christian camp?” Both questions are understandable. Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, in Massachusetts, recently completed a survey and discovered over 33,800 different church Denominations in the United States and over three million different church congregations. Each congregation is unique with different strengths and abilities. No wonder there might not be a clear understanding for everyone with so many diverse backgrounds!

If you were sitting down in my office for a visit, this is how I would answer your question about Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost.

Our mission at Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost is to introduce people to Jesus Christ in such a compelling fashion that they will come to know Him as Lord and Savior. This basically means we will tell campers about Jesus Christ through Bible studies and our own personal witness, with the hope that they will pursue their own relationship with Christ. The structure of our program, and the kind of staff we hire each summer, reflect that mission. We wish our staff to role model the life and love of Christ to each camper.

The staff that work directly with the campers are selected through an application process involving written paperwork, references, interviews and a background check. If the staff member is responsible for transporting campers on the road, we also do a drivers license check, and they must have a totally clean record for at least 3 years. During the interview we look for more than just good character. We look for staff that are demonstrating actions compatible with our mission statement. For example, we look for staff that are currently enrolled in Bible studies, small groups or other support networks that demonstrate their desire to deepen their relationship with God. Do they attend church or seek out relationships with others who desire to serve God? Do they choose their friends wisely? Do they demonstrate sound judgment and decision-making? We might even ask a prospective staff member a situational question, for example, how would they respond to a camper who wants to accept Jesus as their personal Savior? It is important that each staff member is able to speak to the spiritual questions our campers may ask. Each year we have more staff applicants than we can hire, so the process is selective. While our leadership programs are a natural training ground for future staff members, completion of those programs does not necessarily guarantee a staff position in the future. Because of the low staff turnover rate each year, we can always select the best candidates to fill the limited available positions.

On a daily basis at our camps we do the following formal activities directly related to our mission statement.

  • Once a day we gather for singing of contemporary Christian songs lead by talented staff members. At Moose River Outpost we gather in Moose Hall and at Brookwoods and Deer Run we gather in the outdoor chapel.
  • After singing, all campers and their staff return to the cabins for small group Bible studies. Over one month at camp, topics usually cover some New and Old Testament material, and the topics vary from season to season. This small group study is done in the security of the cabin group, and will last for approximately 45 minutes.
  • At the end of the day, when the campers are in bed, the Counselors will frequently present a short devotional or thought for the day. This might take the form of reading a portion of a C.S. Lewis novel or perhaps simply talking about some of that day’s activities in the context of the morning Bible study.

I would also share with you that we don’t “shove” the Gospel of Jesus down the throats of our campers. It would be wrong as adults and people in authority to manipulate an emotional response out of a camper. You have probably heard stories of religious activities involving public demonstrations of faith, and while there might be a place for that in some circumstances, camp is not that place. We don’t sit around a campfire singing “kumbYah” until every camper has raised his hand. We prefer to simply make the presentation and permit the camper to make a personal decision, not coerced though emotional manipulation or peer pressure.

Since all our camps are located in New England, we often get asked if someone from a Catholic background can attend.  Yes, in fact we have many campers each summer from Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, and non-faith backgrounds who are comfortable with attending our camps. While our non-denominational approach is centered on the historic Christian faith, we are not a denominational camp. We use the 66 book Bible, and our camp philosophy is clearly from an historical Judeo-Christian approach.

Everyone has a different reference frame based on his or her prior experiences. If you are a parent considering sending your child to Brookwoods, Deer Run or Moose River Post, and have questions about some of these topics, please feel free to call me, the Executive Director, at the camp office at 603-875-3600. I’d be thrilled to spend some time with you talking about our great camps!

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.

 

There is still time…

Posted by on December 27, 2016

brookwoodsdeerrun-summer2016-443
There Is Still Time to…
Join The Journey!

One of the most important ways you can impact the lives of campers is by donating to the Annual Fund. (Click here to see our year-end Annual Fund brochure)

When you support camp, you “Join the Journey” as you come alongside campers on their faith journeys as they meet God in his creation and experience love in a Christ-centered community. It is this experience that transforms lives and none of it can be done without your help!

If you have already given—Thank You!

A healthy Annual Fund allows us to maintain and upgrade our programs and facilities and ensure that campers needing financial assistance will be able to attend.

This past summer, we were delighted to gift over $200,000 in scholarships, half of which was covered by donations to the Annual Fund.

Click here to make a donation and help us finish the year in a strong financial position and close the gap in our scholarship fund.

Thank you so much for considering camp in your charitable giving. If Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, or Moose River Outpost has helped you or anyone in your family become more of who you were created to be in Christ, I hope you will “Join the Journey” to give this gift to others today—and for generations to come!

We appreciate your support!

For more information about other options for supporting camp, please contact Ann Higgins, Director of Development or Bob Strodel, Executive Director.

Christmas Reflections — Sarah Piek

Posted by on December 23, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Fall semester has come to a close and many students all over the nation are heading home for Christmas. Today I am one of those students. Just hours ago I finished my last final exam, packed my bags and headed to the airport. I have been anticipating this trip home for well over a month – it has been four months since I have seen some of my closest family and friends and I am thrilled to be spending this special Christmas season with them.

As I sat waiting anxiously for my flight to take off, I observed hundreds of people swarming all about the airport. Like myself, they seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I cannot help but imagine that they too might be heading home for Christmas. Whether it has been days, weeks, months or years since you have last seen your loved ones, there is something extraordinarily exciting about spending Christmas with the ones you love. It’s not called “the most wonderful time of the year” for no reason, right?

But in all honesty, why is this “the most wonderful time of the year?” Without a doubt, part of the reason is this very excitement I witnessed today. Most people deeply desire to be known, loved and cared for. Many people, no matter where they find themselves the other days of the year, seek that kind of love at home, at Christmas, where they can celebrate with their family and friends. I myself am looking forward to being known, loved and cared for through my family traditions, our conversations and of course, cuddles with my dog by the tree this Christmas.

For the Church in particular, this season is also one of “the most wonderful times of the year.” And in fact, for very similar reasons. The season we are in right now is the season of Advent. For weeks now, Christians all over the world have been waiting with joyful anticipation. Not necessarily only for the joy and love of the Christmas season, but additionally, for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! For the past four weeks the whole Church has joined together in anticipating the birth of the One who’s knowledge of us, love for us and care for us is beyond all comprehension. Whether we are people who spend Christmas with our families, as Christians, we truly have a lot to look forward to this time of the year.

As Christmas rapidly approaches this week I am reminded that although I have anticipated this moment for a long time, and although the church has been awaiting the coming of Christ Jesus, this is only the beginning. In just one week, the celebrating will technically be over. Our families will start removing Christmas decorations, there will be no more gifts and no more parties. But fortunately, the joy and hope that came with the coming of Christ this Christmas will still remain.

I want to encourage you to enjoy this season, for it surely is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But I pray that as your Christmas celebrations come to an end you would not stop rejoicing. The monotony of life may pick up again, school will start and everything might be a little less bright, but Christ has come and Christ is with us. Let the joy of his coming usher you into the New Year with the kind of hope that cannot be squashed by changing seasons.

by Sarah Piek – Deer Run pastor, summers 2014 & 2015, Masters of Divinity Student at Princeton Theological Seminary