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In loving memory of Bobbe Hackman

Posted by on January 18, 2019

In loving memory of Bobbe Hackman

July 4, 1922 – December 20, 2018

It is with full and heavy hearts that we remember Eileen “Bobbe” Hackman, our much beloved friend and Deer Run hero. Bobbe served as the first Deer Run Director, from 1964-74. She set Deer Run’s standard for “Camping with Excellence.” Deer Run has evolved since her tenure, but you can find her fingerprints everywhere.

My friendship with Bobbe was one of the highlights of my job. When I first walked into her condo in Wheaton, IL 14 years ago, I had no idea how this lovely and wise Deer Runner would impact me. Life would take me to Chicago once a year and getting on Bobbe’s calendar was always my first priority. I treasured my visits with her; we could have talked for days. I loved her camp stories—the time they did a night hike up Mt. Washington (she admits that this might not have been a great idea) and when it was just girls eating in the Dining Hall. She was happy to hear my camp stories from the 1980s and to look at the current pictures I pulled up on my laptop. Every time I left her house, I thought to myself, “I want to grow up to be just like her.” So confident, so generous, so smart, so thoughtful, and last but not least, stylish‑way more stylish than I ever will be.  We exchanged many notes over the years and I hope that I still have them. She was always happy to take my call. I smiled ear to ear when she sent See’s Candies for my counseling staff the summer I directed Deer Run, and I was overwhelmed when she remembered my 50th birthday.

Close friends with Miles and Grace Strodel from Wheaton College, Bobbe was recruited by Miles in 1951 to be the first girls camp director at Camp Sandy Cove, located in North East, Maryland on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. (At the time, Miles was directing Camp Sandy Hill, the brother camp located 5 miles down the road.) Bobbe directed at Camp Sandy Cove for three summers. After leaving Sandy Cove, it didn’t take her long to get back into camping as she went on to serve as the girls’ program director from 1955-58 at HoneyRock, Wheaton College’s camp, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. While at HoneyRock, Bobbe started the candlelight tradition where campers, holding their candles, walked from the chapel to the pier. There was an anchored boat at the pier, which held a large cross where the campers placed their candles. Gathered around, campers recited verses, shared their testimonies, and sang choruses as the cross was towed across the water by canoes. Bobbe would later go on to serve on HoneyRock’s Board of Directors.

In 1964, Miles and Grace called her again. When Laurence Andreson (Doc A., Brookwoods’ founder and owner) and Uncle Miles started seriously looking for property to start a girls’ camp, Miles told Doc A., “If you‘re going to start a girls camp, the only person you should hire is Bobbe Hackman.” At this point in time, the Strodels had lost touch with Bobbe. They located her in Denver, CO and she agreed to come back east and start Deer Run. Bobbe served through the summer of 1974. She enjoyed the challenge of establishing new programs, activities, and traditions. Bobbe brought the tradition of candlelight campfires to Deer Run that we still enjoy to this day. (In the Deer Run files, there are notes of those sacred campfires down by the water—staff in their canoes at dusk.)

Bobbe’s staff in their Sunday whites. Bobbe is 4th from the left in the front row.

Bobbe was the epitome of class, always wearing “crisp whites” on Sundays to Chapel, (we might argue, she was the first person to be “Staff Sharp”) as well as white gloves for White Glove Inspection. She was known for always being available to talk to her staff and made sure each camper felt welcomed. Bobbe encouraged campers to be creative, to try new things, and to accomplish goals that they never dreamed of attempting. At each session’s closing campfire, she made a point to recognize staff and camper accomplishments alike. As I talked to those who knew her well, one thing in particular came up several times—they deeply admired her and also wanted to be like her. She was professional, authentic, full of class and grace, thoughtful, and hard working.

Bobbe was dedicated to education and learning. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College in 1944 and received her Master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania, both in the field of Physical Education. She started a doctoral program, but gave it up to spend her summers working at Deer Run. Her teaching career included Denver Public Schools, Assistant Professor at Wheaton College, and she served as an Associate Professor at Elmhurst College (IL) for nearly 30 years. Bobbe was not only the Chair of the Health and Physical Education Departmentat Elmhurst, but she also coached the women’s basketball team to a winning season in 1972-73 (10-4).

Over the years, she enjoyed photography, listening to jazz, bird watching, playing tennis, sailing her Daysailer on Lake Winnipesaukee, crossword puzzles, and travel. As a life-long learner, Bobbe enjoyed engaging conversation on nearly any topic.

Throughout her life, Bobbe was motivated and sustained by her faith in Christ and her unwavering trust in the love and goodness of her Lord.  She will be greatly missed by her friends, neighbors and family. I’m thankful to have known her. Her shining example and love for me will live in my heart forever.

Eileen “Bobbe” Hackman was born July 4, 1922 in Coopersburg, PA and joined her heavenly Father on December 20, 2018 at the age of 96. If you would like to make a donation to camp in her memory, here is the link.

 

Melissa Yonan is the Director of Alumni Relations for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost, since 2005. First arriving at Deer Run in 1982, she can name the Deer Run Directors in order! These days she is busy planning Brookwoods’ 75th Anniversary. If you have camp stories you’d like to tell, she’d love to hear them, contact her here.

Epiphany

Posted by on January 11, 2019

What Is the Epiphany and How Do I Celebrate It?

Craig Higgins

“I’ve had an epiphany!” Have you ever heard someone say that? I don’t know that I’ve ever said it, but I’ve felt that way—the excitement of new insight breaking through my thick head! An epiphany is a manifestation—a disclosure of something not previously fully seen. For Christians, the Epiphany is a festival day—and an entire season—in the traditional worship calendar. And what we celebrate is God’s full disclosure of His love for the whole world.

The Epiphany is celebrated on January 6—the first day after (yes, just like the song) the Twelve Days of Christmas. The focus is the visit of the Magi, the Wise Men of Matthew 2. In some places, this is the day (sometimes called Three Kings Day) on which gifts are exchanged, remembering the gifts brought by the Magi to the Christ Child.

Remember: The Wise Men were Gentiles, the first non-Jewish people to worship Jesus! This event, therefore, is an epiphany of God’s love for the whole world—the revelation that Jesus is not only the Messiah of Israel, but the King and Savior of all the nations of the earth. The Epiphany season then lasts from January 6 until Ash Wednesday.

 

Celebrating Epiphany

First, don’t cut Christmas short; celebrate all twelve days! In our house, we set up our creche well before Christmas—but baby Jesus doesn’t appear in the manger until Christmas Eve. Similarly, our three Wise Men start on the other side of the room and only make their appearance on the Epiphany!

Do something special on January 6. One tradition is to bake a King Cake, in which some trinket is hidden. Whoever gets the trinket wins a small prize—which could be a book, or simply the privilege of not doing the dishes!

Last—and most importantly—the entire Epiphany Season is a time to focus on the church’s global mission. Matthew’s Gospel opens with Gentiles worshiping the Christ Child, and closes with Jesus sending His church to make disciples of all the nations. So, during the Epiphany season:

  • pray for missionaries, especially those in distant or difficult places.
  • pray for the mission of the church—including the mission of camp!
  • consider ways that you can make a special offering in support of the church’s mission.

Maybe you’ve known about the Epiphany for years; maybe this celebration is new to you. In any case, why not make it a part of your year? After all, don’t we all need to be reminded of God’s amazing love for the whole world?

Dr. Craig Higgins is the founding and senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Westchester suburbs of New York City. Whenever possible, however, he is at camp, where his nametag reads “Resident Theologian.” His wife, Ann, serves year-round as camp’s Director of Development. They have three young adult children, all three of whom were campers, and all have been either LDPs, on staff, or both. You can find him on email, craighiggins@trinitychurch.cc

Your Story: Winter Reunion

Posted by on January 4, 2019

Your Story: Winter Reunion 2019

As I reflect on the Brookwoods and Deer Run Winter Reunion, I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of it. Approximately 130 campers and staff attended, ranging from campers, full-time staff, summer staff, LDP, SALT, and WILD. I attribute the success of the Winter Reunion to the Lord and thank Him for how He faithfully blesses the ministry of Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost.

