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Mark Boyd transfers from N-Sid-Sen to Pilgrim Firs

Mark Boyd, managing director of N-Sid-Sen Camp and Retreat Center on Lake Coeur d’Alene for 10 years, leaves at the end of November to serve as assistant manager at Pilgrim Firs Camp and Retreat Center,

Mark Boyd ends 11 years as managing director at N-Sid-Sen and moves to become associate director at Pilgrim Firs.

Photo courtesy of Mark Boyd

“He has served with with skill, grace, humor, faith and hospitality,” said Alice Ling, convener of the N-Sid-Sen Advisory Committee.

There will be a party and barbeque to celebrate his service at N-Sid-Sen beginning with gathering about 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at the N-Sid-Sen Cove.

After food is served about 2 p.m., there will a time of sharing stories to say goodbye and thank you.

There is no charge for the barbeque.

In lieu of gifts, Mark suggests that people make donations to N-Sid-Sen at

There will rooms available and breakfast in the morning. Register at

N-Sid-Sen has a new website thanks to the work of Shirley Asmussen and Ben Crosby who spent many long days and late nights to make changes. They welcome feedback, reported Mark.

“We were excited to welcome campers, families and guest groups back to N-Sid-Sen,” he said. “Many of our  Covid 19 protocols are still in place, but it is beginning to feel a bit more like camp as we know it.

“Numbers of campers were again low, but that did not translate into needing fewer staff,” he commented. “We need as much staff to serve 20 as to serve 100.”

“All groups–our camps and outside groups—experienced lower numbers, with some canceling a few days before because of getting Covid or out of fear”

There are two aspects of daily living that the pandemic boldly highlighted.

“The first is the basic human need for face to face, in-person interactions and to be part of a larger community. The second is the recognition that quality time in the outdoors is good for the mind, body and spirit. In fact, it is critical! N-Sid-Sen excels at both of these,” he said.

In 2022, having small groups as in 2021 again translated into more intimate contacts, such as for junior high and senior high camps, the Plymouth camp, two PNC family camps, two dance camps and a family retunion.

“Not having large groups and lack of a full-time maintenance person meant we did not have income to wrap up projects,” Mark commented.

“We normally have six staff, a head cook, second cook, maintenance person and two to three lifeguards, but we had four staff, no maintenance person and only one lifeguard,” he said.

To address the lack of lifeguards at N-Sid-Sen and other area camps, he has explored offering N-Sid-Sen as an open water lifeguard training site.

With the vote on the budget suspended at Annual Meeting, N-Sid-Sen in operating on last year’s budget until there is a vote in October and put maintenance on hold.

Mark said Wade Zick, managing director at Pilgrim Firs has experienced similar issues with staff, has been busy with groups, has attracted new groups and has had lower attendance, too.  New groups include a stone sculpture group and monthly healing group for soldiers and first responders with PTSD. The mission camp was on hold.

When Mark transfers to Pilgrim Firs in November, he will be associate director in charge of overseeing staff, maintenance, housekeeping and the kitchen.  Wade will focus on building the program to bring more folks in to use the site.

Mark previously served four years at Pilgrim Firs, mustly responsible for maintenance. At the same time, he was also youth minister on staff with United Churches of Olympia, where he did church maintenance for 11 years.

He worked for 20 years as operations manager for a wholesale water distribution company.  Mark grew up in plumbing with his dad a plumber in the Olympia area.

He had attended church as a child with an aunt, but stepped away for many years until he became involved and found a home at United Churches in Olympia. He and his wife, Julie, have four children between them, two each, and grandchildren who live in Western Washington.

“My varied backgrounds have been helpful for all I do at N-Sid-Sen. Flexibility is important in this role,” said Mark, who is committed to the importance of camps in faith development.

“Camp is an opportunity to take quality time away with family and friends-—new and old—to trade some screen time for green time by planning now to escape to the lake in late summer, fall and winter.

N-Sid-Sen is a camp and retreat center of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC). He reminded that its name comes from the Coeur d’Alene people and means “Point of Inspiration”.

Established in 1935, N-Sid-Sen has served thousands of children, youth and adults through summer camp and year-round retreat experiences. Nestled along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene among nearly 300 acres of woodlands, creeks and meadows, our facilities provide unique opportunities for exploration, growth, and renewal to groups of 16 to 150 participants.

Guests and campers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, faith traditions and community groups.

For information, call 208-689-3489, email or visit


Pacific NW Conference United Church of Christ News © August 2022


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