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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.

 
 
 

Happy 75th Anniversary Brookwoods!

Posted by on February 8, 2019

Happy 75thAnniversary Brookwoods

Mark your calendars for July 26-28th! We hope that you will come back to camp, relive memories, rekindle friendships, and jump in the lake! We will celebrate the legacy of Brookwoods and Deer Run, sharing how our camp days have shaped our lives. Included in our weekend celebration we will also wish Deer Run a Happy 55th Birthday and a Happy 20th to Moose River Outpost. (Yes, this is Brookwoods’ big birthday, and yes, we’re hoping lots of Deer Runners will join us!)

More about the festivities later, but first, a little history, in 1944 Dr. Lawrence Andreson answered God’s call by founding Camp Brookwoods for boys. He and his wife Duggie purchased the land and set to work, prepping the property and hiring staff. Twenty years later, the Andresons started Camp Deer Run for girls, sharing the property and waterfront, but run quite separately. In 1972, the Andresons made the difficult decision to sell Brookwoods and Deer Run. There was no “camp as we know it” the summer of 1973, but Miles Strodel ran camp trips out of his garage in Lexington, MA. Through a series of miraculous events, (watch “The Miracle”) the property was purchased by George Bennett, Sr. and reopened in 1974. Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. was established as the non-profit parent organization and Camp has been going strong ever since. This summer we will celebrate the start of it all, all that God has done, and is doing to build lives of faith and character.

 We’ve got a great schedule planned.

BW 50th Breakfast Cookout at Inspiration Point

There isn’t enough space here for us to give you all the details, because there’s a lot going on: dinner cookout, s’mores, singing, waterskiing, archery, breakfast cookout at Inspiration Point, and more. The schedule on the web will give you an idea of the flow of the weekend. We will have golf carts available to help folks get up and down the hill to the waterfront so everyone can enjoy the fun. Keep reading for highlights and how you can help make the weekend extra special.

 To share a story with us click here and then scroll down.

We would love for you to share one of your favorite camp memories. Or, if you’d like to send us some pictures, we’d love that too. We’ll be making decade boards to be displayed in our Anniversary Museum and later hung in Moose Hall after the celebration.

 Anniversary Museum

We will have a designated space to display camp pictures, stories, and memorabilia. If you have some camp mementos that you would like to share, we would be happy to display them. Also, we have several camp alumni authors and we’ll have a library with their books. If you have a publication to contribute, please let us know!

 Camp Store

We’ll be stocking up on your favorite camp items so that you can go home with a new camp sweatshirt and you can give that vintage one to your camper! Deer Run alumna Dara Mongelli Dunn designed a commemorative poster for purchase, you can check it out here. Also, local artist Peter Ferber is painting three camp scenes that will be made into prints. Later this spring, we will post pictures of them on the Anniversary website. We still have a limited number of “The Waterfront” giclee prints, also by Peter Ferber, that were commissioned to celebrate Deer Run’s 50th birthday, available for purchase.

 Download a song here!

We were planning ahead during the summer of 2017 and made a live recording of some our favorite songs during morning worship outside in the Chapel. On the 15th of each month, a new song will be released! Download them for free and take those beautiful camp voices with you, wherever you go!

 See Who’s Coming here!

On Mondays, we’ll update our lists, both who is registered and who is planning on coming. If you’d like help getting in touch with your camp friends to plan a reunion at the Anniversary, please contact me.

 Register for the Anniversary here!

We have several different options for you to register: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Based on how much time you’ll be able to spend with us, there’s an option for you.

 Looking for a place to stay click here!

We wish that we could have you all bunk in with us at camp, but we can’t! The campers will be using all the cabins! But have no fear, in addition to a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn in Rochester, we’ve listed some other lodging options for you to explore. Airbnb.com might also have some good options. It is a good idea to book early if you can.

Sunday Worship

Brookwoods Alumnus Peter Greer will bring us God’s Word on Sunday morning. Peter spent 8 summers at Brookwoods as a camper, LDP, and on staff. His wife Laurel (Steinweg) served on Deer Run staff for 3 summers, and they first met under the Moose at Brookwoods. Peter is president & CEO of HOPE International, helping underserved communities around the world, author, husband, and dad. Peter and Laurel call Lancaster, PA home and have three kids, Keith, Liliana and Myles, and are foster parents for children that God puts in their path. Peter grew up outside of Boston, and they still cheer for the Red Sox and the Patriots.

 If you have any questions about the Anniversary, pictures to share, or a great idea for the weekend, please email me, I’m always happy to talk about camp!

BW 50th tent on the BW backfield, 1994
BW 50th Saturday Evening Dinner, 1994
Deer Run getting ready for her 50th, 2014
Uncle JJ and Camilo led Sunday worship at BW’s 50th, 1994

 

Melissa Yonan, Alumni Director

Melissa 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.

 

 

Get the “Scoop”

Posted by on January 30, 2019

How to Get the “Scoop”

By Adam Jalovick

Marketing is as wide and varied as the different kinds of businesses and organizations trying to get their message out. Even within the world of Christian summer camps, marketing can range from college visits, to word of mouth, and of course, camp fairs. The key for every camp is to take advantage of their strengths. For Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, this means a more intimate and personal approach than a typical booth set-up at any given camp fair.

