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Brookwoods and Deer Run Announcement

Posted by on June 6, 2020

Brookwoods and Deer Run will not be running summer camp in 2020…but we will be having “Winnipesaukee Weekends!”

Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding over the past few months as we worked to respond to the unprecedented public health concerns presented by Covid-19 and figure out how, in this environment, we might be able to safely and successfully deliver a meaningful camp experience this summer.

Based on the recommendations of the New Hampshire Re-Opening Task Force released on May 19th, we were thrilled to be able to inform families this past Monday that camp would be opening, albeit with some changes and adjustments, for this upcoming summer. Based on the communications from parents, we know many of you were thrilled as well.

However, late this past Friday night, June 5th, the Governor of New Hampshire released the final set of guidelines for the opening of New Hampshire residential camps.  These guidelines were dramatically different than the ones released prior by the New Hampshire Re-Opening Task Force, upon which we initially based our decision to open camp.   The final guidelines would require us to operate camp at 50% occupancy with cabin size limited to 8 campers; campers and staff would need to endure multiple nasalpharyngeal swabs at a significant expense; campers would need to remain socially distant from those outside of their cabin groups for the entire duration of the 4 weeks at camp and complete a much stricter Pre-Camp Health Screening.  Staff would not be able to leave camp property for the entire summer. The final guidelines contain additional restrictions that were not in the Task Force’s initial recommendations, but these are the most dramatic changes.

After much discussion, prayer, and evaluation over the past 24-hours, both the Board of Directors and Senior Staff feel that given the newly released guidelines, we cannot operate Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run this summer.  The staff have worked very hard over the past 12 weeks to re-program the summer experience based on the guidelines already set forth by the experts at the American Camp Association, the Christian Camp and Conference Association, the CDC and our local government officials.  We were extremely disappointed to receive such dramatic changes to the guidelines from New Hampshire at such a late date and so close to the opening of camp.

Despite this discouraging news, we know and are encouraged by the knowledge that the Lord we serve has been in control all along and none of the events of the past 12 weeks were unknown to Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We are heartbroken to think that our campers will not be able to come to camp this summer, especially after these very challenging past 12 weeks.  We grieve the loss of a childhood summer of outdoor fun and friendships, and we mourn the loss of ministry and hearing our campers singing in the Chapel.

Our staff thought through some creative approaches to open camp to you, our camp families.  We are happy to announce  plans for “Winnipesaukee Weekends” at Brookwoods, which will provide your family unit an opportunity to come up to Camp and enjoy the out-of-doors on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.   George Bowling, our Tripping Director,  is exploring several wilderness adventures as well.  We look forward to sharing that news with you soon as it develops.

It is our continued desire, strengthened in moments like this, that Camp be a place where youth encounter Jesus in a real and tangible way, grow in their understanding of a Christian worldview, and gain life skills that will help them flourish and demonstrate God’s love in any community. It is with this mission that we now begin our planning for next summer.

We will be here to answer any questions you might have going forward as we move together down this unexpected and uncharted path.

If you are a parent with an enrolled 2020 camper, each family has several options on what to do with funds deposited for this summer:

  • Option 1Donation: If you are able, consider donating all, or a portion, of your paid deposit or tuition to camp’s General Fund. A donation at this time would be very much appreciated. The financial impact of not running camp has placed a great burden on our ministry. A tax-deductible receipt will be issued to you.
  • Option 2Roll Funds Forward to Next Summer: We would ask you to consider rolling forward any tuition paid for this summer. If you choose this option, we would guarantee your child a place in the same session for 2021. By choosing this option, you would greatly help us manage our cash flow and have funds on hand for current operations.
  • Option 3Full Refund: You may request a full refund by completing the on-line form below by June 30th. A full refund will be issued to you within 120 days of your request.

Access this Online Form to choose which option is best for you.

Thank you for being a part of the camp family,

 

Bob Strodel

Executive Director

Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc.

 

Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Click HERE for news about Moose River Outpost.

 

 

Summer Magic…

Posted by on May 8, 2020

Summer Magic…

by Bob Strodel, Executive Director

I’ve heard it said that your most favorite music is probably the tunes you enjoyed in high school. That’s not surprising as the developmental years in life are so formative and make such long lasting impressions. One of the BEST parts of my job at camp is  visiting and catching up with alumni, and the FUN part of that is hearing “old camp stories.”   

