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Deeg Nelson leaves Pilgrim Firs after 12 years

After 12 years managing Pilgrim Firs, Deeg Nelson has decided to resign effective Jan. 6 so he can dedicate more time to environmental issues.

deeg nelson

Deeg Nelson will move to Olympia to do environmental work.

Conference Minister Mike Denton said that now, “the most important thing to do is simply thank Deeg for his service.”

Soon the conference will share information about next steps and will notify the conference of plans to honor Deeg’s ministry.

Deeg began his resignation letter with affirming: “Pilgrim Firs is in a great place!”

He noted that there have been dramatic changes over his 12 years, and Pilgrim Firs continues to be on sound financial footing.

“We have made major repairs and improvements to the facilities, and our guests are happy,” he said.

Being immersed in a job he has loved, he said, “I have learned many things and built many a wonderful long-term relationships with the people related to the facility.

“I have met and worked with UCC churches and their members, outside groups of many kinds, camp neighbors, law enforcement and government representatives, small businesses owners and suppliers, and many more,” he added.

Deeg’s family grew up at Pilgrim Firs before they moved out on their own to pursue their dreams with camp as a background.

He also appreciates what he has learned through travel to many parts of the country, as part of the Outdoor Ministries Association, visiting other camps and the national setting of the UCC.

Staff people at Pilgrim Firs have come and gone over those years.

Most stayed on as employees here much longer than the average for this kind of job,” Deeg said.  “They like the ways we do things, and we reward them with a wonderful camaraderie and above-average wages.”

Several years ago, Pilgrim Firs became a part of the national UCC Ministry for Environmental Justice.

The environment is important to me, and I have worked with staff to create programs that reflect this,” Seeg said.  “We do our best to reduce waste, reuse things as often as possible, recycle and conserve.

“The re-roofing project that we have been working on for about 10 years now is almost completed. Not only are the buildings more comfortable because they are less drafty, but our power bills have declined while rates have increased,” he said.

The Environmental Justice Movement has also made its mark on me personally,” Deeg said.  “I want to do more, much more, but I have been somewhat limited in the scope of things I have been able to do while managing Pilgrim Firs.

So on Jan. 6, he leaves Pilgrim Firs and move to the state capitol of Olympia where he will have better access to private and public agencies that will enable him to have a wider impact on our environmental future.

“I believe I am leaving Pilgrim Firs in great shape and in capable hands,” he said.

“One of my goals in life has always been to stand up for what is right in the natural world. The issues are getting bigger and the timing is critical,” he said. 

“It is time for me to do this work now, and I want to have the biggest impact I can. Yes, I want to, and plan to, help save the planet!” he explained.

“Thank you for your support over the past 12 years, and thank you for whatever you can do yourself to help preserve our natural habitat,” Deeg said.

For information, call 360-876-2031 or visit


Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News Copyright © December 2014



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