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Just a tree or is it a Christmas Tree?Many households have their Christmas decorations up–some since Thanksgiving.  Camp Tilikum is blessed to have Christmas decorations up all year–maybe not the lights and ornaments we generally see, but we do have 93 acres of very large Christmas trees (some 150+ feet tall!).  You might also spy a holly tree sprinkled in among the Douglas-firs.  A plant that often goes unnoticed is the myriad of mistletoe that can be found growing in our older oak trees.???????????????????????????????


Mistletoe is spread by birds who eat the berries and deposit the leftovers in branches of trees.  The undigested seeds adhere to the branch and begin to grow.  Mistletoe is considered a parasite and will use the host tree as a source of nourishment.  Despite being a parasite, mistletoe is an important source of food for birds, a place to lay eggs for butterflies, and bees use the pollen.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas time comes from a blending of Norse and English tradition dating back to IMG_3866the middle ages.  In Norse mythology the mistletoe plant is a symbol of love and friendship.  And in old English tradition mistletoe was the finishing touch on the Kissing Bunch–which predates the traditional Christmas tree.

It seems so appropriate that this little plant found on our grounds is a symbol of love and friendship.  “Tilikum” comes from the Chinook word for “friend” and “welcome” and very accurately describes what goes on within these 93 acres.  A few thousand people visit our grounds each year and encounter these ideals of community and leave with new and deepened friendships.  Where have you noticed love and friendship out here at Tilikum?

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The Quiet PlaceQuiet Waters Photo Frame 16 x 20 Web

Life’s worries seem so hectic, so rushed, so hard.
Like a tangle of cobwebs ensnaring mind and soul.
My heart cries out for rest, for peace.
So I seek God’s solace in a quiet place.

There I can slow myself, breathe deeply, rest and pause.
I drink in freshness, stillness, peace.
Like morning dew on sun-tipped grass.
Sweet aroma of evergreens warms and fills my lungs.

The wind and water soothe my heartache, calm my soul.
Gentle birds bring joy and laughter with their songs.
Cheerful squirrels leap in celebration of life itself.
Quiet deer pause silently in reverent stillness.

Thank you Lord for this quiet place.
A place to renew and restore myself.
A place to draw close to you again.
To see You clearly, away from man’s worldly debris.

Dear God, Thank you for Tilikum, this beautiful land.
Its very essence is a quiet place to me.
A place to calm and restore my soul.
In Your forests and fields I rejoice in Your creation.

So I praise You God for Tilikum,
For the gift of its friendship
For the gift of life it brings to me.
Thank you for this quiet place.

Joan Littlefield
April 26, 1988

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Dear Friends of Tilikum,


So far we have raised about $17,000 for the Big Canoes Project. Since we are getting very close to spending the funds, Carl Anderson and I have been talking a lot about the plans for the big canoes and we have decided that we should purchase the canoes rather than build them. Even though we had plans and forms to build the wooden canoes, the risk of boat building errors and the ensuing maintenance issues could be problematic. It’s important to make the best decision with the information available at the time, even if you need to change directions.

A year ago I did some research and found this company as a back-up plan to building the canoes. Clipper Canoes is a business in Abbotsford, BC that makes big canoes.

On September 19th we purchased two Langley canoes and a special two-canoe trailer. The project total has gone from $15,000 to $20,000 and the key reasons for this change are:

  • The maintenance would be minimal on these fiberglass/Kevlar canoes.
  • It releases staff and volunteer labor hours for other projects around Tilikum.
  • The manufacturer confirmed the canoes would navigate well on a lake the size of Tilikum.
  • The two-canoe trailer makes moving, launching and winter storage quite simple.
  • We might take select groups down the Willamette river. I likely wouldn’t have considered this with wooden canoes.

We have $3,000 left to raise for the new canoe dock and accessories. If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact me at the office (503) 538-2763 ext. 103 or my cell (503) 538-8081.

Dennis Littlefield
Executive Director

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How You Can Save Up To $2,100 on Summer Day Camp and Quest Camp

Whether you are a parent already working or you are planning to enter the job market again, you may be surprised to find that you can save up to $2,100 on your taxes when you file just because you sent your kids to summer day camp.