Last week I enjoyed a phone call with an alumnus, both a Brookwoods camper and staff member from the 1950’s. He is 83 years old and his memory of his camp days seemed as sharp as the day he served. His enthusiasm was contagious as he regaled me with camp stories, including the ability to recall the names of his fellow staff members and some of the challenges they faced “back in the day.” I was ready to hire him once again on our waterfront staff!   

Occasionally, I post a “Throwback Thursday” picture on my personal Facebook page. I’m always fascinated to see the comments unfold from alumni that recognize themselves or their friends who were “tagged” in the photograph. The comments are never anything like, “that was the worst time of my life,” but rather tend toward wonderful, uplifting memories of people, places, and events they enjoyed at camp and look back on fondly. Last week, I posted a photo of the 1981 Deer Run CITs. It resulted in a long string of comments, including: “Such wonderful memories”…”Oh, to be a kid again”…” You look the same”…” That was a great summer.”

There is something special about summer camp—I call it “Summer Magic.” The temporary community we call camp manages to form experiences, friendships, and memories that last a lifetime. At Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, this is what we try to encourage through our programs: shared experiences, appropriate challenges, and conversations about life and our Lord.

Parents who have made the camp investment for their kids, also see this growth and development. If I could summarize the most frequent feedback I’ve received from parents over the last 26 years, it could be categorized in these three areas: 

  1. What did you “do” to my kid at camp? They now clean their room and read their Bible.
  2. How do you get such a great set of people at camp? My kid(s)’ best friends are all from camp and they are such a positive influence.
  3. Where did you find such great staff?

Of course, not every child is a good match for camp experiences, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the high rate of “happy campers.” And when parents can help prepare their children for the camp experience, this can help even more campers be successful in our camp environment.

Currently we are confident that on June 28th we will be able to welcome campers at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. That date is about two months away and while we don’t want to ignore what is happening around the world, we believe this period is a “blizzard” and not an “ice age.” I know that parents want to send their kids to camp this summer after the disruption to normal life, the extended distance education experience, and the need to get out of the house for recreation, fun, and interaction with friends. Our hope is that we will be able to provide a safe place for that to happen. We are continuing to accept applications for the summer and spaces continue to fill up.  Some of our sessions are 100% filled, but others still have a few spaces. Please tell your friends and family members about our wonderful camps. We are happy to send out New Information Packages to anyone who requests one. 

Please feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Camp is a happy place, and we are excited to prepare for a fun summer.

bob strodel signature

Bob Strodel has been the Executive Director at Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. since 1995, and this summer will be his 46th at Brookwoods! His favorite camp activity is model rockets.

10 Tips for Staying Sane Working from Home

Posted by on March 27, 2020

10 Tips for Staying Sane Working from Home

by Rebecca Moore, Camp Mom and Entrepreneur

#1 Create A Schedule
Create a schedule for yourself and your family. Let them weigh in, but make sure that the non-negotiables are crystal clear. Examples: breakfast on your own, clean up after yourselves, phone-free time during “remote school hours”, lunch together, chores before entertainment, daily fresh air minimum, screen time limits, if the dog barks let him out, etc.

#2 Be Still
This is important. Get up 2 hours before your family. Before starting your work or making breakfast, take 30 minutes of quiet time to center yourself. For us as believers, we can meditate on Scripture and spend time in prayer. Remind yourself what is truly important: your and your family’s health and well-being, safety, and shelter. The rest is frosting. Think of one person whom you can help and set your intentions to reach out to them during the day.

#3 Eat Healthy Meals
Plan out healthy meals for your family. Plan to eat at least one meal together daily. Don’t let your teen’s lunch times slip to mid-afternoon. Resist the urge to snack all day. Put out a “Kitchen Closed” sign in between meals (the kids hid ours!)  If that doesn’t work, cut up fresh veggies and set them out on a plate to ensure your family munches on healthy stuff first.

