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Deer Run Mentoring

Posted by on May 29, 2020

Deer Run Mentoring

by Sarah Bartlett Cohen, Program Director

When I arrived at Camp Deer Run for the first time at the wise age of 18, my visions of what I would be doing as a camp counselor included lines of little girls trouping behind me through the woods, assembling one s’more after another, and reading Bible stories by flashlight after “lights out.” While many of these visions became a reality, there were unexpected blessings that rounded my experience and keep me coming back to Deer Run summer after summer. One that I still reflect on is the Deer Run mentoring program.

In the summer of 2004 I was paired with camp legend, Bekah Peterson. I don’t remember much of what we talked about, likely funny stories of what my Whitetail campers did or said or how I spent my day off. What I do remember is that Bekah made me feel comfortable to be a clueless, eager, and overwhelmed first-year staff member. She had been around camp longer than me and she had more life experience. She listened and asked good questions that helped me see the bigger picture of camp and God’s Kingdom. Plus, she was just fun and cool and I liked hanging out with her.

Sarah Cohen (right) visits mentee Ellen Goodling in Nashville this past fall.

At this point in my “camp career,” I have spent at least a decade of my camp experience as a mentor. It is still one of my favorite parts of camp life. Every summer I have 1 or 2 mentees and my relationship with each of them is different; I love the way each relationship develops authentically. Sometimes we go for a walk along Damon Drive. Another mentee might prefer to stop by my office several times a week to chat for 10 minutes while eating a handful of M&Ms on her way to her next activity period. We always talk about campers, co-counselors, and the ways they are seeing God in those relationships. We talk about life at college, plans post-college, and how to discern God’s calling. We talk about future things, like marriage, babies, and family. Sometimes they just need to vent about the hard things that come with camp ministry and living in very (very) close community.

The mentoring program is a way that Senior Staff can support young adult staff in their daily ministry. As much as my mentees long for and need my listening ear, I also need to be reminded of the work God is doing inside each cabin and out on the front lawn. Just as Bekah helped me to see the bigger picture of God’s Kingdom, each summer my mentees remind me of God’s faithfulness and the work He is doing at Camp!

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 (6), Paul (3), and Audrey (1). The Cohen Cabin loves breakfast cookout and can be frequently be found “selling” free sticks or painted rocks by the Eagle. Say hi to Sarah here!

Full Circle

Posted by on May 15, 2020

Full Circle

by Amy Holbrook Nichols, Deer Run Alumna

I still remember the drive up to camp. I was 8 years old and I had never been that far away from home and I was terrified. I spent the entire car ride so nervous I thought I was going to throw up! Two weeks later I was calling them on the camp phone asking if I could please PLEASE stay two more weeks.

Camp is special like that. It is magical. It makes you want to stay and experience more of what it has to offer. I loved it all, from the days on the beach, to cabin nights, to the horseback riding lessons to all my new friends. I loved it so much I came back, 15 years later…I was looking to do something different the summer in between my junior and senior year of college. The Lord brought camp to mind and I decided to give them a call. Turns out they needed a Horseback Riding Director, but I wanted to be a counselor. Camp very graciously gave me the opportunity to do both.

When I arrived at camp, the term “Horse Chick” (we know how girls love horses) was affectionately batted in my direction. Not only do we have a special nickname, we also have special housing, fondly known as “The Chicken Coop” or “The Coop” for short, located at the top of the camp road. Since horses smell, and this smell is clingy—Horse Chicks preferably need housing close to the Stables in order to clean up before taking that lovely odor down to the Dining Hall to share at mealtime! In retrospect, I think my dual job of counselor and horseback riding instructor saved my reputation. I lived in a cabin and yet could spend my days at the Stable. I lived and breathed camp. I vividly remember calling my parents (from that same camp phone that I used when I was 8) and telling them that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was exactly where God wanted me. I felt His pleasure in my joy and love of camp. During the day I taught students how to ride and in the evenings I had the joy of impacting kids for the Lord in our cabin.

And now I find myself passing the proverbial torch. My 18-year old daughter, Anna, has caught the camp bug. Two years ago she spent a summer at Moose River Outpost. The wild Maine setting combined with great friends and a great counselor, had such a positive impact on her. This summer, she decided that she wanted to go back to camp, but she wanted to work with horses—SHE WANTS TO BE A HORSE CHICK! And so, I will live vicariously through her. I will walk the road through the woods from the Stables to the Main House. I will swim with her in the clear cold waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. I will eat ice cream with her at Bailey’s. I will sing songs with her after dinner in the Dining Hall. I will pray for her to grow spiritually and to have the same assurance that God has placed her at that place for that time. And, I will encourage her to wear the title (and fragrance) of Horse Chick with pride!

