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Winter Reunion 2018

Posted by on December 9, 2018

Season’s greetings campers,

Have you been missing camp lately? Well then you should join us this December 28th thru December 30th for the annual Brookwoods & Deer Run Winter Reunion! This is a unique opportunity for you to return to camp, be encouraged in your walk with Christ, connect with friends, and catch up with your counselors!

We are excited to have Pastor Craig Higgins joining us from Trinity Presbyterian Church, as this year’s speaker. The theme is titled “Your Story,” focusing on the significance of your testimony and what God has done in your life. We will pull themes out of the “Toy Story” movies and also focus on 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- not by works, so that no one can boast.” My hope is that you walk away from the weekend encouraged and aware of the story God has called you into!

There will be fun activities including broomball, sledding, gingerbread building contest, lip sync, board games, and so much more. There will be plenty of great food, snacks, and hot chocolate throughout the weekend! We hope you can join us for this awesome weekend together.

WHEN: Friday, December 28, 2018 through Sunday, December 30, 2018. Plan to arrive between 7:00 – 8:00 PM on Friday. Dinner will not be served at camp, so please eat before you arrive. The reunion will end at 2:00 PM on Sunday.

SALT and LDP: Your Winter Reunion will start 24 hours earlier. Please plan to arrive between 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM on Thursday, December 27th. Dinner will be served at 5:30pm in the Dining Hall.

WHERE: Brookwoods and Deer Run

MESSAGE: We are excited to host Reverend Dr. Craig Higgins, Senior Pastor at Trinity Church in Rye, New York, as this year’s speaker. The theme is titled “Your Story,” focusing on the significance of your testimony and what God has done in your life. We will pull themes out of the Toy Story movies and also focus on Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved…” My hope is that you walk away from the weekend encouraged and aware of the story God has called you into!

WHAT TO EXPECT: 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, play games, roast marshmallows, and drink a lot of hot cocoa!

REGISTRATION COST: $125 per camper, and it’s open to campers ages 12 and up.

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 Friday, December 28th, and will return around 4:30 PM on Sunday, December 30th. The first 45 campers to register for the bus will get a seat!

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 Friday, December 28th. Flights should depart between 2:00 and 6:00 PM on Sunday, December 30st.

Transportation via bus or airport is complimentary and reservations are required. All reservations must be received either by the on-line registration or e-mailing on or before Monday, December 18th.

We can’t wait for the Brookwoods and Deer Run family to be here for the 2018 Winter Reunion. Camp is truly beautiful in the winter, and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Click the link to register!

Ben Tabone

Brookwoods Co-Director

Finding Joy in the Craziness of Christmas

Posted by on December 7, 2018

Finding Joy in the Craziness of Christmas

Esther C. Baird  

Well here we are, as you read this, the season of Advent is already upon us and if you are anything like me, that means mostly a season of increased business, stress, social obligations, and a stack of holiday catalogs that only serve to make your trash heavy.

Christmas has become a commercial and cultural extravaganza. We may know that there is more to Christmas, and we may show up to church on Sunday and say the right things, but if we’re honest, this time of year we often feel stress and anxiety instead of joy and peace. This time of year, by the time I get home at night I’m so exhausted that I no longer feel like there is anything to celebrate—certainly not that I still have to make dinner!

Well good news, if you feel that way, Advent is for you! There is true Joy, there is real Peace, and it’s for you, and it’s for me.

Jesus came at Christmas not as a one-off miracle, but as the continuation of the big story that God has been telling since He created the world. God wants to be with us. He always has. When we celebrate Advent, we are celebrating that God made a way to be with His people first in the Old Testament, then through the real and physical presence of Jesus on earth. Now, He makes a way to be with us through His Spirit who dwells in us. Always and forever God wants to be with us, that’s what Immanuel means, “God with us”.

Yes, Advent is about celebrating the coming of Jesus as a baby, but it is also about looking forward to when Jesus will return. When you sing, Joy to the World the Lord has Come,you are anticipating the promise that Jesus will come again. Joy to the world because Jesus came as a baby but He is also coming back someday! Joy to the world because when Christ returns, all the things that are now broken will be redeemed. Joy to the world because our lives, our exhaustion, our broken relationships, our sorrows, all of it will be set right if we follow the King who came that first Christmas and who is coming again. Joy to the world because this is not the end of the story.

Christmas is about always and forever. Christmas is a year-round celebration (tell your campers to request Christmas carols next summer for morning worship!). This Advent we believe that God has been making a way since the beginning of time to be with us and promises us a future where exhaustion and stress and sorrow will be no more. If we believe that, then no matter what else happens this year, we can claim true Joy.

Joy for the Christmas story, that we are part of today and forever.

Esther Baird (pictured above with her daughter Riley on pick up day at Deer Run) is the Director of Women’s Ministries at her church north of Boston, and a columnist in her local newspaper. Her two daughters have attended Deer Run and MRO for 7 yrs. Her new 25 day daily Advent book,Exodus to Advent: God’s Christmas Plan For You, And For Me, is now available on Amazon both in paperback and on Kindle. Her website is:

MRO’s Merry Friendsmas!

