Christmas Newsletter

The Vineyard

Christmas Grapevine

Dear Friends:


As you gather with those that you love—and those that love you—-to  celebrate the incredible glory and majesty of this holy season, may your home be filled with His peace, love and joy—-in abundance. 


On behalf of all our staff, thank you for being our friends over these past two, most difficult years.  We anticipate an abundance of God’s blessing in 2018.



From Our Pets


Everyone asks about the wolf, dogs and the other camp pets. All our well, but Penelope, the camp’s pot belly pig, has a new home with other pot belly cousins. We think that she is happier there. Kalah (our wolf) is loving the cold nights and brisk winter days, and the dachshunds (Jude and Biscuit) and Maggie are enjoying the warmth of the house.  All camp’s ducks survived the summer and fall (!) and are now are now housed in the barn to keep warm.


But by the time summer comes around we will probably add another pet or two. We will keep you informed in our next Grapevine!



From Dean’s Desk 


Last year I began writing little “thoughts” that came to my mind while I was traveling through France.  Each day I would send the thoughts, along with my daily report, to the staff at the camp. The staff encouraged me to consider a “blog” that I would create daily for others involved with the camp. 


It’s now been a year, so 365 blogs later I am going back over each of those musings of mine and correcting the bad grammar, incomplete sentences, etc that I apt use when I write quickly.  Many of you may have read those daily “devotions”,  and while not terribly cerebral or profound, some of you have told me that you appreciate the writings.


These blogs will now be put together in one book for those that might be interested.  It will represent one year of daily “thoughts” for the reader. Any profit the book makes will be given to The Vineyard Camp and Retreat Center.  I have no idea how long this will take to be published, but if you are interested let someone in our office know and we’ll try to reserve you a copy. Don’t worry, this will not be sold-out in a few weeks and will certainly not be a “best seller”, but to some it might be helpful. 


Again, to all those that have been reading the blogs and encouraging me to continue, thank you.


dean  barley,

Dean Barley

Presentations around the world 

Dean has already traveled all over France promoting the camp and still must travel (in January and February) to  Mexico,  Italy, Kenya and Poland.  If you would like the camp presented in your home to your friends, by Dean or another staff, please let us know. It’s a blessing to us and you can earn thousands of Frequent Camper Points!


Camper Enrollment

This year we have enrolled far more USA campers than any others. To date 90% of our campers are from NC, VA, FL or Texas.  But we do expect the other nationalities to begin registering before the end of this year.


Thus far campers from Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, and China have registered—or told us to expect them at camp.  We expect the number of Chinese to triple and the numbers of Latin American campers to double from last year. 

Have you applied yet?  If not, what are you waiting for!


USA’s anticipated:                 900

International campers         1200


TOTAL 2100 





Summer Staff News

We’ve not hired many staff yet, but we have request from Kenya, Poland (20), Jamaica (40!), Mexico, and of course all across the USA.  Staff must be at least 18 years old with one year of university behind them. Staff must work for at least six weeks, but those that can work less could come as volunteer staff.  Call the office for a staff application or find it on our website.



We have offered sizable discounts to campers, IAPs and LITs that register prior to Christmas. Some discounts are 20%, 50% and 70% off normal fees!  If you are not yet registered and want to attend in 2018, we can guarantee you that the fee we are offering before Christmas will never be lower.

Contact Spencer at the office (336 351 2070) or email Dean ( for more details.


Stone Gables (aka “Eight Gables”) 

A little more than a year after we began construction, and almost two years after we lost “Eight Gables”, the new main house at the camp is now complete. Although the new home has less rooms than the former home, the new rooms are larger and better suited for the parties, meetings and Bible studies that take place there year round.


The house is largely unfurnished but we think you will like the design, ambiance and quality of construction when you see it.  Our first event at Stone Gables will be the New Year’s party this Dec. 31. Read further down for information about that party.  



New Year’s Party at The Vineyard

Before our camp opened for its first summer, we had a New Year’s celebration. It’s our oldest event, and any former or potential camper is welcome to attend.This year the party will begin Saturday, December 30, at 5:00 pm,  and conclude Monday, January 1, at 12:00 noon.——two nights.  The cost is $75 per person and includes five meals, the party, lodging and all program events. But if you bring a new friend (someone that has never come to our camp before) your fee is $40 and their’s is $75. Bring two new friends and you can come for free!


Campers and guests should bring their own linen, one change of clothes and personal toiletries only.  Please call the camp office for an application:  336/351-2070 or simply complete the form below, scan or print and return to us.


Name of Guest for New Years________________________________

Age________Estimated time of arrival on December 30___________

Mobile phone of mother_____________ , and father______________

Is anyone coming with you? If yes, who?_______________________

(Please bring $75 for the celebration or call our office to make cc charge.)

