SPRING AT BETHEL PARK Monday, May 4 2009 

Each year, twice a year in Spring and Fall, Bethel Park Retreat Center holds a work week.  Our staff plans projects that could not be done without the assistance of our faithful supporters.  Everyone is welcome.  Work this year centers around the Pop Stand or the Concession Stand. The regular staff at Bethel Park had started working on the remodel/renovations about a month ago and now we are ready for the major stuff to begin. They will be adding windows, changing the look mainly on the inside. As well as working on the grounds, the landscaping and taking out a few trees here and there. Check out today’s pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fobpm/ and check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/fobpm/sets/72157615647733448/ for upstanding renovations. More on this is coming as the week progresses.

Enjoy the pictures.

blogg staff.

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Family Reunion Retreat Thursday, Apr 23 2009 

Its not too early and not too late for 2009 or 2010.  If your family is planning a summer reunion and you usually go to a hotel, why not try a retreat center instead?  An increasing number of family’s are looking into reserving space at retreat centers.  It makes it convenient for everyone to be in one place together at the same time and not be so scattered and might get those who could not come because of the distance a reason to make this year.  The pricing includes lodging and meals.  Recreation and activities can be arranged in the area local to the retreat center and box lunch meals can be prepared and taken to any activities that might be planned.  For example; one family arranged for their men to charter a fishing boat, the ladies decided to go to shopping for the day.  Some decided on golf or sunbathing on the shore of Lake Michigan.  In the evening they all arrived back the the retreat center to eat the catch of the day, reminisce about the events  and enjoy an evening set aside for conversation and/or  games.  Another family decided that since they could not celebrate each persons birthday together they decided to have a family birthday party.  Each person bought a gift to exchange and they had a large cake with candles on it.   Some have gathered for a family reunion and a milestone anniversary celebration.  The list of ideas can go on.  The key is picking a place thats suitable and central to the family members.  Make sure the event planner is there to assist you in planning the event.  Then  research the site and local area for entertaining things to do.  If your family members are from big cities, then a quiet, relaxing location will add a special touch.  A retreat center can be an ideal place to make it happen.

Blog staff

Bethel Park Menu’s Tuesday, Apr 21 2009 

Think about a home cooked meal.   How about chicken breasts, maybe with raspberry sauce; or pork roast.  Maybe you want to try something new, an ethnic menu.  Ever thought about German food?  How about Chinese or Mexican?  Vegetarian/Vegan maybe?  Bethel Park Retreat Center meals are more than just your hot dogs and hamburgers or mac & cheese…everyday fare.  Although we can and do serve that if you want.  Here are just some examples of what we can and have done.

Basic Menu Example

Breakfast:
Scrambled Eggs, Sausage or Bacon, Toast, Fruit, breakfast cake – or – Pancakes, Sausage or Bacon, Fruit, muffin – or – Biscuit & gravy, cinnamon roll, hot cereal

Lunch:
Ham with cherry & pineapple glaze, red potatoes, corn, roll, dessert – or – Breaded Chicken breast, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll, & dessert

Dinner:
Ham or Turkey wraps with coleslaw and veggie tray, brownie for dessert – or – Tuna stuffed tomato on a bed of lettuce, slice of pickle and dessert

Premium Menu Example

Breakfast:
Sausage, broccoli, tomato, & cheese Frittata. A light cream cheese filled pastry with blueberry topping. A lightly toasted Bagel or Croissant with a variety of freezer jams.

Lunch:
Beef or chicken Enchilada’s. Four-bean & mango salad -or- A variety of pasta’s including but not limited to Spaghetti & meatballs -or- Mostacholi, Manicotti, or Tortellini Lasagna, beef or vegetarian

Dinner:
Sesame seared Tuna with a orange & avocado salsa -or- Prime Rib with baked potato, vegetable & dessert -or- Cornish Hen baked to perfection, red potatoes with butter & dill sauce

Basic Vegetarian Menu

Breakfast:

Granola/Kashi cereals, Cinnamon Sticky buns; or Apple Carrot Muffins,

Fruit, yogurt

Lunch:

Baked Ziti or Penne Pasta with tomato “cream” sauce, Salad bar with Black eyed Susan salad; or Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Aioli, Salad Bar, Pumpkin pie or lemon bars

Dinner:

Baked Potato Bar, Posole (Chili) with Cornbread, Fruit or Fruit salad bar, Salad bar, Spice cake; or Lasagna, Green Beans with Ginger Sesame Sauce, Salad bowl with dressing, breadsticks, & carrot cake.

Premium Vegetarian Menu – (Vegan)

Breakfast:

Cereals, Cranana Nut Bread, Apple Carrot Muffins, Fruit,

Soy milks & Hummus/breads or Granola, Fresh Fruit Quiche, & Muffins

Lunch:

Garlicky Mango Soup or Winter Vegetable Stew, A salad melody

of Santa Fe Rice, Artichoke Salad, Tai Pineapple Salad, and Barley

Salad with corn and peas, & fruit pudding or Roasted Ratatouille & Portobello Mushrooms with Basil Aioli, Olive Rosemary Flatbread, Noodle Casserole with Apples & Almonds

Dinner:

Tofu “Schnitzel” and cabbage, smashed potatoes, Greens with Tangerine Ginger Vinaigrette, & chocolate cream cake.