Amy Nichols (pictured on the right) lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona with her husband, John who is a pastor and their two kids. She is an instructor of education courses at Arizona Christian University. In her spare time, she reads, runs, and still dreams of owning her own horse someday. Reach out via email, aenct71@gmail.com

Camp Lessons for Quarantine

Posted by on April 24, 2020

Camp Lessons for Quarantine

by Ellen Goodling, Deer Run Staff

Honestly, I am getting tired of reading about, “these unprecedented times,” mostly because the phrase is accurate. Our world has been turned upside-down as we globally take on the practice of dying to ourselves in order to save the lives of others. It is scary, it is difficult, and we don’t know when it will end. 

However, I have been reminiscing about the pre-corona days at camp to get me through. In fact, during quarantine, I have come to the conclusion that Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost people are more prepared for these unprecedented times than most, and here are just a few reasons why: 

We Can Do Hard Things

Wapitis having fun! Ellen second from right.

I tend to sum up my first summer at camp with the phrase: “It was the hardest summer of my life…and it was awesome.” We do difficult things at camp, like hiking, putting up the H-pier, and going on 12 day fishing trips in the middle of nowhere Canada—and most of time we do them in the rain after four hours of sleep. But, every time we are faced with a challenge, we have previous camp stories of perseverance and hilarity to get us through. Like camp, quarantine is hard, but remember that you have likely seen darker (and rainier) times than these, and you have previous stories of God’s faithfulness to give you hope! I know that He will see us through to the other side. Even though it is hard, it will be redeemed. 

We Value Stillness

Because camp is exhausting, we learn to make room for rest. In between banquets and Krazy Karnivals, we go the mountains, we schedule quiet times, we take rest hour (BEST hour!) seriously, and we walk silently together to Sunday chapel. Camp is chaos, but it is also a precious place to be still and hear God speak in a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). So, though this quarantine may feel like a little too much stillness, remember now, how you learned to value it, and open your heart to accept it again.

We Have FUN!

Remember all those rainy days? I bet you do very fondly! That’s because at camp we know how to make the best out of any situation. We sing, we smile, we laugh at the absurdity of our endeavors, we lean on each other, and we choose joy always. Time at camp is precious to us, and we never let it go to waste. Quarantine can be precious too. Remember how you used to smile through the rain, lean on the love of those around you, and sing your favorite camp song to get you through! 

At camp, we can do the hard things, find the still moments, and have some fun because we rely on God fully to make it through each day. We can do the same in these “unprecedented times.” So, remember the summer and let the lessons you learned get you through to the next one! 

Pictured far right, Ellen Goodling is a Theatre Education Major at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She arrived at Camp Deer Run as a brand-new staff member last summer (2019), where she worked as a Wapiti counselor and taught waterskiing, yoga, and, of course, Random Explosions. She has been counting down the days to summer 2020 ever since! You can get in touch via email egoodling@windstream.net

Baked Oatmeal

Posted by on April 3, 2020

Hot from the Kitchen: Baked Oatmeal

For many years now at Brookwoods and Deer Run, campers and staff have enjoyed our Baked Oatmeal on Lazy Days. It can be enjoyed hot out of the oven, or it can be enjoyed in a bowl with some milk, like cereal.  

We are sharing the recipe so you can make it at home. In fact, here is a video our Food Service Director, Jon Cooper, making Baked Oatmeal.    

Go grab some ingredients and make yourself a bowl of camp happiness!

 

Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
16 oz. container of plain yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 cups oats
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Directions:

Beat eggs until light and airy. Then mix in the white sugar until fluffy. Then add in the brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the oil, yogurt, maple syrup, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Once combined, mix in the oatmeal, raisins, and nuts, until fluffy. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 (or similar sized) pan.
Cook for 45 minutes at 325* F.  Rotate pan after 20 minutes. 

 

Enjoy!

Jon and April met at Cairn University (then Philadelphia Bible College) as undergraduates and they married in 2006. Since then, they’ve always been cooking up something! They joined our staff in time last year to celebrate the Brookwoods 75th Anniversary.   

This past summer, Chicken Pot Pie with biscuits was on the menu and it was a huge hit with campers and staff. He doesn’t shy away from the “WOW” factor. Last summer he debuted a 100 foot sub. Another night, we had a gutter sundae just as long. It took everyone on kitchen staff and all the LDPs to bring the sundae into the Dining Hall! As you can imagine, the whole Dining Hall went up in a roar! 

April is a talented baker and helps out in the kitchen when she can. Jon’s favorite thing that she makes is her grandmother’s plum pudding with hard sauce, a New England favorite. April’s favorite thing that Jon makes is fish and chips. Clara, their 5 year-old, likes everything that her dad makes, and so does her younger brother Sammy. Let Jon know how your baked oatmeal turns out by emailing him.

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