#4 Time Block Tasks
Either on a calendar or an app, identify the top 3 things you must complete each day and block out time to complete them first. Then break down all other tasks into 20 minute chunks and keep the list handy, checking off completed tasks. Limit your time spent on social media, news, and any other activity that can turn into a “rabbit hole” and suck your productivity.

#5 Take Breaks
Make sure to get up from your desk every hour to improve your circulation for at least 5 minutes. You can use a timer to schedule breaks. Or, use the inevitable interruptions to get up and move! (I keep a mini notebook handy to jot down what I was working at the time of the interruption so that I can immediately pick up where I left off.) Breaks are important to clear your head (I also use them to complete quickie chores like tidying up, letting dog in/out, loading washing machine, yada yada.)

#6 Buy Noise Cancelling Headphones
By far the single most useful tool for working at home (besides my laptop) has been my noise cancelling headphones. When I wear them, I am able to concentrate and completely block out all the annoying home noises. All I need to do is play the babbling brook soundtrack on Spotify and I’m in “focus heaven”. I recommend investing in a really good pair. Your sanity will thank you.

#7 Create a Work Space (or 2 or 3)
My office is in our finished attic. It’s awesome. But when I need to keep a pulse on the household (and my kids’ studies), I have another spot, namely the dining room table. It is important to stake out a designated place to work and make sure your family honors it. Let your kids choose their own work space to work nearby (NOT on their beds) so that all their belongings and projects stay in one spot.

#8 Quiet Zone
It’s easy to let structure fall by the wayside in these uncertain times. But we ALL need some structure to stay sane. Make it clear what times of day are considered family’s “work” time (e.g. 9am-12pm, 12:30-5pm.) and agree that this time (and your designated work space) remain a quiet zone. This means no blaring music, horsing around, or hollering. Infractions will result in phone confiscation.

#9 Exercise Daily
We all know it is unhealthy to be sedentary. Social isolation should not be an excuse to become a couch potato. Make sure to build exercise into your day, even if it’s a cheesy exercise video, a walk around the block, or jump-roping in your basement. Include the kids and make it fun!

#10 End Time
Agree to end your day at a specific time (this one can be difficult!)  Plan something fun to do each evening with your family (board games, cooking experiment, karaoke, art project, build something, movie) to lighten up and laugh!  If you have an evening conference call, let your family know in advance and find a private corner to take the call so everyone else can enjoy the evening.


Rebecca Moore pictured far right.

Rebecca Moore has lived in Lexington with her husband and 3 Deer Runners for the past 23 years. A dot-com veteran, MBA, and art history major, she founded InANutshell Consulting to empower women to envision and build their own businesses. Her clients share the belief that running a small business is one way to cultivate purpose in their lives and make a meaningful impact. You can connect with her on Facebook @inanutshellceo, instagram @inanutshellceo or via email, rebecca@inanutshellconsulting.com   

Cookie Camp 2020

Posted by on March 11, 2020

Cookie Camp 2020

by Susan Bradley Arico, Deer Run Alumna & Camp Mom

Cookie Camp. What a sweet time! (Literally, and figuratively!)

In 2008 I moved away from my beloved New England to distant lands, but a few months before I left, I attended Cookie Camp. It was the first time the event was open to alumni (and the second time that Cookie Camp happened), and I got to be part it! I lived about 45 minutes away in Rollinsford, NH at the time. I got a sitter for my two babies, as my husband had already departed in advance of our pending move, and drove to camp for 24 hours. 

The idea of Cookie Camp was simple. Bake cookies and mail them to camp staff at Valentine’s Day to let them know they were loved and appreciated.

Cookie Camp 2008

With three of my closest staff friends – about a decade out from the last time we’d been on staff – I aproned up, rolled dough, pressed cutters, sprinkled sugar. It was magic. After all, what’s not to love about camp, old friends, girl time, and lots of sugar? There were about fifteen women there that year, and I got to meet a few new friends too.

Fast forward twelve years to this year, February 2020.

I was back living in New England again for the first time in nearly twelve years. What did I want to be sure my first winter back included, of course? Cookie camp!

And here we were again – same girls (several of us, anyway) – aprons and rolling pins at the ready.