We have been asked by our potential guests if we allow them to cook their meals.  Our kitchen is fully staffed by capable people who create the menu for your group and add their special touches to the dishes.  Its all inclusive in our pricing.  If you have a special recipe(s) that you want made, we can work that out for you.  We like to make sure everyone is satisfied.  Many people have food allergies and need special attention in the preparation of their meals.  Our staff will work around those concerns as well offering alternatives.  Just let your leader know and then identify yourself to our staff upon your arrival.  Preparing the meals is one hassle that you as the event leader/planner will have not have to worry about.  No one will go away hungry.

Blog Staff

Activities in your Retreat Event Monday, Apr 20 2009 

bpm-banner-picture

When looking for a site for your group, one  question that’s often asked is do you provide activities.  To a group that will be spending a majority of its time in session, this may not be an issue.  Bethel Park Retreat Center allows each group to be creative and allows them to work on their own schedule of events and activities.  The activities we have can be enhanced by allowing your own creative juices to flow.  Unlike most centers, who require their attendees to follow a time schedule, we allow the group to make its own use of the time spent on our site.  You schedule the times of your sessions, the meal times, the free or recreation times and the Bon Fire.  This offers you the flexibility to carry out the original intent of holding the retreat in the first place.

In a society where time is money and every second counts, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What do I want to schedule into the weekend?  Training, leisure, activities, Spiritual time etc.
  2. Do I want the group to relax or do I want to schedule up every minute of the time? Do you want them to be rushed to each activity?
  3. Do I want the group to feel they are away from their life at home, or is the retreat just an extension of their home life?
  4. What do I want to give them during the retreat to take with them when they leave an go home?
  5. What can the retreat center do to aid (or what can it provide to help) in achieving these goals?

Whatever your intent or purpose is for holding the retreat, explore the possibility that activities may not be that important and its the over all impact that is made.

Blog Staff

Bethel Park Retreat Center’s Wish list Friday, Apr 3 2009 

Every organization has it needs and wants. Bethel Park Retreat Center is of course no different. Here is ours. If you wish to donate towards any of these items or have these items available in a gently used, like new, excellent working condition; we would appreciate your help. A tax receipt can be made out at your request.

  • GE Dehumidifier – $400

  • EchoQuest Fresh Air Purifier – $700

  • Drill Press – $200

  • Aluminum Sheet Metal Break – 8′ minimum – $?

  • Wide Screen Projection Units – $500 – $1000

  • Portable Screen – $100

  • Pulpits and lecterns – $300 ea

  • Commercial Grade Washing Machine – $1,200

  • ProTeam carry around Canister Vacuum Cleaner – Commercial Grade – $400

  • Hot Tub – $?

  • Hot Tub Chemicals – $?

  • Refrigerator shelving – Stainless steel – $60

  • Inflatable Water Slides – Large – $400

  • Meat Slicer – $?

  • Portable Salad Bar – $?

  • Portable Soup Bar Kettles $?

  • Commercial Grade 4+ Slice Toaster – $75

  • New mattresses – Twin Size – $250 ea.

  • Bowl for Hobart Mixer Model A200 20 quart large capacity – $?

  • 2000 psi Pressure Washer – $500

  • Water Efficient Toilets – $200 ea.

  • 36″ Exterior Doors – $200

  • 32″ Exterior Doors – $200

  • Tabernacle Seating – $50 each

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check back often as more items will be added to this list.

Contact us at:

Bethel Park Retreat Center

9973 S. Church Street

P.O. Box 480

Bridgman, MI 49106

(269) 465-6669

(269) 465-4705 – Fax

For Tax receipt contact: Marty@bpcamp.com

For questions information/description of items on list contact: Christin@bpcamp.com

http://www.BPRetreat.org

Bargining Power Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

DSC00807Hi all,

One of the main goals of an event planner is to find the right location for the right price.  Budgets are tight and finding the right Retreat Center is more critical today than ever before.  Here are a few tips to help find the right location for a better price.

1.  If the Retreat Center in question has a calendar that shows availability, check for the months with the least bookings.  Of course you need to be flexible in when your event can take place.   Many Retreat Centers are wanting to fill slow times and will lower their price to get the business.  This website has a calendar for 2009 and 2010.  (Bethel Park Retreat Center Web Site)

2.  Bring more guests.  There are power in numbers.  Retreat Centers crave for booking larger events.  If your group isn’t that large, ask if the Retreat Center can book your group along with another.  Chances are if the Retreat Center can accommodate multiple groups, the second and third group may get a better price.