New For 2018

It’s been delayed, but it looks like our new soccer/rugby field will be ready when you return to camp this coming summer. And what a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains! 

You will also note some improvements in the cabins with new mattresses and some other improvements at the Ark, dining hall, etc. We will have 11 brand new vans along with (we hope!) a new ski boat.


The biggest addition, of course, is Stone Gables, which will be used for parties, Bible studies and movies.



Our Newest Full-Time Staff: 

Holly Nunn

Holly Nunn has recently joined our team in a more official capacity. She will now be working with us as the Director of Development and Event Management. Holly has served in many capacities over the years at The Vineyard Camp including camper, summer staff, volunteer, and as a member of the Board of Directors. She has already been out exhibiting at conferences and camp fairs for us this fall to help recruit new campers and staff for the upcoming summer. If you would like us to come to speak to your church, school group, or even a group of friends, please let Holly know at her new camp email address or call us at the main office.


Along with serving in a marketing role she has taken charge of our newest venture, Airbnb. We now have The GuestHouse listed on Airbnb to rent out when it is not in use for our camp guests. It can currently sleep 10 people comfortably and is great for a weekend getaway, girls weekend, or just to get some quiet time alone. We can be found listed on Airbnb as The GuestHouse at the Vineyard Camp. Hopefully we will add The RockHouse to our list too, as Dean will be moving into the new main house soon! 

We are also venturing into another new territory as a wedding venue. As the new house has been designed specifically for hosting large groups of people we have already had quite a bit of interest from brides to be. We will host our first wedding this spring for two members of our Vineyard Camp family, Brett Griffin and Frances Wooten! If you would like more information about us hosting a wedding or any other event at The Vineyard Camp, please let us know.


From Jedd




The Vineyard is always looking for ways to make our ministry more effective and efficient. Since joining the team last year, our Director of Technology Jedd has created several new platforms for the Vineyard that have lowered our technology costs by over $12,000 per year, secured a $10,000 a month advertising grant from Google, and have made things like registering your child ( and donating to the Vineyard ( easier than ever. In this Grapevine, we wanted to talk about what new options are available to you, our co-visionaries, in supporting the mission and the dream of the Vineyard Camp. 




On our donation page ( you can now easily support a child or contribute to our 2016-2018 Capital Drive. You can choose the amount you wish to contribute, make it a one-time or monthly donation, and send your contribution via credit card or bank transfer - all from that single web page! And if you wish to give on a monthly basis, you no longer need to remember to send your contribution each month - this is now automatically taken care of for your convenience. 


For those looking for other ways to support the mission of the Vineyard, we also offer means for you to donate stocks (, life insurance policies (, annuities (, and even by simply shopping on (! To donate through your Amazon purchases, simply go to and you'll be asked to sign-in/sign-up and confirm that you'd like to support The Vineyard with every Amazon Smile purchase. Then you can either bookmark or install a browser plugin (Chrome | Firefox | Safari) that will automatically ensure all your Amazon purchases benefit the camp. From then on 0.5% of your Amazon Smile purchases will be donated directly to the Vineyard!  


We're always looking for new ways to support the Vineyard's mission, and if you have a fresh idea please email Jedd ( and share it with him!


(Jedidiah "Jedd" Pearce is our Director of Technology and is responsible for our website (, our search engine marketing, our email newsletters, our registration and invoicing system, and other aspects of our technological infrastructure and security. He is focused on making technology work for Dean and the team rather than against them, while also reducing our costs and securing additional technology related grants. This year he will also act as a coordinator with some of our sponsors around the world, giving them a single point of contact that can help them register their children. Jedd is also studying Spanish while living in Medellín, Colombia and hopes to reach full fluency in order to work with local sponsors and help expand our reach throughout Latin America.)




From SpencerpastedGraphic_1.png

The past year has been full of challenges and blessings and I look forward to seeing how God will work through The Vineyard Camp in 2018. This year I will be taking on a new role at the camp as the Registrar. I have come to learn that in ministry you adapt to meet new and unexpected obstacles. Over the past eleven months I have found a profound sense of satisfaction and joy in God’s ability to use me to meet some of these challenges and to see how He continues to teach me through these experiences.  


I am grateful for the Vineyard and what it stands for. The Vineyard changed my life as a young boy, a teenager, and even now as a thirty-one year old man. I pray that it will continue to shape me as man and most importantly as a believer. My prayer is that every child will have the opportunity to have the same life changing experiences that only special places like the Vineyard can offer. I thank my parents for making an eternal invest in my life by sending me to Vineyard Camp. 



