Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Camps, retreats resume with safety at N-Sid-Sen

Quilters, dancers, Sufis, women’s retreats, families-at-camp and several PNC youth and family camps are shifting N-Sid-Sen Camp and Conference Center on Lake Coeur d’Alene from COVID quiet times to fuller more active times.

Top: Tevita, Frances and Daniel Fakasiieiki, background, prepare to paddle one end of the dock while Ethan Steinmetz helps Randy Crowe push it offshore.        Photo courtesy of Marijke Fakasiieiki

Middle: Dylan Osborn, Connor Farrand and Allegra Ritchie make campfire music at Young Adult Camp.     Photo courtesy of Mark Boyd

Bottom: N-Sid-Sen Staff—Will Mailhot, Jesse Burdick, Greta Guess, Mark Boyd, Camilla Fettig, Smokey and Shayla Felix at East Side Fire District pancake feed.    

Middle and Bottom Photos courtesy of Mark Boyd

While most coming are vaccinated, Mark Boyd, managing director has posted “Pick 2, Stay Safe” signs around the camp.

While Families at Camp rented lodges and cabins last year and continue to rent spaces this year, COVID prevented those groups from having much connection. This year, food services are offered.

Mark has been pleased to welcome back partners, beginning in March with the Palouse Patchers, who arrived masked and social distanced to quilt.

“We have navigated the constantly changing Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines,” he said.

From January to late May, Mark appreciated having the help of Shirley Asmussen, a retired camp manager colleague from Ohio. 

“With her assistance, we began the daily process of weaving through the COVID protocols so we could have folks coming home to the lake. We had Zoom conversations with camps across the lake and across the country, asking what worked, what didn’t and their plans for this year were,” he said. “Out of those many, many conversations we believed we had a good plan, and we still do.

“We are using the Pick 2 motto as our safety protocol: Lovingly Distant, Be Outside or Wear a Mask. As long as campers adhere to two of the three, they are good to go,” he said.

On the final day of the fully-vaccinated Sufis silent retreat in early June, the American Camp Association (ACA) announced its agreement with the CDC guidelines of no masks for fully vaccinated folks.

“It seemed that our world had turned a long, long, long corner. We all took a deep breath together and sighed,” Mark said. “For all our camps this summer we will still be asking for proof of vaccinations, a health check questionnaire and temperature checks on arrival.

“As long as all folks are fully vaccinated, we can resume most activities. We will still be asking folks to sanitize and wash their hands more often than we have in the past,” he said.

In mid-June, youth from Westminster Congregational UCC came with youth leaders Linda and Randy Crowe, former N-Sid-Sen managing director, and two other adults to repair and put together the swimming docks—that had been damaged in a storm—paddle them out to put in position and build a new ramp to them.

Mark said they also did some much needed trail clearing.

“The trails were more overgrown than usual without the steady self-trail clearing of people walking the trails,” he said.

The Young Adult Retreat, led by Allegra Ritchie and Mark with fully vaccinated campers and staff on the theme, “What’s Next for Us at Camp and How Do We Get There,” was held June 17 to 21.

The group explored the history of camps in general, and N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs in particular.

“We wandered into parts of camp previously unknown to many,” Mark said.  “We discussed how folks could be more involved in camps, churches and the conference as a whole.”

More than 50 Lady of the Lake Dancers were at N-Sid-Sen June 24 to 28.  All were vaccinated.  They danced outside, distanced, but spent more in retreat time than dancing.

“It has been a long time since I was able to feel safe gathered with a group this large,” he commented.

Mark has been begun meeting with the directors for the Senior High and Junior High camps as staff roll out how camp will look with the new relaxed guidelines.

“Having campers be fully vaccinated will be the key, but some of the youth campers will not be fully vaccinated, so protocols will be tighter,” he said.

Janet Taylor, Erin Jensen and Taylor Mohr are directors of two family camps, one July 15 to 19 and the other July 22 to 26. 

Ryan Lambert, Amy Johnson and Janet Malley are directing the family camp they are calling, Camp Somehow, for “somehow we’re going to have camp.”  That camp is July 29 to Aug. 2.

Mark said there is no overall theme. He added that N-Sid-Sen is seeking lifeguards for the camps, noting that other camps around the lake, the area and nation are struggling to find staff.

Aug. 5 to 9 will be the Senior High camp, led by Holly Hancock and Anna Colwell, and the Class of 2020 camp, led by Mark.  The Junior High camp is Aug. 12 to 16, let by Steven Hadden and Lyn Stultz.

Through the rest of the summer, there are still a few weekends for Families at Camp and partner groups returning.

“Each group is roughly a third the regular size. The lower numbers will certainly affect our budget, and we are working hard to control every penny spent, but we are back,” Mark said. “Every day is a little bit easier as we celebrate being together in person, fully vaccinated.

Sept 10 to 12, Westminster, Colville and Chewelah churches will hold their retreat.  The Pullman-Richland church retreat is set for Sept. 17 to 19.

Partners like the quilters, Lady of the Lake dancers, Unity and Unitarian women will be back for retreats in September and October.

For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit



Pacific NW UCC News © July 2021




Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share