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Camps start fund campaign to raise $200,000

Camp Campaign Team members know everyone knows that going to camp transforms and changes lives.

In these challenging and changing times, the spring, summer and fall camps, retreats, workshops and meetings at N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs are not happening for health and safety reasons.

Enjoying Families at Camp and anticipating future camping.

Photos courtesy of Nick CastroLang

Other camps of faith communities in the region have a similar experience with cancellations of retreats by outside groups and by decisions by regional leaders not to hold the camps.

“We deeply grieve this loss,” said team co-chairs Margaret Swanson and Eric Johnson.

Other team members are Don Mallett, honorary chair, plus Mike Denton, Alice Ling, Ron Patterson and Kevin Peterson.

“The camps are still here with the beauty, the birds, the gentle sound of the lakes in the evening, the wind whispering through the trees, the quiet trails, the opportunity to experience the embrace of creation’s beauty, the space to renew, create and learn and so much more,” they said. “Our typical camp events will continue to be present again for our campers and churches, as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The camps are ministering in new ways this summer.

N-Sid-Sen is providing a different kind of camp experience with 12 weeks of “Families at Camp.”

Small “family” groups who are isolating together will be present at camp in safe ways. They will use Spirit Lodge, the Crowe’s Nest, the Ford cabin and other cabins with one family group in each, with access to restrooms and—except the cabins—to kitchens.

They will be assigned recreational equipment—such as canoes, paddles, life jackets—to use the whole time they are there, Thursdays through Mondays. 

They will leave windows and doors open when they leave, to air out the space before staff—paid or volunteer—come in to clean and sanitize Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for the next families.

Pilgrim Firs has formed a temporary partnership with Kitsap County, and continues to offer housing and respite for individuals infected with the coronavirus.

“These new ministry opportunities have provided limited income to help keep some of our staff in place, but we need a lot more funding to continue our mission,” said the team.

Because the camps are not happening during this season, the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC and camp managing directors Mark Boyd at N-Sid-Sen and Wade Zick at Pilgrim Firs anticipate a budget deficit of approximately $450,000 this next fiscal year—June 2020-May 2021.

The conference has committed $200,000 to support N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs in this time of financial need.

“We are deeply grateful for this funding, and that support comes with a challenge to those of us who hold this camp dear,” said the team. 

“We invite all of you to consider helping double the impact of the conference support by raising an additional $200,000 to assist us in reaching our total campaign goal of $400,000,” they said.

They are asking the individuals and faith communities that have experienced the magic of this sacred life-transforming place to step up with gifts. 

During June, partner groups, congregations, leadership within the conference and the camp community will be asked to consider participating in this campaign.

“We ask folks to consider a gift in an amount that they find meaningful—such as gifting the dollars they would have spent on a vacation away that has now become a ‘staycation’,” the team suggests. 

This campaign is being led through the PNC Board of Directors, the Stewardship Committee and the Camp Campaign Team.

Those with questions about the campaign or making a leadership gift, may call or text either of the co-chairs, Margaret or Eric.

“We are excited to partner with you to support our camps during these challenging times,” said Margeret and Eric.  “Let’s make sure our camps can continue to transform and change lives. Stay tuned for more information coming soon about the campaign and ways you might support this effort.”

To make a gift to the campaign, visit the conference website, or send a check to PNC-UCC, 325 N 125th Street, Seattle, WA 98133.

For information, contact Margaret at (206) 399-2213 (cell) or Eric at (253) 640-7137 (cell).


Camps will include online content and virtual meetings

For the summer of 2020, this year’s camp theme of “This is Our Prayer” could not be more needed, said Kaila Russell of the Outdoor Ministries Task Force.

The camp directors and members of Outdoor Ministries, feel that while camp can never be replaced, it is vital to offer resources for healing and community during these times.

Camp resources will be available online at July 1 through Aug. 31.

Camp events will be offered during each camp’s scheduled week.

“We love you and we miss you! We hope you are able to hold the feeling of camp in your hearts as we love one another from a distance and go through this together,” said the directors.

Intermediate Camp will be July 5 to 11.  It will be held simultaneous with Junior High Camp, directed by Leah Atkinson Bilinski.

Kids Camp, directed by Kaila Russell and Cristina Airaghi, will be held July 12 to 15, the first few days of Senior High Camp, which runs July 12 to 18, led by Anna Colwell and Cory McClay.

Family Camp 1 directors July 26 to Aug. 1 are Ryan Lambert and Amy Johnson.

Family Camp 2 or “Camp Together” is Aug. 2 to 8, led by Janet Malley and Andrew Conley-Holcom.

To help support camp during the COVID-19 pandemic, please donate at

All of the camps will have some online content as well as some virtual gatherings.

For information, call 425-941-6279 or 208-689-3489,  email or visit


Pacific NW Conference United Church News - Copyright © Summer 2020


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