Spencer Santiago





From Greg

The Camp has always been a special place to me. But as we near this holiday season this year it is very special as we are about to move into the new house. The past two years have been hard as we tried to replenish all of our lost items, but I am so thankful for all of the support from The Pilot Mountain Baptist Church and the  donors that support the Camp that make what we achieve possible each and every summer.  I am extremely excited about summer 2018 and what God has in his plans for The Vineyard.




Our Annual Capital Drive 


Each year our camp raises money for three purposes: (1) Camper-ships—-funds that allow us to help campers that cannot afford tuition. (2) Debt reduction—funds that allow us to retire our mortgage as soon as possible and (3) Special Projects—such as the lake, or renovations to a building or a new soccer field.


As a non-profit foundation we depend upon the generosity of the parents and alumni that believe in our work here on Brown Mountain. Can you help us in 2018? Please let us know. It is both encouraging to us and might prompt others to give as well.  You can see the different ways of giving if you look above in Jedd’s column. Please help us in 2018!



From James Carter


Alright, Alright, Alright!!!!


It’s been a little over two months since Micah, Carly and I have been living in Mexico. Slowly but surely we are getting accustomed to the Mexican lifestyle. The past two months have been filled with many adventures throughout central Mexico, and with our adventures I have had the incredible opportunity to present the Vineyard Camp in front of schools like IMEX in Puebla Mexico. It’s been a great honor to meet with future staff, campers, and their parents. 


I’m looking forward to the next several months in beautiful Mexico! However, I want to encourage those that haven’t locked in their weeks at the Vineyard Camp for summer 2018, to do so...the price will go up in January






This Christmas

December 11 I travelled to the airport to begin my trip from France home. I had been in France more than two weeks and I was truly, sincerely, ready to come home.  I rose at 4:00 am and got to the airport in Paris in plenty of time, but then I had a connection in Brussels with a three hour layover.  Then that layover ended up lasting five hours because of snow and ice.  Finally we boarded the plane, but  I was in a bad mood, because I was sure I would miss my connection in Washington, DC for the final leg home.  So I was “less” than polite, perhaps, as I walked down the hallway onto the plane. Then I saw a poster from the airport authority that caught my eye: “Relax if something goes wrong we’ll make it right.   After all, you’re on hoilday.”   And as I took my seat, I thought, “It’s true. I need to relax—everthing is going to work out.  And besides, my trip was work for God—I was not on a holiday,  every day at work for Him is a “holy day”.   And in a real sense, if we are in love with Him and if He shines in all we do, aren’t all days “holy days”—-i.e. days set apart to be sacred for God?

Anyway, that epiphany changed my attitude and I relaxed and began planning on how I would get another plane from Washington to the camp.  And I relaxed and relaxed and relaxed—for four hours as the plane sat on the tarmac and accumulated more and more snow. To make the drama short, let me simply say that by the time the plane was ready to take off, the flight crew’s policies would not permit them to fly because we had stayed on the plane too long. The flight was cancelled.

We had to “de-plane”, claim our luggage and re-book our flights. We were told that the hotels were ALL full, because ALL flights were cancelled at the airport. It was a mess!  People waited for two hours for their luggage and four hours for taxis, but most slept a miserable night on cots at the airport.

I was not happy and confess that I lost the whole idea of “every day is holy day” for a few hours.  I had to first re-book a flight, then find a connecting flight and then find a hotel somewhere in the center of the city, then find an Uber driver, and  then contact the camp to let them know of the fiasco.

The point of this little message is not to give all the details, but let me simply say that the next day—-December 12—the plane was again delayed and I arrived in Washington, DC too late for my connecting flight—-or any flight. So I had to rent a car and drive home from Washington to the camp that night. This is not something I enjoy doing so late at night and for six hours through the snow!

So, what’s the point? This happens to business travelers every day—-and worse. Yes, I had a hard time getting  to France in the first place, I got sick in France and now I wasted money than I could afford to lose purchasing new tickets, renting a car, paying for a hotel, etc.   It’s not supposed to happen to me.  At least, that’s how I am tempted to think.  But again, either God does orchestrate these things or He is indifferent and uncaring.  Friends, I know Him and I am persuaded that He loves me.  And that’s enough for me to know.

I am raising four young men now. What an honor but what obligation to their heavenly Father. They could all tell you that I am constantly telling them to trust my judgment, rules, demands, and so forth. Frequently they question my wisdom and experience when I try to pass on the reasons for what I want them to do, but I know what I am doing—-and so does God when He allows these things to happen to me He is teaching me, reminding me, or preparing me for something—-or He used my misfortunes for His greater purposes. That’s enough. I trust Him, I relax. Everything is going to be okay.  It’s a holy day.


Dean Barley

The Vineyard





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