Summer Camps of Faith Communities - by Anna Crigger
More of the usual groups return to use N-Sid-Sen
By Anna Crigger
Dance camps, quilting, church, youth and yoga groups that use the facility are again using N-Sid-Sen, the Camp and Retreat Center for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) north of Harrison, Idaho, on Lake Coeur d'Alene.
"Making connections with people from different walks of life at this sacred site is my favorite aspect of camp," said Mark Boyd, managing director.
"It's an incredible place to be to see transitions that happen with folks at N-Sid-Sen," he said.
In 2021, COVID restrictions were closely followed. This year, those precautions have become more relaxed, but are still followed.
"We still require vaccinations and boosters for those who can get them," said Mark. "We've relaxed mask wearing in most settings. When gathering in the dining hall in a large group, folks are still required to wear masks."
Basic precautions like regularly washing hands and sanitizing are still in place. It is important to "be respectful of the places and spaces we are in," he said.
Before arriving at camp, campers must fill out a health survey and health history.
Camp numbers are not quite back to normal from 2019. Numbers for youth and family camps are more like 2021, with about 50 percent capacity.
Mark finds positives in hosting smaller groups.
"Last year with smaller numbers, there were more intimate, personal connections that don't happen with larger groups," he said. "Folks are still cautious about gathering in big groups. I think we will see more intimate connections this year because people are thirsty for connections and communication."
Mark expects that the same groups who came in 2021 will use N-Sid-Sen again this year. He does not expect new organizations to use it.
He is concerned about low staffing numbers, with just four employees hired by May. Normally, there are six to eight staff. This year, there is one international staff member from Turkey.
"It was a challenge to find international staff this year," he said.
"Camps across the country are experiencing the challenge because of a limited number of J1 visas and embassies also have fewer staff," said Mark adding he's still looking for lifeguards.
The busy season starts in mid-May for the facility.
"At this point, almost every weekend is booked until the end of November," Mark said.
There are youth and family camps in July and August, plus a young adult retreat for college students. N-Sid-Sen serves campers of all ages in family camps, and kid's camp accepts second graders.
The theme for the 2022 curriculum is "What's in a Name?" The curriculum, used by several mainline denominations, is based "on exploring how God knows us all for who we are. God tells Moses 'I am who I am,' and in that, Moses can know who God is—and so can we. The Holy Spirit calls us as children of God and assures us that God knows each of us by name," Mark explained. "God knows us inside and out."
For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit n-sid-sen.org.