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.
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.
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.
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.
Rarely does one find such a large gathering of nationally acclaimed educators and practitioners in the field of herbal medicine as was seen at“Botanicals at the Beach,”the 2016 Northwest Herb Symposium. The following are names you might expect to see individually as guest lecturers of integrative health programs at your local college or university, but not collectively at one event. Michael & Lesley Tierra, Amanda McQuade Crawford, Jillian Stansbury, Ryan Drum, EagleSong , Evans Gardener, Katolen Yardley, Netta Zeberoff Fominoff, Elaine Sheff, Denise Joy, Julie Charette Nunn, and Leslie Lekos all contributed to the immense learning experience to those who attended.
Bringing these highly recognized individuals to one location for a four-day (two half-days and two full-day) provides for an extensive schedule of talks and workshops. There was a general track with workshops for all levels, a track for practitioners (aimed at physicians and other health care professionals), and a track for beginners, including herbalists and kids. What makes this symposium so special is that everyone took lodging and meals together at the same location, with mornings and evenings filled with activities that promote community and discovery.
Imagine starting your day off at daybreak with yoga led by Leslie Lekos, voted Best Yoga in Bellingham for eight years in a row; or doing a marine walk with Ryan Drum, one of the most respected and experienced herbalists and wild crafters in North America today. To wrap up the symposium, the keynote address was given by Joseph Pizzorno, founding president, now president emeritus, of Bastyr University. Bastyr is the first fully accredited, multidisciplinary university of natural medicine in the United States. And finally, before participants left Camp Casey, they all joined in a closing circle led by EagleSong, a fourth generation gardener and community herbalist.
Generally, symposiums are stacked with back-to-back lectures and classes. Not the case here. Yes, the days were filled with learning options, but the entire experience included lots of connections happening outdoors, and community bonding indoors, during the catered meals and movie night. The event organizer and SPU alumnus, Jay Johnson says: “Camp Casey was the ideal choice for the event. Its natural setting and energy, as well as being able to have lodging, dining, and meeting facilities all in one location, is what sets Camp Casey apart.”
Looking for a venue that offers lots of activities for your members and their families? You don’t need to look any further than Camp Casey Conference Center. At least that’s the message from Katie Sims, SPU Director, Advancement Services. Katie commented: “At our spring President’s Circle event on Seattle Pacific University’s campus, we received feedback from our President’s Circle donors that they wanted more opportunities to gather together and celebrate SPU’s mission and vision. When we approached the conference center staff, they were excited to host an event like this. We made a site visit, met our colleagues at Casey and started making plans to pull off the best BBQ ever for our President’s Circle members.” The Manager of Conferences Services pointed out that a site visit isn’t always necessary and most events can easily be organized and coordinated via email and telephone.
What makes Camp Casey Conference Center so unique is the location. The renovated buildings and facilities date back to 1890, when the U.S. Army started building ‘Fort Casey.' This historic venue is set on the west side of Whidbey Island overlooking the Puget Sound. Nature surrounds it: Admiralty Inlet, Heritage Forest, Crockett Lake. When it came to planning the event, a summer family BBQ was the obvious way to go. The day was filled with great food and lots of activities for all ages. Adults were treated to a tour of the historic Colonel’s House, Fort Casey and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. All just a short walk away and those needing extra attention were driven there. Children enjoyed lawn games on the vast playfield and the heated summing pool.
“The staff rolled up their sleeves,” says Katie. “I was blown away by their support throughout the planning, setup and operation of the event. They made us feel like Family!” Staff was available for coordinating tents, tables, chairs and all the other items needed. The Dining Services Team and his staff handled all food preparation and catering service. Staff was even on hand to setup and teardown. Camp Casey Conference Center provides full service for all their events, if needed.
SPU's President's Circle membership is open to those who contribute $1,000 or more to Seattle Pacific University. Gifts to the President's Circle are quickly deployed to support critical University priorities, such as student scholarships, programs, and initiatives. President Circle gifts help SPU graduate men and women of competence and character who will bring positive change to their communities, and to our world. For more information on the SPU Presidents Circle visit: http://advance.spu.edu/presidents-circle .
For each of the past six years the Northwest Scottish Fiddlers have spent a weekend filling the halls of Camp Casey Conference Center with their beautiful, traditional Scottish fiddle tunes. The focus of the Seattle-based group’s retreat is to bring together its members to learn, perform and share Scottish music. The musicians include fiddlers, cellists, guitar players and bass players.
“There are several goals to this retreat, but the primary focus is to learn Scottish fiddle music,” Marcia Thumma, President of Northwest Scottish Fiddlers said. “People also enjoy making new friends at this camp and socializing through music, as well as good conversation or a walk in the park nearby.”
