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By Richard 23 Nov, 2016

Every so often a group chooses Camp Casey solely for the convenience of being able to meet in well-equipped meeting spaces, with food service and lodging at a modest cost. This past September we hosted the Dads Mentoring Others with Voices of Experience seminar organized by DadsMOVE director, Nelson Rascon.   DadsMOVE is a family-focused, dads-driven peer group providing support, training, advocacy, and resources to the parents and families of special needs kids, and their local service providers. The group is comprised of parents, caregivers, and family members who firmly believe in paying it forward, so others can experience success and recover for their own families. This was not our typical group seeking out a historic or scenic venue with beaches, forest, wetlands, and historic structures.

When asked why a dads support network, Rascon replied, “The short answer is men and women are different; we each think, feel, and react, and interpret things differently. As dads, we are more likely to enlist the advice of other dads/male caregivers who have had experiences similar to our own.” He added that 70% of marriages with special needs children end in divorce. In addition to providing a support system to its members, DadsMOVE also works with local police and first responders to educate them in recognizing the symptoms of special needs children. When police and first responders come face-to-face with someone with special needs, it helps to be able to recognize a person's diagnosis and respond and react appropriately.

DadsMOVE is a proud partner of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, and provides a long list of trainings to assist parents and communities with mental health recovery. This past September, the group held a two-day seminar at Casey, presenting training related to collaborative parenting, de-escalation, handling “not your everyday” every day stress, stopping bullying, and understanding Washington State’s children’s services. When Rascon was asked why he chose Casey for their seminar venue, he responded, “Our group is very cost conscious. Being a non-profit organization solely dependent upon donations, we need to carefully prioritize how we use our limited resources.” He went on to explain that there is no charge for attending their seminars. In addition to the seminar, the group absorbs food and lodging costs for the attendees. They even provide gas cards as well as train and bus passes to families to cover transportation costs. For more information about DadsMOVE, visit http://dadsmove.org

Camp Casey is the right choice for a large variety of groups. We are proud to provide meeting spaces, open fields for outdoor activities, lodging, and meal service at a reasonable cost. Historic structures, light house, forests, beach, and wet lands come at no additional charge.

By Richard 22 Nov, 2016

The annual Jingle Trail Run & Walk will be held at Camp Casey and Fort Casey State Park again this year. Once a year, the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce organizes this run, walk, or stroll event. Participants are treated to sweeping views of the Straits, evergreen and salal canopies, crisp winter air, and likely a few eagle or deer sightings along the way. This year more than 130 people are expected at the December 3 event.

Behind the scenes are more than 12 chamber members leading various committees who volunteer to plan and execute activities necessary to ensure the event is successful. In addition to the chamber members, representatives from the park service and the local ham radio club participate to ensure the trails are clearly marked and that there are plenty of aide volunteers along the way to keep participants from straying off the trails. They also ensure that there are plenty of qualified volunteers to render assistance as needed. In advance, trails are cleared of debris and marked. Refreshments are stocked the morning of the event, long prior to when the first event participant checks in.

Participants are treated to a truly scenic venue. They can expect ample and clearly marked access to parking, a warm auditorium to hang out in before and after, light refreshments, and a fun runner and walker awards ceremony following the event. In past years, participants have shown up dressed in the holiday spirit. We’ve seen runners/walkers in elf and reindeer costumes as well as participants sporting their favorite Christmas sweatshirts and sweaters. To encourage this creativity, there will be a “fun jingle costume event,” planned at 9:30 a.m., just prior to the 10 a.m. start.  

For more information, visit http://jingletrailrun.com . You can also register the day of the Jingle Trail Run & Walk on-site, so it is not too late. Registration is $15. The registration and refreshments will be in the Camp Casey auditorium A. Check-in will be 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Location will be clearly marked, so follow the signs.

By Richard 02 Nov, 2016

A feeling of pride and gratitude is felt at Camp Casey whenever we host a military-affiliated group, especially when it includes many uniformed personnel marching in cadence on our large fields! We recently had the honor of hosting the 1st Pacific Northwest Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Pride Day at Camp Casey this past September. CPO Pride Day celebrates Navy Chief teamwork and heritage.CPO selectees are sailors who have been chosen to be promoted to the rank of Chief.Even though this was the group's first year, more than 400 sailors attended. The day started with muster at Fort Casey, the singing of “Anchors Away”, and the raising of colors. Following a short welcome address by CMDMC Schanche, Ret., the selectees marched in formation to the Camp Casey playfield. The day included numerous activities designed to challenge the selectees' leadership skills, but also to create a sense of community and camaraderie. The day concluded with a 9/11 observance ceremony, a “Ceremony of Final Tribute” (flag retirement ceremony), and a donation to the local food bank.

In between events, sailors could be seen practicing an old Navy tradition of the Charge Book. Research indicates that Charge Books have a history which is older than the initiation. Newly selected Chiefs are assigned their Charge Book project almost immediately. Selectees are encouraged to work together on this project, but to be individually creative to promote teamwork among the selectees. Chiefs share with the selectee patriotic thoughts and words of wisdom that have inspired and motivated them through rough times. They also share tidbits of Naval history and tradition with the selectees, as well as welcome them into the Chiefs community. CMDCM Smith, the senior enlisted sailor at the event, said, “When I have a bad day or need some encouragement, I’ll open my Charge Book and read through some of the advice fellow CPOs gave me when I was a selectee.”

CPO Pride Day is a day where United States Navy Chiefs come together in a concerted effort to strengthen their camaraderie, exemplify to CPO selectees the power of the CPO Mess, and give back to a community that gives so much to active military and veterans. The Navy, just like the other branches of the military, have their own set of unique terms and phrases. 

Perhaps a large field upon which to march in cadence on isn’t on your must-have list, but certainly Casey play fields abound for soccer, football, running, and other sports.

By Richard 28 Oct, 2016

Not all classrooms have four corners. SPU students enrolled in the master of arts (MA) degree program or  master of divinity (MDIV) degree program find themselves at Camp Casey attending a core requirement class, THEO 6001. Most years Doug Strong, dean and professor of the history of Christianity, teaches this five-day, retreat-based, intensive course. This year however, the class was taught by Rick Steele, professor of moral and historical theology and associate dean, graduate studies. Together as a community, these students study and practice historic spiritual disciplines as a grounding for their seminary experience and a lifetime of ministry. 

Strong has been quoted saying, "The change that takes place over our five days together is remarkable. Twenty-five strangers become a close-knit group of Christian brothers and sisters; feelings of anticipation and nervousness about beginning a rigorous graduate program are transformed into the first insights of theological learning; and their unfamiliarity with ancient Christian patterns of spirituality is changed into a deep appreciation for the ways these patterns are able to assist them in being renewed more and more into the image of Christ."  When asked why the department chooses to use Camp Casey as the 'classroom' instead of holding the class at the SPU campus, Steele said, "it's a quiet, scenic place where all the basic needs are taken care of. It's free of all the activity and outside stimulus that tends to be a distraction." 

The requirements of the class over the five days can be emotionally draining. Another benefit of holding the class at Camp Casey is the numerous opportunities for the students to practice community together by playing games on the play field or sharing stories around the beach-side fire pit.  Quiet reflection comes easier for most when they can take a walk along the beach, listen to the soothing sounds of the waves, or take a stroll along any of the several walking paths through the surrounding forest. 

For this particular group, it was also important to have space where students could spend time meditating and studying in quiet private areas, as well as meeting spaces where the class could gather and openly share experiences. The class has found that staying in the Bachelors Officers Quarters (BOQ) was the best option for them.  The BOQ is well suited to groups of 30-50 people all year round.  It is an all-inclusive facility, where groups can sleep, dine, and hold large and small-group meetings in one location. The large meeting space is equipped with podium, wall-mounted whiteboard, digital projector, screen, DVD and VCR players, and cables for laptops. 

Groups who select Camp Casey Conference Center for their retreats almost always are looking for a venue that offers an environment that promotes community and discovery.  Camp Casey has a variety of lodging facilities, all with unique attributes. 

By Richard 18 Oct, 2016

Many groups come to Camp Casey for their retreats or events, and every once in a while, the organizer is a SPU alum. So far, every alum that we’ve spoken to makes the same comment: “When it came time to find a venue for our event, Camp Casey was my first choice.” Jay Johnson, a Seattle native, was first introduced to Camp Casey at Seattle Pacific University during his freshman orientation. During the four years spent at Seattle Pacific, he traveled to Camp Casey on several other school related retreats and became acquainted with all that Casey and its surroundings have to offer.

Last year, 57 years after his first introduction to Camp Casey, Jay returned as the organizer for the Northwest Herb Symposium. This year, Jay’s symposium, the second annual, provided educational workshop tracks aimed at particular areas of interest. There was a general track with workshops for all levels and a track for practitioners, aimed at doctors and other health care professionals. There was even a track for beginners, as well as an hers and a kids track. “I couldn’t think of a better facility than Camp Casey to draw herbalists. Its energy and convenience is a natural fit. It's serendipity,” explains Jay recalling his initial planning for the symposium six years ago.

Jay hasn’t always been involved with wellness and preventive medicine. His career after college was in radio. Jay worked his way up to general manager in a Seattle radio station in the early '70s. At KTW and KTW-FM, he made his mark producing weekly radio programs. KTW-AM was the first full-time talk show format station in the Seattle market. After the radio station was sold in 1975, Jay found himself having to make a choice between moving away from the Pacific Northwest and staying in the radio business, or doing something different.

He chose to stay in the Seattle area and start his own business. This is where his journey into the health industry began. After doing some public relations work for a health food trade organization, he started making connections and branching out into various areas of health food and integrative medicine.  Jay has always been passionate about bringing together people for the purpose of growth and learning. Six years ago, he came up with the idea of inviting some of the top teachers and practitioners in herbal and integrative medicine to a symposium where they could lecture and hold workshops for other interested parties. The Northwest Herb Symposium was born.

This past August nearly a dozen herbalists and practitioners presented four days of lectures and workshops to almost 100 symposium attendees. Many of them commented that in addition to the knowledge shared during the symposium, new friendships were developed during the morning and evening social events. The early morning and sunset beach walks, as well as ‘movie night’, provided an added sense of community. “Having lodging, meals, and meeting rooms/auditorium all in one location, at an affordable rate, was a plus," says one participant.Being in a historic location, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Puget Sound, Fort Casey, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and Crocket Lake put an exclamation mark on the symposium” said one of the participants. It seems Jay Johnson knows how to pick a venue.

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