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Mind Your PQTs

Posted by on March 22, 2019

Mind Your PQTs

by Lis Schuman, Deer Run Camp Pastor, Alumna

Camp is a wonderful place to grow spiritually. Daily chapel and Bible study keep the focus on God in the midst of the fun. The cabin is a central part of the camper’s spiritual experience. Each day, counselors use a prepared curriculum to share Bible studies with their cabin as a group, but another important part of the daily schedule is what some campers call “PQT” – Personal Quiet Time.

Campers have Personal Quiet Time – PQT

After breakfast and cabin clean up, the campers find a space – inside or outside – to spend time alone with God. Some use a devotional to guide that time. Some keep a journal, some read their Bibles, some pray. Some are not quite sure what to do…

If you’re anything like me, I can get distracted pretty easily, especially when I am doing something quiet and alone! God knows our weaknesses and our tendency to lose focus, and yet He still invites us to spend this time with Him each day. When Jesus walked this earth, He would steal away to spend time alone with His Father. As we are to live our lives modeled after Christ, how are we to do PQTs well? Here are a few guidelines to help us:

  1. Focus on God’s Word. Devotional books can be a great tool when studying God’s Word, but they should not replace reading the Word itself. Prayerfully choose a book of the Bible and begin to work through it, even if you cover only a few verses a day. Some passages may have a loud, clear message that we can easily identify. Some passages may not be so clear. Persevere. Finish the book. God’s Word is complete, and He has something to say through the entirety of His Word, not just in certain verses.
  2. Trust God to teach you. Sometimes we read a passage and are not sure what it means. We can ask God to help us understand what He is saying to us. The cry of the psalmist in Psalm 119:33-34 can be our own: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes… Give me understanding, that I may observe your law, and keep it with all my heart.”
  3. Keep it consistent. In Joshua 1:8, the Lord instructs us: “’This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.’” It’s not easy, but if God calls us to do it, He will also equip us to do it. Be realistic about when and how long you can read God’s Word each day. Then do it. Everyday. If you miss a day, pick it back up again the next day. Just as an athlete works his or her body to strengthen it and create “muscle memory” for his or her sport, we Christians hone our spiritual bodies through consistent practice.

So as our campers head to camp this summer, know that they will have PQT every morning. During your own PQT, pray for them – that they will keep focused on God and His Word, that He will teach them and give them understanding, and that they will remain consistent and walk with Him.

Lis (Waldron) Schuman and her husband, Eric, have four campers – two at Deer Run and two at Brookwoods. Lis and Eric were counselors in the mid-90s and since 2017 Lis has been serving as Camp Pastor of Deer Run and Eric as the BASIC Coordinator. In their non-camp lives, both Lis and Eric are Spanish teachers. Eric has been known to sing in Spanish if he is ever called up for “Sing Us a Song.” You can email Lis here.

 

 

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!

 

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.

Why We Send Our Children to Camp

Posted by on February 15, 2019

Why We Send Our Children to Camp
By Marta Hummel Mossburg, alumna

After 36 hours of planes, trains, trams, cabs and tugging overstuffed suitcases on cobblestone streets, my eldest son, Hank, and I arrived at our hotel in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean Sea last night. This afternoon we start a 10 day tour of Israel, tracing Jesus’ steps through this ancient land graced with the birth of our Savior.

The trip stretched our budget, means two weeks away from my husband, and other two children, two weeks away from school for Hank, and promises a lot of trekking. It also, through direct contact with the places Jesus lived and routes he walked, immerses us in our shared story of salvation amid few distractions, great discussion, gorgeous views, and others seeking to know more clearly how to know Christ and make him known. In other words, it’s a lot like camp, with different scenery.

More importantly, though, it is a part of a strategy of embedding Hank’s identity (and each of our children) in Christ and deepening his understanding of the God who both knitted us together in our mother’s womb and has the power to move mountains. My husband Dave and I know it will not happen by osmosis. As Rod Dreher wrote in The Benedict Option, “American Christians are going to have to come to terms with the brute fact that we live in a culture … in which our beliefs make increasingly little sense. We speak a language that the world more and more either cannot hear or finds offensive to its ears.”

In a country where “my truth” now substitutes for “truth” and even those who profess faith in Jesus define themselves by their online presence or arbitrary cultural hierarchies, we want our children to know first and foremost they are followers of Jesus. And not only to know it, but to be able to explain it and defend it with grace, courage, and humility, even if it costs them “friends,” or likes online, or real consequences like actual friends, or job opportunities as they grow up.

That is where camp (and this trip) come in. It is a place where the joy that comes from living a life rooted in Christ is manifested daily. It is where friendships that last lifetimes are formed, God’s beauty and power amazes and daily habits of praying and reading the Bible often start for the first time. It is where God is bigger than one denomination and different worship preferences and His presence so palpable it’s almost as if His footsteps are visible on the paths to the beach and Dining Hall. And it is where the songs – often Bible verses – become so ingrained that I teach them to my children 25 plus years later.

If we want to reach the culture for Christ, our children first need to know what it can and should be so they do not absorb what others tell them it is. Camp is one significant way to give our children a glimpse of the Promised Land in addition to teaching them the tools they need to live lives of purpose and excellence through daily routines and physical challenges many never thought they could achieve.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to go to camp? When summer hits, I always long for the chance to be on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee once again, waterskiing and hiking and laughing in grungy clothes and no makeup. I know a lot of us who went, saw our best selves there and conjure those memories not to relive those days, but to be the person God created us to be in the present. It’s one of the best gifts I received and want to regift it to our children, for their spouses and children – and the world.

Editor’s note: Here’s the LINK to register for camp!


Marta Hummel Mossburg went to camp in the “ancient 80s”, as her children Hank (10), Charlie (8) and Elsa (6) say. Hank is going to camp for his third time this summer and Charlie will go for the first time. She and her family live in Chattanooga, TN. Reach her at martamossburg@gmail.com.