Camp Casey’s exceptional dining services and staff make it easy for the group to meet over a meal and make new friends. “Very few people ever feel it's necessary to go somewhere else to grab what they would call a good meal anymore. We like to linger around a good meal and talk for quite a while,” she said.
The Northwest Scottish Fiddlers use a wide variety of facilities at Camp Casey including the auditorium, dining hall and gymnasium. Guests stay in the Company Quarters. The group is considering expanding to use more housing and classroom space at Camp Casey next year.
“We got very positive feedback from the workshop attendees about the retreat! Things started improving two years ago when we saw our workshop attendance jump from 71 people in April 2013 to 95 people just nine months later, in January 2014,” Thumma said. “We know people are happy and the word is getting out! I believe people also find our workshop attractive because we try very hard to keep the price down.”
Camp Casey’s reasonable pricing is a big draw for the group. The low cost makes it easier for the Northwest Scottish Fiddlers to be sure that almost everyone can afford to join the fun.
“Personally, I think one of the things that makes Camp Casey so unique is the fact that it is an old Army facility. It gives the event so much more character versus staying in a modern cookie cutter hotel,” Thumma said. “I like the fact that they've tried to maintain that feel, too. It's really interesting to step back into history just a little bit, and sense what these military men experienced!”
Thumma also says she appreciates the friendly staff and abundant wildlife at Camp Casey. “It's nice to know that Coupeville isn't far away, if you really need something, but for the most part, we're all too busy having fun to miss anything that much,” she said
Be sure and visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nwscottishfi
Camp Casey Conference Center is well known for its spectacular outdoor vistas, gorgeous beaches and wide-open playfield. What many visitors don’t realize is that the Conference Center also offers accommodations for indoor recreation. Whether it’s a sport, activity, class or training session, the gymnasium building provides a comfortable space for a wide array of indoor recreation.
The gymnasium is one of the original buildings at Camp Casey, built at the turn of the century by servicemen who specialized in building ships decks. Because of their unique building background, the builders put the gym floor together as they would a ship’s deck, from the outside inward, rather than from one side of the room to the other. The unique wood floor and antique building give the gym a unique sense of character.
“Our upper gym is a three quarter size basketball court. It is your basic old school gym.” Robyn Myers, Manager of Conference Services for Camp Casey Conference Center, said. “It’s kind of fun and nostalgic.”
Various groups have rented the space for a multitude of activities, including karate, self-defense classes, CPR training, basketball and even indoor soccer. Camp Casey staff tries to make sure the space can accommodate a wide variety of uses.
“We’ve had some epic dodge ball games in there. Folks can check out balls from the office, and we also have a volleyball net we can put up,” Myers said. There are two downstairs rooms. One has a pool table; the other room has two Ping-Pong tables, a pool table and foosball table. Some of our men’s groups do billiards competitions.”
The Camp Casey Conference Center gymnasium is a great asset for groups with recreation-based retreats, or those just looking to blow off some steam after a long day of classes. It allows groups to rent the Conference Center during the rainy months and know that, if the weather turns inclement, they will still have a space to hold activities.
For more information on renting the Camp Casey gymnasium, visit www.spu.edu/depts/casey .
Since its inception in 1987, the non-profit organization Concerts on the Cove has been dedicated to providing the Whidbey Island community with enriching performance art that is affordable and accessible to all residents. Barry Rix, Officer in charge of Programs and Sound, donates his time and equipment to help make the events successful.
In 1992, Concerts on the Cove built and donated the Coupeville Town Park Pavilion, where many summer concerts are hosted. Events held during the rainy, colder months need a suitable indoor auditorium space. Four years ago the group found that Camp Casey Auditorium provided a perfect fit. The space is about four times less expensive than other indoor venues on the island and newly renovated, Rix said.
“The admin. at Camp Casey is top notch. They are very easy to deal with and their rates are very reasonable, as we try to return the money's to the locals through scholarships given out each year,” Rix said. “Their new restrooms for the auditorium are fantastic. Bringing in equipment is very easy, and their new sound deadening additions work very well.”
“We bring in talent from around the world and present it to Islanders at a minimum cost, usually less than $25 per concert per adult with kids free,” Rix said. The group dedicates funds raised from the concerts to projects that benefit Whidbey Island schools and students. They have installed new sound equipment in the high schools, organized bus trips to Seattle to attend top performances and hosted Shakespeare workshops on the Island.
Concerts on the Cove describes its program as “A Norman Rockwell experience,” where “Adults can relax and their children are free to be children -- to play in the park while being exposed to the arts.” For more information and a full list of performances visit the Concerts on the Cove website: www.concertsonthecove.org