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Man Camp 2019

Posted by on March 19, 2019

Man Camp is coming!

Another year is flying by and the winter is moving on as quickly as it came. Before you know it, the snow and ice will be a mere memory, the flowers will be blooming, and the 75th Anniversary of Camp Brookwoods will be upon us. This is an iconic year for camp and there is a lot to do in order to prepare for this upcoming summer. We need your help to do so! Let’s start this summer off the best and most manly way possible in order to pave the way for this big year so we can ensure that our campers have their best summer yet!

Save the date, spread the word, and join the herd on May 3rd-5th for Man Camp 2019! Scroll down to register.

We have a big list of projects for Man Camp this year and we will be doing things a bit differently so that we can plan ahead and make the most of our time. View the Man Camp Work list 2019 and then tell us what your top two are on our registration form.

Please contact Greg to ask questions or to indicate any specialty skill sets you have as well as any tools that you can bring! Thank You!

Schedule:

Friday
6:00 p.m. Arrival
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:45 p.m. Welcome
8:15 p.m. Worship/Teaching

Saturday
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Worship/Teaching
9:00-12:30p.m. Project Time
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:00-5:30 p.m. Project Time
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Worship/Teaching
7:30 p.m. Ice Cream- JJ’s Cafe

Sunday
7:30 a.m. Breakfast Cookout
8:30 a.m. Worship/Teaching
9:30 a.m. Weekend Review/Project time
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Finish projects or head home

*** If working on Friday interests you, please let us know! Lunch will be provided to you.

Here is a short list of what to expect:

• Being encouraged spiritually as a group of men who gather together
• Spend time with new and old camp friends
• Plan on eating great food
• Bring your own bedding
• Bring any specialty tools you own and want to use

Man Camp Registration

  • *shirts will be adult sizes

The Colors of Camp

Posted by on March 15, 2019

The Colors of Camp

by Sarah Cohen, Program Director

Regardless of which years each of us spent at camp, I bet similar colors and scenes come to mind when we reflect on our time there. I can close my eyes and picture the black, blue, red, and yellow rings of an archery target, set against the backdrop of lush green trees. Or at the waterfront I see the weathered white of the H-pier and the classic red, white and blue sails of the sunfish, filling Chestnut Cove.  Up at the Craft Shop there is a beige layer of sawdust on the floor and fresh white ceramics lining the walls. On the front lawn I see a neon, spray painted model rocket launching high into the bright blue sky.

Rocket launch on the Front Lawn

Our activities are colorful in nature, but they are also colorful in variety. Just as a balanced diet of different foods is important for our health, a balance of rich learning experiences is healthy for our children. Camp is a wonderful, non-committal environment to try new things. If something piques your interest, you can do it again, working towards mastery of your goals and earning awards. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other choices to try out next! How many of us have tried something for the first time at camp and then went on to pursue it as a lifelong hobby?

At Brookwoods and Deer Run, campers sign up every weekend for three new activities for the following week. It’s a crazy, loud, somewhat overwhelming process as campers try to decide what they want to take, when they want to take it, and with whom. There are certain activities that always fill up right away.  Wyn Byker consistently has a long, very straight line for Archery.

Aiming straight in ArcheryWomen of the Wild practice wilderness skillsNew pajama pants made in Sewing

The campers signing up for wake-boarding and waterskiing form a rowdier clump, but are just as enthusiastic. Some of the popular activities are ones you might not expect, and every summer it seems to be a different trend. Junior Unit campers can’t get enough of Women of the Wild or Boys of the Backwoods, an introductory nature exploration and wilderness skills class. Volleyball has been incredibly popular in recent years, especially at Deer Run. Two summers ago the entire Bear cabin wanted to take Sewing!  They made themselves pajama pants and many of them were sporting those pants the following summer, as LDP 1s. As you can imagine, cake decorating is another new and desired activity, and not just because campers get to eat their work! Summer after summer, the couches of Moose Hall are filled as John Harutunian reads C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books.

God created a beautiful and vibrant world for us to enjoy. As His children, we are just as unique and varied in our gifts and abilities. I have great joy in watching campers not only learn about God’s love, but also experiencing who God made them to be as they embrace challenges and celebrate their accomplishments.

Sarah Cohen loves her job as the Brookwoods and Deer Run Program Director. Other jobs she’s held at camp include Whitetail counselor, Junior Unit Director, and LDP counselor. Sarah is a former 2nd grade teacher, now stay-at-home mom who brings her whole crew to camp every summer! She is mom to three future campers, Jacqueline (5), Paul (2), and Audrey (5 months). Jacqueline loves breakfast cookout and can be found “selling” free sticks or painted rocks by the Eagle. George Bowling calls Sarah “Crash.” You’ll have to ask her why at Brookwoods 75th!  If you have questions about camp contact Sarah here!