Cookie Camp 2020

But my, how the operations had grown and expanded! Instead of 13 women, there were 25. Instead of just cookies to bake, there were whole care packages to fill. Instead of 75 boxes, there were more than 250! It was such an impressive operation! And it was so fun to spend time rubbing shoulders with so many cool, dynamic, faith-filled women from different generations and eras of camp leadership.

Melissa Yonan explained the expansion and rationale. 

As “Cookie Camp” continued over the years, camp staff increasingly became aware of how valuable and meaningful the parcel was to its recipients each Valentine’s Day. They began to embrace it as a ministry in its own right, and they expanded the recipient list from just current camp staff to alumni between the ages of 19 and 25 who have attended camp for five or more summers, or served on staff previously. They began crafting homemade Valentine cards to communicate heartfelt affirmation. They put in some candies to further sweeten the pot. And they added a devotional to ensure that a piece of spiritual content made it from camp to these beloved camp community members in the middle of the dark winter.

“Parents email and call us to tell us what a huge difference it makes to their kids to get these parcels,” Melissa told me. “It reminds them of who they are and that camp loves them – just like God loves them – no matter where they are or what time of year it is.”

I was so touched as she was speaking. And her words prompted a memory: I remembered George Bowling sending me a care package, when he learned I had mono. It was shortly after I’d spent a month working at camp, and I still remember what he wrote in that note. It was 1995 and I was a sophomore; it was the worst year of my college career. It had made a huge difference to me, to know that I had camp’s (and his) support and affection in that hard space.

I left Cookie Camp weekend feeling so humbled and grateful. Grateful for a place like camp that both gathers its people together for meaningful reunions of all different kinds, and also intentionally pours into its people in different places. Grateful for friends so dear to my heart who camp introduced me to, friends of 20+ years who can laugh together till we cry in the dark at 1 AM in Elk Cabin. And grateful for a God who makes it possible for us to be connected in faith with others in this way for both filling and service to others.

Susan Bradley Arico was a Deer Run camper from 1986-1991 and was on staff in 1994, 1996, and 1997. Her husband York was on Brookwoods staff for three years in the 1990’s. The Aricos now reside in Connecticut. You may contact Susan, or view more of her writing on her blog, or her facebook page.

Winter Reunion 2020

Posted by on December 9, 2019

CAMP BROOKWOODS AND DEER RUN WINTER REUNION 2020

 Here are a few important details below:

WHEN: Monday, December 30 2019 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Plan to arrive between 7:00 – 8:00 PM on Monday. Dinner will not be served at camp, so please eat before you arrive. The reunion will end at 2:00 PM on Wednesday.

SALT and LDP: You are invited to come to camp early and your Winter Reunion starts 24 hours earlier. If you are able, please plan to arrive between 5:30 – 8:00 PM on Sunday, December 29th. Dinner will be served at 5:30pm in the dining hall.

WHAT TO EXPECT: This is a unique opportunity to experience New Year’s at camp, be encouraged in your walk with Christ, connect with friends, and catch up with your counselors! Fun, friends, and fellowship! The reunion is a wonderful spiritual retreat where campers can reconnect with their friends and counselors. Campers will have the opportunity to tube down Deer Run’s back hill, snowshoe around camp, make crafts, build cardboard sleds, play games, roast marshmallows, and drink a lot of hot cocoa, and more!

WHAT TO BRING: A sleeping bag, Bible, journal, lots of warm clothes, and your toothbrush!

BUS: The bus will be at the Lexington Service Plaza on the north bound side of I-95 off exit 30. The plaza has a McDonald’s and Gulf station. It will leave Lexington at 6:00 PM on Monday, December 30th, and will return around 4:30 PM on Wednesday, January 1st. The first 45 campers to register for the bus will get a seat. There is no charge for the bus.

AIRPORT: Flights into Manchester Airport in New Hampshire or Logan Airport in Boston, should be scheduled to arrive between 3:00 and 6:00 PM on Monday, December 30th. Flights should depart between 2:00 and 6:00 PM on Wednesday, January 1st. Please notify us of flights by DATE. There is no charge for airport transportation.

Register by clicking on this link.

Any questions you can either email, ben@christiancamps.net or call the camp office at 603-875-3600

Here is the video of the event from last year:

Here is what you missed this past year: