Author Archives: director

New Camp Director Announced

Meet our Next Camp Director!

The Birchwood Camp board of directors is pleased to announce the selection of Relena Lyddon Myers as the next Camp Director. Relena brings nonprofit and camp executive experience and a passion for camping ministries. Relena is completing her coursework in Outdoor Leadership at Denver Seminary. Relena will move to Birchwood Camp in June with her husband, Tommy, and their two children.

RelenaBirchwood Camp is a United Methodist camping ministry of the Alaska United Methodist Conference. Birchwood Camp builds community on common ground by offering camps for children, youth and adults and hosting groups from faith communities, nonprofits, schools, government and private organizations.

You may send words of welcome to Relena and her family at rmlmyers29@gmail.com.

Our current Camp Director, Marie Sweezey, will remain in her role until July 1 (read more about the Sweezeys transition here). She will have a period of training and overlap with Relena in June. If you have questions about the leadership transition, contact Board President Nora Ortiz Fredrick at ofredrick@me.com.

Birchwood Volunteer Club

We are looking for volunteers to join the newly established Birchwood Volunteer Club. The Volunteer Club will meet on the first Sunday afternoon of each month (with some exceptions for holidays or summer camps) to work on various maintenance & grounds projects around camp. Volunteer Club members don’t need to be available every month but can attend when their schedule allows. Once you “join the club” we’ll send you details and a reminder about the monthly work day.

We are looking for people with the following skills:

  • General construction/repair skills
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Chainsaw & log-splitting

If you want to join the Birchwood Volunteer Club, contact Stephen, our camp manager: 907-688-2734 or manager@birchwoodcamp.org.

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Giving Tuesday

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Double Your Gift on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving that takes place each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday creates a moment around the holidays dedicated to giving—similar to how Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have become synonymous with holiday shopping. On this day, we invite you to give to Birchwood Camp by donating or volunteering in a way that is personally meaningful.

Over the last 2 years Birchwood Camp has had a wonderful Giving Tuesday match grant opportunity, which is available again in 2015! Last year you gave an amazing $15,540 in just 24 hours to support the important work of faith formation & character development that happens at Birchwood Camp. This year you can double your support for Birchwood Camp through the UMC Giving Tuesday match campaign and make the Birchwood Camp experience possible! This opportunity is provided by the Global Ministries division of the United Methodist Church (UMC) through their direct giving program, “The Advance,” which means 100% of your gift supports Birchwood Camp. On December 1, 2015gifts made to Birchwood Camp through Advance #931068 have the chance to be matched.

The Important Details:

This match grant is available to all United Methodist Advance projects across the globe, not just Birchwood Camp. It’s very important to follow the directions below so that your gift has the best chance of being matched on Giving Tuesday.

  1. You must make your gift by credit or debit card during the specified hours below at our project page on the Advance website. Here’s the direct link: http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/931068.  (If you go to the main Advance website please search for Birchwood Camp, project #931068). 
  2. UMC Global Ministries will allocate matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 1, 2015, between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Central TimeThis is a change from last year, when the time frame was based on Eastern Time.
  3. Please note that for western US time zones the match grant actually opens on November 30th at: 9:00p.m. Alaska Time, 10:00p.m.  Pacific Time, 11:00p.m. Mountain Time.  We recommend setting a reminder on your phone, computer or calendar for the time the match grant opens in your time zone.
  4. TIMING MATTERS: During the last two years the matching funds were used up within the first 10-60 minutes of giving. We suggest making your gift as soon as giving opens in your time zone for a better chance that your gift will be matched!
  5. The Fine Print: A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. Birchwood Camp may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds on Giving Tuesday.

Help reach Birchwood Camp’s $25,000 giving goal by making a gift as soon as the Giving Tuesday campaign opens!

Why Participate?

IMG_4609YOU will make the camp experience possible for kids! Your financial
gift gives them opportunities to create friendships, explore their faith, practice courage by trying new things, and learn how to live as part of a caring community that is like no other. Your support is vital; in order to make the camp experience accessible to all families, the fees we charge for our camping programs are much lower than the actual cost of running these programs. Your gift actually makes camp happen!

Leadership Announcement

Update: May 3, 2016 the new Camp Director is Announced! Read about it here.

November 9, 2015

The Birchwood Camp Board of Directors is sad to announce the resignation of Marie Sweezey, Camp Director, and Stephen Sweezey, Program Manager/ Camp Manager, effective at the end of the summer camping season 2016. The Sweezeys will return to the Lower Forty-Eight to be closer to family. “Marie and Stephen will be greatly missed at Birchwood Camp and throughout the community,” said Nora Ortiz Fredrick, Birchwood Camp Board President.

Over the past six and a half years, Marie has brought significant positive changes to Birchwood camps, collaborative relationships, finances and facility management. Marie has done an outstanding job working with the many campers, families, organizations and private groups that come to Birchwood Camp to build community on common ground. Stephen’s leadership has deepened the reach that Birchwood Camp has on the lives and spirituality of campers and guest groups. His commitment to innovative programs and activities means many people cherish their Birchwood Camp experience.

“We both love the community, mission and ministry of Birchwood Camp,” said the Sweezeys in a joint letter to the Board, “and we feel honored to have had the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization. However, we feel that is the right time for us to transition out of leadership at Birchwood.”

The Board of Directors will begin a nation-wide search to recruit qualified leaders to continue the important ministry work of Birchwood Camp. Information about open positions is available on the Job Opportunities page.

For more information on the leadership transition, contact Nora Ortiz Fredrick.

Send a message to Marie Sweezey. Send a message to Stephen Sweezey.

2015 Annual Dinner & Auction

Annual Dinner and Auction 15

UPDATE 10.6.2015: Thanks to everyone for making this a wonderful event again this year! We had a full house of Birchwood supporters in the Lodge on Sunday enjoying good food, community and fun. In addition, we raised over $11,000 to support the mission and ministry of Birchwood Camp. THANK YOU!

WHO: Everyone’s invited! This event is for people who care about camp and support our mission and ministry; it is also a great time to find out more about what Birchwood Camp is all about. Bring a friend! Kids are welcome to attend with their parents– we will have childcare available in Caribou Cabin after dinner. Seating is limited so please RSVP to 907.688.2734 or by email.

WHAT: Birchwood Camp’s Annual Meeting, Dinner and Auction. During this annual event we do a few things: celebrate of the past year of ministry, elect new board members, enjoy a meal together, and support the mission of our camp through the live and silent auction. This year the funds raised at this event will help purchase a new, efficient water heater & boiler for the camp’s bath house.

WHEN: Sunday, October 4, beginning at 4:00 pm with tours of the Camp. The silent auction will open at 4:30 pm in the Main Lodge. The meal will begin at 5:00 pm, with the program and live auction to follow. We plan to wrap up the event around 7:30 pm.

WHERE: This year the Annual Dinner & Auction will be held in the Main Lodge at Birchwood Camp. Click here for directions.

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HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US on October 4th!

 

click here to rSVP BY EMAIL

 

AUCTION ITEMS:  See below for a short list and some photos of a few of our auction items. We’ll be updating this list as more items come in, so check back! We usually have a wide variety of items, from beautiful handmade goods to gift certificates to local businesses to overnight getaways to fishing trips. If you’d like to donate an item for our auction, please contact our office manager, Radie (907-688-2734 or info@birchwoodcamp.org).

