Become a Summer Servant
Here at Bethlehem Farm, we love to have extra help in the summer. If you are at least 18 years old and interested in giving us a hand for a minimum of two weeks, consider being a summer servant. As a summer servant, you will live with the caretaker community to participate in community life, help with daily chores, and contribute to group week activities.
The Summer Servant mission statement as written by the Summer Servant community:
“We, the Summer Servants, live to serve the Caretaker community by being a liaison between the Caretakers and volunteers, exemplifying the four cornerstones, and acting as a catalyst of energy within the community.”
Summer Servant Application Process
1. Read the documents on the BF Community page to familiarize yourself with community life at Bethlehem Farm.
2. If you have questions or to talk about joining us as a summer servant, contact Jarusha at Bethlehem Farm (304)445-7143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Download, fill out, and email (preferred) or mail Jarusha the relevant application:
Miss the PRIORITY DEADLINE ? It’s not too late to apply! Applications will be accepted as long as spots remain.
4. We will schedule a phone conversation with a caretaker during which we will ask you questions to try to get to know you better. It is also an opportunity for you to ask us any questions.
5. The caretakers make a decision, and you make a decision, about whether this is a good fit for you and Bethlehem Farm for this summer.
Summer Servant Reflections
What has my time as a summer servant meant to me? Since spending a week at Bethlehem Farm as a high school student, I had been determined to return as a summer servant. I wanted a chance to be a part of a community of people who truly live out cornerstones which I hold dear myself. Being a summer servant provided me an opportunity to actively engage issues confronting society in the context of a supportive community, fostering in me a sustainable commitment to real action. Or, put more simply, the community of Bethlehem Farm showed me ongoing solutions to problems that my generation and generations to come are and will be facing. This was manifested in concrete ways. For example, under the tutelage of Eric I learned how to farm sustainably, in a way that more closely mimics nature. The example of all of the caretakers demonstrated a dual focus on alleviation of suffering and addressing root causes, such as engaging visiting students in direct volunteering with home repair while providing them background information on rural issues like mountaintop removal mining. However, even more emphatically, I learned to appreciate the power of a vibrant and diverse community. I know now that only through an engagement of this vital human connection will we as a human family learn to address the realities which we face. And I am so privileged to, through my time as a summer servant, have come to be a part of just one such brilliant community. “Summer servanting” has invaluably directed my discernment of my place at home in the web of life.
~Anna Robertson, Summer Servant 2010, 2011, 2012
Being blessed with the opportunity to be a summer servant meant a return to the full intentionality of living. From the first moment you step onto the farm, you become concretely aware of the web of life in which we all exist. The true physical beauty of the space transforms hearts and minds as do the caretakers and volunteers that you interact with everyday. I quickly learned that a conversation that starts with, “How was your day?” expands beyond pleasantries to dialogue about the challenges and joys of the people of Appalachia–from the sustainable agriculture to the future of the mountains with the risk of mountaintop removal. The opportunity to work beside homeowners, caretakers, volunteers, community members, and other summer servants allows for the development of true community working together for a common goal. The opportunity to see how your food is cultivated from seed to compost and knowing that you had a part in each stage of that creation, unfortunately, is not available in most of our daily lives. But, Bethlehem Farm allows the opportunity to participate in the creation of the food- one of life’s simple staples and most beautiful processes. Through my time at Bethlehem Farm, I was blessed tenfold with the experiences I was given and one can hope to only have given back a fraction of that experience to others while at the Farm and beyond.
~Sarah Jones, Summer Servant 2010