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Wade Zick reports impact of ‘Friends of the Camps’

In the past year, funds collected through “Friends of the Camps” for Pilgrim Firs made a huge impact on the work staff has been able to do for the site with landscaping, removing broken fireplaces in cabins, address deferred maintenance issues, improving the well system, paying for additional staff time to improve trails, and upgrades to some of the kitchen gear, reported Wade Zick, managing director.

Wade Zick, managing director at Pilgrim Firs, says donations help move camps to a sustainable future.

For Pilgrim Firs, registration dollars fund staff, food, electric, insurance, vehicle upkeep, an overall maintenance budget and hospitality items such as linens.

The costs for site issues and capital improvements would usually come from donors, not the operating, but have come from past budget surpluses.

So Pilgrim Firs has used “dollars designed for the camper experience to fund capital improvements,” Wade said.

For example, new roofs were put on all cabins are still being paid back from operating funds.

“By using operating funds, rather than creating a robust and strong donor base, it keeps a site like Pilgrim Firs in the hole in terms of improving the camper experience and investing in the long-term major improvements that are necessary,” he said.

Who are the “Friends of the Camp?

• Several individuals from the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (PSGW) community have become friends. Donations from their members included an unrestricted gift of $10,000.

• There are also UCC church groups that have been taking up an offering while on site becoming “Friends of Pilgrim Firs.”

• Several individuals are both sustaining givers and one-time donors.

“There is a long history of amazing generosity, both to the camps and the conference. There are also periods where we have not been as clear in our ask for dollars,” Wade said.  “We can no longer afford to not be clear. We need the commitment and the generosity of individuals and groups.

“The donations to “Friends,” given to the conference and to the camps, are helping us move into a more sustainable future where the needs of the churches in the conference are being better served. It is an exciting time to give as there is so much impact being seen.”

Wade hopes members of the conference and campers are experiencing some of that new energy and life present in the PNC.

He said “Friends” gifts to the conference and/or camps can make at the conference website or either of the camps.

For information, call 360-876-2031 or email


Pacific Northwest United Church News © April-May 2018

Pacific NW United Church Conference News April 2018 - Wade Zick at Pilgrim Firs talks about Friends of the Camp funding


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