  • 2016 Rainbow fishing trip for two with Dave Wilson of “Let’s Go Fishing Charters”
  • One week stay at Las Vegas, NV Condo (3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, gated community with pool, 7 miles from the strip & the airport)
  • Two night stay for two in Alaska Cottonwood B&B, located in a quiet but centralized Anchorage location
  • Round-trip tickets for two from Anchorage to Seward in Coastal Classic Adventure Class on the Alaska Railroad
  • Family season pass to the Alaska Fine Arts Academy in Eagle River
  • Dimond Center Family Fun Pack 5 bowling passes, 5 ice skating passes, 1 week gym pass, VIP savings book
  • Guardian Angel “Designed and crafted by Al Kline
  • Beautiful nine piece Nativity Set, designed and crafted by Al Kline
  • Psalm Lake Print Limited edition glicee print of original watercolor by Aileen Austin
  • Anchorage: Life at the Edge of the Frontier, Photo book
  • Framed Photo  by Walt Hays: Autumn in Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska
  • Handmade Scarf & Hat Hand knit from yarn made with wool, silk, angora, mohair, and camel-hair
  • $50 Gift certificate to Moose’s Tooth
  • Homemade Leche Flan – a Delicious Filipino dessert made by Radie Rapanut, our office manager & amazing chef!
  • $50 Gift certificates (2) to Skinny Raven
  • Handcrafted Holiday Snowman
  • Delicious homemade cookies baked by Carla Wight
  • Two large 12 x 12 fused glass plates with beautiful deep fall colors; handmade by Mindy Meyn
  • Goblet by Bruce Shellenbaum; made from local birch
  • Bowl by Bruce Shellenbaum; made from Birchwood Camp wood
  • Pizza Coupons to Round Table Pizza 2 coupons for one large 3 topping pizza from Round Table Pizza in the Dimond Mall
  • Large handmade Zebra tote bag by Megan Rutherford
  • Canvas Print (16×32) of Denali photo
  • Small birch bowl from Birchwood Camp birch tree; handmade by Gayland Wohlgemuth
  • Birch Plate Large birch plate/dish from Birchwood Camp birch tree; handmade by Gayland Wohlgemuth
  • Handmade table made from spruce and diamond willow, 32″ tall and 36″ across; crafted by Wayne Martin
  • Athabascan fan made with spruce feathers and decorated with caribou hair
  • Sourdough Waffle Feast for 6-8 people served at the location of your choice
  • Fun Halloween themed wreath
  • Lime green with poppy flowers designed bracelet and a pair of matching earrings
  • Appetizers for 12 people- perfect for your party of choice!
  • Loaves of homemade bread
  • Intricate 13.5″ round mosaic art piece created by Karen Williams

Birchwood Camp’s Wish List

Canoes and Psalm Lake

We are often in need of new and/or gently used items for the camp. We keep a “wish list” posted on our support and sustain page. Please email us or call us at 907-688-2734 if you have an item to donate or would like additional details. We will provide you with a donation in kind receipt that you can use for tax purposes.

Current Wish List:

  • A new riding lawn mower
  • A small tractor with front end loader and PTO drive
  • A new electric range (residential) for the Caribou Cabin kitchen
  • A new full/queen comforter for Sourdough Cabin
  • A sponsor for our new outdoor pavilion (to replace the failing picnic shelter)
  • Sponsors for the furniture (tables & chairs) for Lower Fireweed Hall
  • Curtains for Fireweed Hall (contact for specifics)
  • Snacks & food items for summer staff (contact for specifics)
  • Assorted craft supplies (contact us for specifics)
  • Air miles to help transport our interns and summer staff to Alaska

2015 Spring Open House: Sunday, May 3

You are invited to join us for this awesome, family friendly event on Sunday, May 3, 2015! Those who would like to get some exercise & see a nice view of our camp grounds can join us for  our 1 mile Fun Run/Walk at 2pm. Proceeds from the Fun Run support Birchwood Camp’s scholarship fund. We’ll also have free open house, campfire & fun around camp, with activities to enjoy with your family. We hope you’ll join us for all or part of our annual spring Open House at Birchwood Camp!

2pm: Annual 1 Mile Fun Run/ Walk

2014 Fun RunJoin us for some exercise in the beautiful outdoors and help make camp experiences possible for kids!  You can run, walk, skip, bike or even cart-wheel.  Fun Run participants must check in at the Camp Office between 1:45-2:00 pm During this time, participants will pick up their bibs, sign in for their event, and get a quick trail briefing. Fun Run start time is 2:00 pm.

We love it when participants pre-register for the Fun Run, as it makes everything run smoother on May 3rd. See the links below to register online.  Sorry, there will be no refunds if you register early and can’t make it!

Your Fun Run entry fee is by donation and supports camp programs & scholarships. We suggest a minimum $10 donation per person, and we encourage you to generously support camp in whatever way you can.
 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

An awards ceremony for the top finishers for the 1 mile fun run/walk will take place at 2:30 pm at the fire circle.

2:30 – 5:00 pm: Open House

Around the camp fire

Enjoy a free, family friendly afternoon at our site in Chugiak (South Birchwood Exit). There will be lots of great activities like s’mores around the camp fire, games & fun around camp. Our trails will be open for hiking, and we hope to have canoeing available, weather permitting.

Tours of the cabins & camp grounds will be available for those new to Birchwood Camp. Our open house is a free event and a great way to introduce friends & young children to Birchwood Camp! Everyone is welcome – no need to RSVP.

 

2014 Annual Dinner & Auction

2014 Annual Dinner & Auction

WHO: Everyone’s invited! This event is for people who care about camp and support our mission and ministry; it is also a great time to find out more about what Birchwood Camp is all about. Bring a friend! Kids are welcome to attend with their parents– we will have childcare available in the Main Lodge after dinner. Seating is limited so please RSVP to 907.688.2734 or by email.

WHAT: Birchwood Camp’s Annual Meeting, Dinner and Auction. During this annual event we do a few things: celebrate of the past year of ministry, elect new board members, enjoy a meal together, and support the mission of our camp through the live and silent auction. This year the funds raised at this event will support our camp scholarship fund and the help add bathrooms to Fireweed Hall.

WHEN: Sunday, October 26, beginning at 4:30 pm. The silent auction will open at 4:30 pm in Fireweed Hall at Birchwood Camp. The meal will begin at 5:00 pm, with the program and live auction to follow. We plan to wrap up the event by 7:30 pm.

WHERE: This year the Annual Dinner & Auction will be held in the beautiful, new Fireweed Hall at Birchwood Camp. Click here for directions.

AUCTION ITEMS: We will be posting a list of auction items here and updating it periodically. We usually have a wide variety of items, from beautiful handmade goods to overnight getaways to fishing trips. If you’d like to donate an item for our auction, please contact our office manager, Radie (info@birchwoodcamp.org).

Hope you can join us!

Birchwood Camp’s Spring Open House: Saturday, May 10, 2014

You are invited to join us for this awesome, family friendly event on Saturday, May 10, 2014! Those who would like to get some exercise & see a nice view of our camp grounds can join us for  our 1 mile Fun Run/Walk in the morning. Proceeds from the Fun Run support Birchwood Camp’s scholarship fund. We’ll also have free open house & campfire lunch afterwards with activities to enjoy with your family. We hope you’ll join us for all or part of our annual spring Open House at Birchwood Camp!

10am: Annual 1 Mile Fun Run/ Walk

RunningFun Run participants must check in at Fireweed Hall between 9:15 and 9:45 am. During this time, participants will pick up their bibs, sign in for their event, and get a quick trail briefing. Fun Run start time is 10:00 am.

We love it when participants preregister for the Fun Run, and you can save yourself a couple bucks by signing up early. See the links below to preregister online.  Sorry, there will be no refunds if you preregister and can’t make it — consider it a donation!

Fun run entry fees:
$10 fun run early registration
$15 on the day of event
Kids ages 12 and under are half price
$50 cap for immediate families
 

REGISTER FOR THE 2014 BIRCHWOOD FUN RUN/ WALK

An awards ceremony for the top finishers for the 1 mile fun run/walk will take place at 10:30 am at the fire circle.

10:30am – 2pm: Open House & Music Festival

Around the camp fireJoin us for hot dogs, S’mores and more around the campfire. Tours of the cabins & grounds will be available for those new to Birchwood. Come see what’s new at Birchwood if you haven’t been out for a while; Enjoy a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere; Take a walk around our lake or enjoy activities with your family.  Lunch will start around 11am and you may come and go as you please throughout the open house.

There will even be live music this year from 11:00am to 2:00 pm on the deck of Fireweed Hall!! Check out our music line up for the open house:

-St. John UMC Anchorage Praise Team
-Melissa Beck
-Birchwood Woodchucks!
-UMC Chugiak Praise Team

The open house is a free event and a great way to introduce friends & young children to Birchwood Camp!

2013 Annual Dinner & Auction

Annual Dinner 2013

Who: Everyone’s invited! This event is for people who care about camp and support our mission and ministry; it is also a great time to find out more about what Birchwood Camp is all about. Bring a friend! Kids are welcome to attend with their parents– we will have childcare available in Caribou Cabin after dinner. Seating is limited so please RSVP to 907.688.2734 or  by email.

What: Birchwood Camp’s Annual Meeting, Dinner and Auction. During this annual event we do a few things: celebrate of the past year of ministry, elect new board members, enjoy a meal together, and support the mission of our camp through the live and silent auction. This year the funds raised at this event will support our camp scholarship fund and will help finish the lower level of Fireweed Hall.

When: Sunday, October 20, beginning at 4:30 pm. The silent auction will open at 4:30 pm in the Main Lodge at Birchwood Camp. The meal will begin at 5:00 pm, with the program and live auction to follow. We plan to wrap up the event by 7:30 pm.

Where: The Main Lodge at Birchwood Camp. Click here for directions.

Auction Items as of October 19

Here is the running list of auction items with some photos below. Be sure to check back, because we are receiving new items all the time.

  • Two hour photo session with Sanctuary Photography
  • Southern Style BBQ with all the Fixings’ for 8-10 people
  • Two fused glass 10 x 10 serving trays with beautiful fern design hand crafted by Mindy Meyn
  • Large 12 x 12 fused glass platter with leaf design hand crafted by Mindy Meyn
  • Delicious Chocolate Chip cookies baked by Carla Wight
  • Two night stay at Alaska Cottonwood B&B in Anchorage
  • “Dessert of the Month” by Barb Stratton
  • Trapper Creek getaway at the Quinley’s Cabin
  • 2014 Rainbow fishing trip for two with guide Dave Wilson of “Let’s Fish Guide Service”
  • Two handmade glass plates by local artist, EmKay
  • Assorted Filipino Desserts by Radie Rapanut
  • Handmade quilt by Esther Davidson
  • Weekend getaway in Vacation Home on Knik Goose Bay road
  • “Mother Brown Bear with Three Cubs” wood carving; designed and crafted by Al Kline
  • “Mother Polar Bear with Two Cubs” wood carving; designed and handcrafted by Al Kline
  • Maple & Lacewood “Swan” designed and crafted by Al Kline Wood
  • “Creche ” designed and crafted by Al Kline
  • Sourdough Waffle Feast for 6-8 people by Betty Burke
  • Photo book: “Anchorage: Life at the Edge of the Frontier”
  • Framed Tulip Photo by JoAnn Shore
  • Giclee print of Psalm Lake and the outdoor chapel
  • Outdoor Gear Bag from ConocoPhillips
  • African Wall Hanging
  • Large Fall Photo on Canvas by Rev. Peter Perry
  • Several sets of photo greeting cards by Rev. Peter Perry
  • Perfect Gift Wrapping Basket – Donated by St. John United Methodist Women’s group
  • Gift box from Alaska Wildberry Company
  • Multi-colored woven scarf from Cabin Fever
  • Jelly Basket by Benee Braden
  • A hand knit scarf and another hand knit scarf & hat combo
  • Quilted 24 x 23 Birchwood wall hanging by Susan Williams
  • Small handmade mittens by a woman from Bristol Bay Village
  • Russian floral scarf
  • “Family movie night” basket
  • “Peace” and “Love” wall plaques
  • Purple handbag and matching wallet
  • Several other small art & decoration pieces
  • And more…

Photo Gallery (click on photos to enlarge):