Our alumni network is extensive and, thanks to the work of Melissa Yonan and Ann Higgins, well connected. The Lord has blessed our camps with a network that loves to give back to camp in various ways. Each spring we work with families who give back in the way of marketing. These families open up their homes, invite their friends who would like to hear about camp, and help us host a pizza and ice cream party. We call these events “Scoops.” You can come and get the camp “scoop,” while we “scoop” some ice cream!

I believe this is one of the most effective ways to share the news about camp. This may not be the fastest or most widespread way to get the word out about our camps, but it is far more personal. Scoops offer parents a well-rounded perspective on our camps than can’t be provided at a camp fair. Instead of just taking our word for it, they have the word of fellow parents and campers who have experienced summers at our camps.

Scoops are typically scheduled Friday evening or on weekends, and generally run for about two hours. While the evenings are free flowing, there is often a time of question and answer with camp representatives, past campers share stories, we show our camp videos, and talk about what a typical camp day looks like. Games and a fun photo booth are also provided for the kids’ entertainment. Also, pizza! Who doesn’t love pizza? We provide great local pizza for dinner, and love to network during this time.

Right now we have three scoops on the calendar, and are currently coordinating to get a few more before the start of the summer! If you’d like to come hear the scoop, please email your RSVP to Dorothy and she will follow up with the address.

  • February 2
    • Alexander Scoop
    • Westford, MA 01886
    • 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • March 15
    • Great Rock Scoop
    • 256 Andover St. Danvers, MA 01923
    • 6:00pm – 8:30pm
  • March 31
    • Murgatroyd Scoop
    • 52 Powder House Road Extension Medford, MA 02155
    • 5:00pm – 7:00pm

 

Adam Jalovick, Assistant Director & Conference Director
Hannah Jalovick, WILD Director & Leadership Development Director


Adam and Hannah Jalovick joined the CCCI team in 2017, working at MRO in the summers, and living and working in NH during the off-season. They met at Cairn University, where Adam received a BS in Bible and a MA in Religion. If you’d like to get in touch, adam@christiancamps.net

 
 
 

A Great Summer Job…

Posted by on January 25, 2019

You Can Get a Great Summer Job….

By Jason Daily, Brookwoods alumnus

Unit Directors, Jason is far left.

In 2003, I pulled down Camp Brookwoods Road after driving 790 miles from Columbus, Ohio. I was in search of a completely different summer from the typical internships, work-study, etc. During my 13-hour drive, I did a lot of daydreaming about what the summer ahead would be like. I arrived, not knowing a soul, yet excited for the experience awaiting me.

June through August was a brief period of time that drastically changed the trajectory of my entire life, including my relationship with God. I’m not exaggerating this—I’ve heard many fellow camp alumni say something similar. I’m continuing to find that the impact is exponential.

First, I gained lifelong friends. When I arrived, I didn’t know a soul. Fourteen short, fun-filled, intense weeks later, I left with awesome memories, best friends for life and a huge network of brothers and sisters scattered around the world. I experienced the joy of being a part of a Christian community in a new way. My experience this first summer is one reason why my wife and I continue to seek this kind of deep community in our local church.

I appreciate now just how much of my time at Brookwoods was an investment in my future. It was one of the most valuable leadership development experiences of my life. There are so many parallels to the skills I needed as a counselor, that help me thrive in my job today as an executive coach. For example, planning leadership development sessions for high-performing teams in a corporate setting isn’t much different from planning cabin/unit nights and Bible studies. Facilitating and leading groups is essential to a great cabin dynamic. These skills are fundamental to thriving in the professional world as well.

I also coach many leaders who are searching for their purpose, or are trying to better understand the effects of their behaviors in relationships. Bunking up with a group of twelve 13-year olds in the Otter Cabin could be a case study on emotional intelligence and active listening!

Brookwoods friends in Colorado. Jason is 2nd from the right.

In the 16 years since my first summer, I’ve only been back to camp a few times…but camp has never left me. Instead, I’ve traveled to visit the friends I made that summer. Camp truly knows no boundaries. It exists in the weekly phone calls and texts that I have with my best buds (five of them were groomsmen in my wedding) and the annual get-togethers despite the 2,000 miles that separate us.

However long the drive or flight might be for you, I promise you’ll be glad you drove down that bumpy road through the gates of Brookwoods and Deer Run or MRO’s 3-mile driveway. If you need any more convincing, you can ask anyone about Mission Impossible, Hawk Parties, trips to the White Mountains, sleeping under the stars, swamping canoes; this list goes on and on and on. Just make sure to turn off your cell phone, because you can’t miss a minute of the experience that awaits you!

Click here for a job application to join the adventure!

Jason Daily is an executive coach and leadership development consultant. He served as a counselor in the Otter Cabin in 2003, Unit Director in 2004 and 2006, and served on the conference staff in 2006. Jason lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife Shannon and daughter Josephine.  jndaily@gmail.com