3.  Stay longer.  The longer your event, the more the Retreat Center will want to work with you.  Obviously you don’t want to stretch your event longer than is needed, but the dollar per guest will become more favorable the longer you stay.  Just a thought.

I hope these ideas help in finding the right place for the right price.

The Blog Staff

How do you determine the value of a Retreat Center? Monday, Mar 9 2009 

Hi all,

Recently the question was asked, “Is this Retreat Center a good value?”  The response isn’t as easy as one thinks.

Most people think value is determined by the amount paid for  the services rendered.   In today’s economy, price paid is now more of an indicator than even services rendered, the amenities, the local area, etc..  With that said, what should a Retreat Center Event Planner be focusing on?  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.  Can the potential Retreat Center meet the demands of our group.

2.  Can the Retreat Center adequately handle our group size and future expansion of our group size?

3.  For my group; is what I am paying for worth that price?

4. Ask for Testimonials.  Here is an incredible testimony from a past client of a Retreat Center.  This is a place that meets the needs of their clients.

These are some simple questions to ask and if the answer is ‘yes’ so far, then your moving closer to finding the right Retreat Center.

A few things you may NOT want to focus on due to the fact they typically don’t affect the outcome of your event.

1.  Are the roads and parking lots hard surfaced?  If the answer is ‘no’, then you are still ok.  Most attendees from larger cities are surrounded by cement everywhere.  It is a pleasant break from their normal environment.

2.  The exterior of the buildings don’t look brand new.  Again, make sure to check the interior rooms.  How well maintained are they?  How clean is everything?  How is the lighting for safety at nights?  These are better indicators of how well a Retreat Center is run.

3.  I don’t see a gymnasium or swimming pool?  While having on-site amenities are nice, that does not mean they are not nearby or readily available to that Retreat Center.  Often costs can be controlled by using other businesses amenities.

The question will return again and again, for what I am paying, am I getting that value in return?  If the answer is ‘yes’, then you are one step further to finding the right Retreat Center.

The Blog Staff

Event Planners Choice Monday, Mar 2 2009 

To any event planner who wants to hold a retreat and plan their own events and set their own schedules, Bethel Park Retreat Center is just that.  A year round gathering place for education, spiritual renewal, family connection and recreation, through seminars, and retreats in a camp environment. The facility is open to all people, all ages, all backgrounds and all cultures.  In the last several years, Bethel Park Retreat Center has worked to expand its facility.  As of 2004, over 100,000 children, youth and adults have experienced the rejuvenating effect of a Bethel Park Retreat.  They take pleasure in helping to provide a wholesome and peaceful place for groups to hold their retreats.  For more information check out the website Bethel Park Retreat Center.

Going to a New Location? What to look for? Monday, Mar 2 2009 

While many organizations have their favorite spot for their retreat, life will throw a curve ball at you and you will need to find another retreat location.  When this happens make sure to do some research in to the new local area.  Does the location in question belong to a local directory which provides customers with a businesses of the area?  This retreat center gives you the website of that organization.

Each retreat will have some items very specific to that group.  For instance, men’s retreats may want to go golfing, woman’s retreat may want to go walking or to a Nature Center. Youth retreats may need Health Clubs, swimming pools etc…  Bethel Park Retreat Center has a tool for Event Planners which provides all the local information in a book form.  When you visit that site, choose the Decision Guide.

Weko Beach Sunset

Above picture from Weko Beach which is 2 miles from Bethel Park Retreat Center.

Things to look for:

1.  Near by shopping for small items that attendees may have forgotten.

2.  Activities such as; beaches, lakes, shopping, golf, gyms, nature centers, orchards would be a good start when searching.

3.  In case of Emergencies, where are the local responders, local walk-in clinics, nearest hospital, pharmacies?

4.  Transportation needs:  Are there commercial buses available, trains, or airports nearby?

5.  How accessible is the Retreat location from major highways?

These are just a few of things that you may need to know if the Retreat location will fit your needs.

The Blog Staff

Event is done. How to make next year better. Friday, Feb 27 2009 

We hear all the time that this year’s event was a success but next year we want to achieve even more.   There are a few ways to start planning for a better retreat next year.

1.  While this past Retreat is fresh in your attendee’s memory, ask them for feedback.  Praising the event, the location, the food, the atmosphere, the theme, the Retreat Center staff, all creates excitement for the following year.  Those that did not make it to this years event, will surely be motivated that next year will be the same or better.

2.   Create a web page for your retreat event.  Post as many pictures as you can.  Bring up any positive topics that will draw people’s attention.  If the Retreat Center creates a web page for you, then supply the needed information to them.   We found that Bethel Park Retreat Center creates a simple webpage for it’s clients after the event is finished.  Here is an example of one.

3.  Take as many pictures as you can.  Pictures are worth a 1000 words.   This is not an exaggeration.  Nothing will entice potential attendees more than seeing what had happened at your events.

4.  Begin promoting your next event as soon as possible.  Give everyone ample time to fit your scheduled date in their calendars.

More to follow on this topic in the future.

The Blog Staff

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