Posted by & filed under Church Coordinator, Creation, Parenting, Spiritual Growth, Summer Camp.

Stone Tablets or Text: hearing God’s voice

I love summers at camp. Kids are hanging out with friends, roving around camp in staff led groups of 10-12, singing crazy songs, and talking. Really talking…like, face-to-face talking. Not texting, not IM, not posting. Really talking. Usually around the third day of camp, I start hearing stories from the staff about their prayer times as a group during Trail Talk. “And then….the kid who had been pestering his all week, prayed for his sick grandma!” Yes! Relationships being built!


For those of us that live and breathe camp, our advanced form of communication during the summer becomes walkie-talkies. So much so, that each of my kids got their own radio before they got their own phone. There’s a protocol to using a radio. When I ask where someone is located I get a description in camp-ese: I’m at the SCO (Summer Camp Office), In the MO (Main Office), heading up to the FC (the Fawver Center) when I ask about what’s going on, I may get a verbal description of what is going on & their reaction to it. No photos texted or emoji sent.


When summer camp ends, and my kids go back to school, outside of the 2 mile range of their radios, I mourn the fact that we, like other modern families, start relying on the phones: texting for our daily communication. Communication has to go back to 2017-warp speed.


One of my kids recently told me, “I can’t hear God…He NEVER answers!” (Insert exasperated foot stomp!) Helping our kids to develop a healthy spiritual life can be so difficult these days. It seems that our technological dependence has shortened our attention spans’ ability to “wait patiently on the Lord,” and to “hear the still small voice.”


Very few of us would be able or willing to climb a mountain like Moses and sit to wait for God to carve some advice in stone tablets. I think we’d rather see the conversation go like this:

Us: OMG could you just fix this?

God: LOL, Absolutely!

God: zaps the offending issue.

God: ur good!

Us:  Thx.


I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that quite often time spent away from my phone, out in God’s creation, re-sets my desire for warp speed communication. I think that is what happens when kids spend an extended amount of time outside, like at camp. They get reset to God’s pace. They can hear God’s voice.


Newberg area friends:  a dedicated group of parents and community members are sponsoring a Technology Health Workshop, tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 30, 9am at the Chehalem Valley Middle School Library.  For more information on taming the technological tiger: Technology Health Workshop


Mandy Schmidt

aka Wildflower

Camp Program Director





Posted by & filed under Summer Camp, Uncategorized.


Did you know?

– Playing outside makes kids happier and healthier and more caring and generous? 

– Yet the average American youth spends 7.5 hours a day on electronics but only 4 minutes playing outside? [citation]

In our busy lives we rush from school to soccer practice to church events and social engagements – it’s hard to create space... for quiet …to connect with nature… to dream… to encounter God.
Camp is that intentional pause away from the constant pull of technology and the expectations your kids face every day.


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Tilikum Part-Time Guest Hosts and Kitchen Assistants Position OpeningsDSC07143

We are accepting applications for both Guest Hosts and Kitchen Assistants. These are part-time year-round positions, but the hours will vary with the season.

Guest Host is responsible for meeting the needs of and being available to assist the guests of Tilikum’s Retreat Center and other facilities including preparing and opening the facility, orienting guests to Tilikum and responding to their needs. The host is involved with Dining Room preparation and serving meals to our guests.

Food Service Assistant will assist the Lead Cook in meal preparation, serving and clean up. Assist Lead Cook with last minute food preparation and all aspects of clean up including dishwashing.

General Requirements – Communicate effectively and courteously with others, including employees, students and the public, in a spirit of teamwork, respect and customer service. You will need the ability to lift 40 lbs., bend and lift, sweep, mop, vacuum, operate dishwasher and be on your feet for 4-8 hours (with breaks). Have a valid Oregon Food Handler’s card or willingness to obtain within 30 days of employment. Show cleanliness and be well-groomed. A willingness and ability to work varied hours including evenings and weekends is necessary. Previous restaurant experience is helpful.

By actions, words and lifestyle, be a Christian role model to guests and staff. Have a strong commitment to Tilikum and its ministry along with an evangelical Christian commitment and lifestyle consistent with the institution’s goals, including signed agreement with Statement of Faith and Statement of Community Responsibilities.

Both of these positions report to the Food Services Director. The hourly wage begins at $9.25 per hour and goes up depending on experience. These positions are year-round, but the hours will vary with the season. The busiest time of the year is from March to October.

Interested candidates please complete the online application.

After completing your online application, email your letter of interest to Chuck Stobie, Food Services Director.

If you have questions, contact Chuck at 503-538-2763 ext. 108.

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June 24, 2015 Dan Busby, President


Tilikum Center for Retreats and Outdoor Ministries Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization

NEWBERG, OR – The ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) announced today the accreditation of Tilikum Center for Retreats and Outdoor Ministries of Newberg, OR.

ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising.

Tilikum Center for Retreats and Outdoor Ministries joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 27 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal. When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.

“We are pleased to accredit a ministry like Tilikum,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.

Founded in 1971, Tilikum ( is an ideal location for group retreats, day-use planning sessions, and school or church outings. Each summer more than 2,500 children, youth and adults attend a Tilikum sponsored camp or family retreat and over the year more than 5,000 people attend other conferences and events. The pastoral setting includes 93 acres of woods, pristine lake, miles of hiking trails, extensive team-building course and a restored 1909 one-room school house. Their Retreat Center is a hotel/lodge for up to 58 people where home-style meals are prepared with a personal touch.

To learn more about Tilikum and their stewardship opportunities, visit ServantMatch®, ECFA’s program that matches God’s servants with the stewardship options of ECFA members based on ministry sectors and categories. It is ECFA’s newest online feature that allows you to quickly and easily find giving opportunities.

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit or call 1-800-323-9473.

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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