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Love Affair With a Lake

Posted by on May 22, 2020

Love Affair With A Lake

by Phil Lehmann, Waterfront Staff

Let’s face it, Lake Winnipesaukee is the best place on earth and there is nothing you can do to convince me otherwise. Sure, archery is fun and I guess horses are ok, but we (I) all know where the best activities are at camp. 

As a camper I fell in love with sailing, SCUBA diving, and wakeboarding. As a counselor I was blessed to be able to teach swimming and most of the other waterfront activities at some point. However, once I joined waterfront staff, my relationship with the lake changed—no longer was it simply the place where I got to teach and do activities. The lake became a grounding place for me. A place where I have most clearly heard God’s call to me and the place where I go at my lowest. 

Those who have been on staff know the Diving Pier after dark is a place for hanging out and chatting with friends (before curfew of course!). It is also one of my favorite nighttime haunts, but for the opposite reason. I go to the diving pier to stand alone and stare out across the still waters towards Rattlesnake Island. The wind quiets and I find one of the oft mentioned “thin places” in which God seems most accessible. It is in these moments that I have felt the irresistible urge to pray about anything and everything. Eventually, the moment passes and I head to the Lake Cottage or stand to watch Coach Crowers come back into the cove in his dory, racing the last light to shore. I have had similar “God moments” in life and in some truly random places (e.g. Amsterdam’s train station at 3am), but none of these places possess the raw power of the water. 

I was, and am still to a degree, a Midwest boy, unlearned in the power of the ocean, so the waves on Winnipesaukee seemed large to me as a child. After seven years on waterfront staff, I realize that the waves on Winni may not be the biggest, but they are my favorite. Former staffers will know that most of my favorite things on the waterfront involve unruly water (waterskiing aside). From going on “rescue missions” that test our expertise in righting sailboats, or towing a boat into shore, or to standing on the diving pier watching a big storm march across the lake, slowly obscuring the islands one by one, or to occasionally taking the opportunity for a farcical photo shoot with Cody O’Loughlin, it is these moments where the raw power of nature grounds me to the place God has called me. Where the outside worries of a career and “real life” are quiet and I am able to simply do the job I love, in the place I love, for the people I love.  The lake is more than water in a hole, it is the place where God finds me, smacks me on the head, and says “I’m bigger, let’s have a chat.”

 

Phil Lehmann has been on staff since 2008 and has served as the Waterfront Director for the last 4 years. He enjoys early morning skiing, leaving lunch early to take a nap in his hammock, and drinking coffee out of a battered enamel mug. Contact him at Philip.G.Lehmann@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.

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

 

 

 

 

Annual Fund: The 5 W’s, 1 H, & 1 TY

Posted by on December 21, 2018

Annual Fund: The 5 W’s, 1 H, and 1 TY

Ann Higgins, Director of Development

 
For this week’s Friday Blog I thought I would use this familiar journalistic device to talk about camp’s Annual Fund. I hope the information is helpful and answers some questions you might have about supporting camp.
What?
As in “What’s the Annual Fund, anyway?” As a non-profit organization, Christian Camps and Conferences, Inc. (Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost) is allowed to accept tax deductible donations from those wishing to support the work. The Annual Fund is an ongoing opportunity for the extended camp family to partner with us in the ministry through their financial support. Our theme is “Join the Journey” because we believe that everyone at camp is on their own faith journey to learn more about themselves, who they were created to be in Christ, and how to best serve the Kingdom. When you give, you come alongside the many campers and staff who are encouraged along their way at camp.
Why?
Camp’s Annual Fund is made up of two parts, General and Scholarship giving. General (undesignated) giving helps with those unexpected expenses. As you would predict, appliances wear out, recreational equipment breaks, and camp often experiences weather-related and other damage to facilities. Undesignated gifts allow us to use the funds where they are needed most. The Scholarship Fund is used to make camp a possibility for those who could not attend without financial assistance. Currently, about 25% of our campers require some assistance to attend. This equates to about $220,000 each year. Recently, our camp family has been faithfully fulfilling this need, which also helps us keep our tuition costs within reach for more families. Put simply, a strong Annual Fund makes an organization stronger and insures its longevity.
Who/Where?
The Annual Fund benefits all of our campers: Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run in New Hampshire, and Moose River Outpost in Maine.
When?
A goal is set annually by the Board of Directors for the Annual Fund for our fiscal year, January 1st through December 31st. This year, Scholarship giving has been strong as the Weekend of Giving in July boosted the fund by $59,000 in just three days! There are still a few more days left in 2018 to help us reach our overall giving goals. As a reminder, to qualify for a 2018 tax deduction, online gifts must be made by midnight on the 31st and checks must be dated and postmarked on or before the 31st as well.
How?
There are many ways to support camp. The most direct and familiar way is by donating via check or credit card. The year-end mailer can be viewed here and you can give online here.
Camp is also able to accept gifts of stocks and securities, transfers from an IRA, gifts through life insurance, and real estate. For more information on those types of gifts, please check out this section of our website.
There is also an option for scheduled, automatic giving through our monthly donor program, the Campfire Circle. Circle members receive special communications and a small welcome gift upon joining. You can find more information here.
So, that’s the 4 W’s and that one H. Last but not least, the most important thing is the TY—that’s for a great big Thank You! to everyone who supports camp through their prayers, or gifts of time, or financial support. It takes all of you to make our camps the special gospel-centered communities we desire them to be. May God bless us in the New Year as we seek to serve Him and witness more lives being transformed for Christ. Thanks be to God and Merry Christmas!
Ann Higgins is the Director of Development for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost where the best part of her job is interacting with the thankful and generous camp family that supports our mission. You can reach her at ann@christiancamps.net