 

3 Ways Into a Holy Lent

Posted by on March 8, 2019

3 Ways Into a Holy Lent

by Matthew Kozlowski, alumnus

Most Christian holidays have joyful greetings: Merry Christmas! Happy Easter! But as for Lent…not so much. I’ve never had someone wish me a “Happy Lent”. This 40-day season before Easter is unique. Yes there is joy, but the deep meaning of Lent is found in prayer, self-reflection, and growing closer to Jesus.

Ok, so Lent might not be the most fun season of the Christian year. But think of it this way: Lent is like the camp worship song “Days of Elijah”— it’s coming whether or not you’re ready.

How might you live into a holy Lent this year? Here are three suggestions:

1. Take an Inventory
As a Brookwoods counselor, I remember the last days of camp when we cleaned and put everything away. All supplies had to be counted, whether they were sailboats or Nerf balls. What was missing? What was in good condition?

In Lent, we do the same thing, but with our spiritual lives. We take inventory, asking: What’s bringing me closer to God? What’s drawing me away? What don’t I need anymore? What’s broken? What’s working well? This process may sting a bit, but it can also feel really good—especially, if we ask God for the grace to be honest and the strength to make changes.

2. Consider Others First

The 40 days of Lent mirror the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, fasting, praying, and resisting the devil. Notice how Satan tempted Jesus to do miracles that were self-centered tricks: feed yourself by turning stones into bread…jump from a height and be caught by angels. Jesus refused. He knew that his power was mainly for the sake of others. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).

In Lent, we follow Christ’s example by considering others before ourselves. Be generous, not just with money, but with time and intention. Write a card, send an uplifting text, or take an extra minute to call. A friend of mine once said that Brookwoods was the first place he knew where people asked, “How are you?” and really meant it. That’s the kind of spiritual generosity we can practice in Lent.

3. Give Something Up, for the Right Reasons

It may be old-fashioned, but I still give something up for Lent. Some people give up chocolate, or Facebook, or the snooze button. This is good. But it’s important to ask: what’s the point? If the goal is self-improvement, I think we miss the mark. Lent should not be a 40-day diet or self-help program.

Instead, Lent is a time to grow closer to Jesus Christ, full stop. Giving something up helps us focus on Jesus, and lean on Him. Think of it this way, when you remove something from your life, how will you fill that empty space? A wise minister told me that when he fasts, he prays for the Holy Spirit to fill him. The Spirit always shows up—you can count on it. Just like “Days of Elijah” showing up at the end of camp worship—you count on it.

The Rev. Matthew Kozlowski is an associate priest at All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, MD. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Danielle, and two daughters. “Koz” was a counselor at Brookwoods and Moose River between 2002-2005, where he taught sailing and wrote mildly amusing skits for the Staff Special. matthew.koz@gmail.com

 
 
 

Operation Valentine

Posted by on March 1, 2019

Operation Valentine

by Melissa Yonan, Alumni Director

Feb 2019, rolling and cutting out cookies

When I was an undergraduate student at Indiana University in the 1980s, my second semester highlight was the Valentine’s Day package that arrived from Hope Church (Wilton, CT). Moms would collect smallish boxes for weeks and bake dozens and dozens of cookies. They met in the Fellowship Hall before Valentine’s Day and put their assembly line to work. Every college student at church got one of those loved-filled packages. Sharing these cookies with my friends and the simple act of being remembered was priceless.

While I was living in Washington, DC, I invited several friends to come over and make cookies for Valentine’s. Our cookies were going all different directions. One friend was putting a care package together for her boyfriend’s young daughter, another baked for her niece and nephew in Colorado, and another baked for one of her pediatric cancer patients. My packages were destined for college campuses, to the Deer Runners, women I first came to know as Junior Unit campers and had mentored when they were on staff.

Since our inaugural Operation Valentine in 2007, Camp has sent 1,157 care packages to our college-aged Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost alumni who have attended camp for many summers. We started small in 2007. I invited my Bible Study (in Washington, DC) to come up to camp to bake cookies. They bought plane tickets, flew up, and the rest is history. None of us will ever forget it (Hello, sundae bar). Set up in the “New Wing,” we rolled out cookies, assembled our heart shaped cookie cutters, sprinkled colored sugar, and baked away. It was a precious time for each of us and together as a group: camping out in the Loon, hanging out by the fire in the Dining Hall, and snowshoeing out to Plum Island.

Cookies…cookies…
and MORE Cookies!

We put Operation Valentine in the Weathervane, and shortly thereafter, an alumna contacted me and said, “I want to come to Cookie Camp!” Of course this should be an alumni program! Since then, Deer Run alumnae and camp moms spend the weekend at camp, making hundreds of homemade Valentine cards, baking over 3,000 sugar cookies (hearts, deer, moose, and trout), and assembling boxes with devotionals and candy. To all who have been a part of Cookie Camp and Operation Valentine over the years, bakers and postage donors, THANK YOU! We “love” and “like” the social media thank you’s students post after they get their packages. It’s more than homemade cookies, or the cheesy camp one-liner, “We miss you s’more,” it’s about the act of being remembered, and that the Lord, their God, is the real deal when it comes to LOVE.

P.S. I’m beyond thrilled that one of my friends from the 2007 Cookie Camp (DC friends) sent her son to Brookwoods for the first time last summer. How awesome is that? I think he liked the sundae bar, too.

Melissa Yonan, Alumni Director

Melissa (pictured far right, in 2007 with her DC Bible Study) has been a part of the camp family since 1982 and has been the Director of Alumni Relations since 2005. She can name all the past Deer Run Directors in order! She is responsible for our vast alumni network and serves as Editor for the camp newsletter, The Weathervane, as well as the Director for our annual Alumni Camp weekend. These days she is busy planning for the Brookwoods’ 75th Anniversary. If you have camp stories you’d like to tell, she’d love to hear them, contact her here.

 

 

The Waitlist

Posted by on February 22, 2019

The Waitlist

by Bob Strodel, Executive Director

This is a true story, but the names have been changed…

In September your daughter Wendy gets her Deer Run re-enrollment in the mail, along with a fun “cabin picture.” The picture now adorns her dresser. As she delivers the camp application to you, she asks if she can please return to Deer Run next summer. “Of course, Honey, I’m glad you had a great time at camp—let me have the application and when I get to work on Monday, I’ll send it in.”  Happy daughter sets off to immediately text her friends that she can’t wait to see them at Deer Run, and the application goes into your briefcase for Monday’s to-dos.

Fast forward to December, three days after Christmas. Your spouse calls you at work and says, “I called Deer Run today to update Wendy’s cabin mate preference and she’s not registered. Wendy said you sent it in…back in September? And the bad news is that her session is full with a waitlist. I’m a bit concerned.” Your heart rate accelerates as you look down into your briefcase and discover Wendy’s camp application, tucked behind paperwork. You immediately panic as you imagine the tears of frustration and disappointment that await you.

 Welcome to the waitlist! Between Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, camp only has 344 camper beds. When registrations have filled these beds for each particular session, a waitlist is established. Names are recorded and placed in a first-come, first-serve basis. When a bed becomes available through a cancellation, our wonderful registrar, Dorothy Legro, will start at the top of the list and offer the space to the next camper.

Why do we have a waitlist and why can’t camp make more space? Actually, in the past 25 years, camp has grown to accommodate additional campers. Not only have we physically added new cabins, but also we added a whole new camp, Moose River Outpost! The Board of Directors ultimately decided that in order to maintain an excellent quality camp, we needed to limit the number of campers in each cabin and have capped the number of cabins at each camp.

When will I know if a spot opens up? We are totally dependent on cancellations to open up spots, so it is impossible to predict. If your child is #3 on the list, your chances are better than if they are #30.

How to avoid the waitlist?  Sign up early! We have families too, and we understand that you may not know your family’s summer schedule nine months ahead. Therefore, camp’s cancellation policy will refund your deposit before the end of February. This allows you to get your camper signed up and provides you with some time to adjust your summer schedule. You can be placed on the waitlist for multiple camps and multiple sessions. If a spot opens up at Moose River Outpost, you will be offered that spot, even though you might simultaneously be on Brookwoods’ waitlist.

What if you are new to camp and didn’t have the opportunity to sign up early and are already on the waitlist?  Dorothy can place your camper on a waitlist for several sessions to help increase your chances of coming to camp. If you don’t get into camp, we will send you enrollment information early the following year.

I hope this helps the “mystery” of the waitlist. Our hearts go out to those campers who unexpectedly find themselves on the waitlist, it’s hard for us too! We are happy to answer additional questions if you would like to call the Main Office at 603-875-3600.

One final thing: As I write this blog today we DO HAVE SPACES at all our camps.  Some sessions have a waitlist, but others are still open, so I encourage you to get your campers enrolled!


Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences for 25 years. He has listened to many “waitlist stories” from panicky moms and dads. This picture is of Bob and his family when they first started working at Brookwoods.  Bob can be reached here.