Posted by on November 30, 2018

MRO’s Merry Friendsmas

If you were there in 2016, it’s easy to remember how this “thing” got started. Craig and Michelle Boronow invited former MRO staff to their Wolfeboro home for the very first MRO Friendsgiving. We packed out every nook and cranny…kitchen, fire pit, living room, dining room, even the garage! Our crew included Windfall rafting guides, MRO staff, both old and young, and a few staff that had worked at MRO before Craig became Director. Even though it was a cold overcast day, it didn’t matter, we had a great time. We enjoyed catching up with each other, laughing together, and reminisced over our shared MRO experiences.

Last year we changed the timing to after Thanksgiving…hence, Friendsmas (and it was a great excuse to break out those crazy ugly sweaters). Between former staff, spouses, and kids, sixty of us took over the Brookwoods Dining Hall for the afternoon. Peter Newton cooked turkey and everyone brought their favorite side dish and dessert. Sounds just like Thanksgiving, right? Folks traveled from California, Virginia, Boston, New York and Maine via planes, trains, and automobiles. This bond that we’ve created, laboring together at MRO to show campers Christ and teach them from God’s word, has become something greater than just friendship. It’s family. And just like we travel for Thanksgiving without thinking twice, MRO Friendsmas is the same, definitely worth the trip to New Hampshire.

The best thing about Friendsmas is the best thing about MRO: The people! Each year the staff that attend Friendsmas changes just a little as work and life will change circumstances. This year will be no different than the first…we will catch up, play some crazy games, and hear how God has been working in each other’s lives.

If you’d like to join us, RSVP here Don’t forget your ugly sweater and favorite Christmas swag!


Looking forward to seeing you!

Seth Coates, MRO Director


P.S. Brookwoods and Deer Runners, if this post makes you camp-sick, Winter Reunion is coming up! You can register here.

Generosity, Happiness, Thankfulness… Which comes first?

Posted by on November 20, 2018

Ann Higgins,  Director of Development

It’s the season of Thanksgiving, complete with feasting and family gatherings and football. It’s also a time when many of us give of our time and resources to help those less fortunate in our communities. All of these things are good. And all of them make us feel good too (unless your sports team loses!). Being happy and content is a good thing, but it’s also something that is elusive for many of us, evidenced by the plethora of books and articles that have been published recently on the subject.  Just google “how to be happy” and you’ll see what I mean!

There have even been scientific studies on the subject and many of them have shown a link between generosity and happiness, specifically, that generous people are happier people. One study, conducted at the University of Zurich and quoted in Psychology Today, even makes a biological connection between being kind or generous and feeling better about yourself:

“The study shows that generosity truly is enough to boost personal happiness, and that generosity doesn’t need to border on martyrdom to be effective. Helping others, in any way that we can, is enough to lead us toward a brighter tomorrow.” 

This should be no surprise to believers in Jesus. We know the one who made us, and we are intimately joined to him. We also know that we are made in his image. This creator God of ours is a generous God, giving us all we need for light and life. He provides for our physical needs and also surrounds us with His beautiful creation for us to enjoy. In addition to that, he gives us himself in the person and work of Jesus. Jesus reveals to us the true nature of our generous God when he heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, welcomes the little children, and feeds the five thousand. And then ultimately, he gives of himself on the cross to redeem a people for himself. Of course, our only response is to give thanks and rejoice in this wonderful reality. And then, to go on to model God’s generosity to others!

At Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost, we are certainly thankful for these things and for many other blessings we have witnessed at camp this year. More campers than ever came through our gates in 2018, and we are especially grateful for the 215 campers who made the trek up to Moose River Outpost, our beautiful property in Jackman, ME. We are also giving thanks for the generosity of everyone who boosted the Scholarship Fund by $59,000 during our Weekend of Giving. We were (and still are!) amazed and humbled at this outpouring of love and support. We know that nothing happens at camp without the prayers and support of the camp family.  It is only with this ongoing support that we can fulfill our mission of seeing lives transformed for Christ.

When I think about how many campers and families have come through our gates over the past 75 years, I am amazed at how often we have had the privilege of sharing the good news of the gospel and inviting campers to commune with God amidst his magnificent creation. It’s mind boggling! My only response is thankfulness to our generous Father in heaven. That kind of thankfulness results in something even better than happiness, it results in a deep sense of joy and awe at this wonderful God whom we serve.

At this time of year, let’s remember to not just be thankful in general, but to be thankful to, and for, our generous God! As believers, let’s remember that our responses of happiness, joy, and generosity reflect the nature of our loving heavenly Father, the one who made us to be like him.


Soyoung Q. Park, Thorsten Kahnt, Azade Dogan, Sabrina Strang, Ernst Fehr, Philippe N. Tobler. A neural link between generosity and happiness. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 15964 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15964

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

Weekend of Giving: July 20-22, 2018

Posted by on July 12, 2018

Every summer, over 20% of our campers require financial assistance to attend Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost. The need for scholarships is on-going and it’s our heartfelt desire to make our summer camps available to a wider population. Last summer, we gifted over $225,000 to bring more kids to camp.

Be a Changemaker!Commit to helping transform lives by donating to our Scholarship Fund during our Weekend of Giving, July 20th – 22nd. We need your help to reach our goal of raising $25,000 in three days!

Give online at  You can also help by downloading the graphic above and sharing it on your social media to encourage others to give.  Thank you!

Questions? Please email Ann Higgins, Director of Development: