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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!

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

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.