Under the Child and Dependent Care Credit, you may receive a credit up to $1,050 of your expenses for one child under 13 and up to $2,100 for two or more children under 13 and there is no age limit if they are disabled. There is one catch though. Overnight camps do not count.

Read more about this on Turbotax. We recommend you talk to your tax adviser, because every family’s financial situation is different. If you file for this credit, you’ll need Tilikum’s Tax ID Number: 45-4183288.

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This past month we have been remodeling the Tilikum office.  At one point we had seven different wall colors, now we have two.  As I sit at my office space, newly remodeled but not 100% back together, it makes me reflect on the clutter we allow in our professional and personal lives. Personally, I have cleared out a lot in my home over the past five years. Who needs 10 spatulas? However, at my Tilikum desk, where I spend the majority of my time, I have not.  As the office was changing, I found co-workers changing their desks, but not me.  This made me stop and ask – why am I fighting this?  I believe it is the one space that hasn’t changed in the past four years.  It comforts me and yet I know change is necessary for life to move forward.  It reminds me of the scripture …“A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away” (Ephesians 3:6 KJV).  So today, I am taking a step back, removing the sticky notes, reorganizing myself so that I can minister an environment that is healthy and appealing for everyone.  I encourage you to stop by the Tilikum office and say hello!

Michelle Bradshaw, Guest Services Director

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In the “Old West” branding was a way to identify cattle and the actual design of the brand was also meant to represent your ranch.  “Branding” has a little different meaning in today’s society, but the core concepts are still true.  What does Tilikum represent to our guests, campers, staff, volunteers or donors?  Tilikum began the process of rebranding this past fall. Thanks to Camp Program Director, Mandy Schmidt’s design skills, we now have new brochures and vinyl banners.  Our newly rebuilt website utilizes the same theme and it’s formatted to view on your smart phone, tablet or computer.  Even though our brand has been “spruced up” our purpose remains the same:

Tilikum exists as a place for: New Banners

  • Experiencing Creation
  • Building Community
  • Providing Refuge
  • Encountering God
  • Transforming Lives

We hope to see you this summer!

Dennis Littlefield, Executive Director

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Friends of Tilikum,

As I reflect on this past year, I’m overwhelmed by God’s blessings.  Summer campers, retreat guests, outstanding staff, generous donors, volunteers, grants and caring board members have touched our lives in 2013.  With the recent cold weather, the lake froze and we had a fun staff meeting in the middle of the lake. The ice was quite thick and very solid where we stood!  Staff on the Ice

We wish you and your family a special Christmas season and a blessing on the New Year!

Frozen Lake 2013

Dennis Littlefield, Executive Director

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Tilikum Lake MistThis is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Friends of Tilikum,

From the moment you see the early morning mist floating above the lake you know Tilikum is a special place. There are few places in the world quite like this. Canoeing across the lake, walking down a trail with your friend, swinging from the trees are all experiences that bring joy to life. Tilikum is all about bringing joy into our world.

 Tilikum exists as a place for:

  • Experiencing Creation – God’s handiwork is evident all around.
  • Building Community – Every person is a valued member of the group.
  • Providing Refuge – A safe place away from everyday issues.
  • Encountering God – Step away from everyday life and listen well.
  • Transforming Lives – Learning to realize the presence of God in our lives.

We invited Brian Zaro create our summer camp video. Brian took pictures and video footage and interviewed people asking what they loved about Tilikum. I feel he did an excellent job of capturing the “Essence of Tilikum”.

Here are a few quotes from the movie:

  • Tilikum is a place where kids experience the presence of God even if they cannot put that into words and really name it, they have a sense of peace, comfort and joy that comes from being out here for the week.”

We Love Tilikum Because:

  • The fun activities and the counselors are nice”
  • The great staff members who treat you like their own family”
  • I get to hang out with God and kids all day long”

This new video can be viewed on the front page of the website.

What do you love about Tilikum? 

Dennis Littlefield, Executive Director

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Watson Table


Tilikum Potlatch 2013

Our fall fundraising banquet (Potlatch) was held on October 19th, 2013.  What a wonderful evening celebrating the ministry of Tilikum.  We were pleased to have 174 guests join us. At this year’s banquet we raised more than $44,000 in gifts and pledges.  This has been an excellent year filled with many blessings. Dennis Littlefield, Executive Director