“Your Story,” was our weekend theme, a spin off of the Toy Story movies. The supporting scripture was Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—.” Craig Higgins, former Brookwoods Camp Pastor, camper bible study author, and Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Purchase, NY, was our guest speaker.

Craig communicated that our individual stories are important because they help us understand where we come from and that our stories are significant. As followers of Jesus, our story is God’s story—the story of Jesus Christ: Christ the Savior is born, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. But wait, the story does not end there, our story is a RESCUE story. The salvation story of what God has done through Jesus is an amazing story of incredible love, forgiveness, liberation, and resurrection. This is the story that defines my story, and your story. Because of God’s amazing grace, we have the freedom to live out our stories. We are free to worship, to live missionally-minded, and to live NEW lives. As we remember who wrote our story, we are empowered to go out into the broken world, to love all sorts of people, just as Jesus did, and to ultimately live out God’s story.

Whether it was building gingerbread houses, tubing, broomball, playing games with friends, lip syncing across the stage, or fellowshipping around the bonfire, campers and staff had an uplifting time at Winter Reunion. As 2018 came to a close, this was the charge we all needed. Not only are we ready for 2019, we’re counting down the days until Incoming Day where we can continue to empower campers and staff to live out their stories, as God intended us to do.

Blessings to you in 2019,

Ben Tabone

P.S. To see a video clip from Winter Reunion click here!

Ben pictured far right, Glen Boulder Trail, Pinkham Notch

Ben Tabone serves on our full-time staff and is looking forward to his second summer serving as Brookwoods Co-Director. He spent many summers at Northern Frontier camp in New York’s Adirondacks and more recently on staff at Camp Spofford in Keene, NH. ben@christiancamps.net

 

 

 

 

Winter Reunion 2018

Posted by on December 30, 2018

Season’s greetings campers,

Have you been missing camp lately?

Well then you should have joined up at the recent Winter Reunion.

Here is the video of the event:

You also missed out on these cool shirts……

A Christmas Eve Pageant

Posted by on December 24, 2018

For years, whenever Christmas pageants are talked about in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to mention Wallace Purling. Wally’s performance in one particular production of the annual Nativity play has slipped into the realm of legend. The old-timers who were in the audience never tire of recalling the evening’s events.

Wally was nine and in the second grade, though he should have been in fourth grade. Most people knew that he had difficulty keeping up. He was big and awkward, and a little slow in movement and mind.

Still, Wally was well liked by the other children in his class, all of whom were smaller than him—though the boys had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which winning was important.

They’d find a way to keep Wally out, but he would hang around anyway—not sulking, just hoping. Wally was always helpful, willing and smiling. He was also the protector, paradoxically, of the underdog. If the older boys chased the younger kids away, Wally would say, “Can’t they stay? They’re no bother.”

Wally fancied the idea of being a shepherd in the Christmas pageant, but the play’s director, Miss Lumbard, assigned him a more important role. After all, she reasoned, the innkeeper did not have too many lines, and Wally’s size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.

And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience gathered for the town’s yearly extravaganza of crooks and creches, beards, crowns, halos, and a full stage of squeaky voices.

No one on or off stage was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wallace Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that Miss Lumbard had to make sure he didn’t wander onstage before his cue.

Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked hard on the set’s painted wooden door. Wally the innkeeper was there, waiting.

“What do you want?” Wally said, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.

“We seek lodging.”

“Seek it elsewhere.” Wally spoke vigorously. “The inn is filled.”

“Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary.”

“There is no room in this inn for you.” Wally looked properly stern.

“Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired.”

Now, for the first time, the innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.

“No! Begone!” the prompter whispered.

“No!” Wally repeated automatically. “Begone!”

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband’s shoulder and the two of them started to walk away. The innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however. Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears.

And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.

“Don’t go, Joseph,” Wally called out. “Bring Mary back.” And Wallace Purling’s face grew into a bright smile. “You can have my room.”

Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined. Yet there were others—many, many others, who considered it the most Christmas of all Christmas pageants they had ever seen.

Merry Christmas from the Staff at Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost.

Luke 2: 9-14: “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”

 

Bob Strodel is currently serving as the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. Bob and Debbie have been at camp since 1994 and enjoy seeing Camp’s third generation of campers become a part of the camp family.   bob@christiancamps.net