A lot has changed in 25 years. Back then, camps were just summer diversions for kids. Today camps can drastically impact your player’s ability, provide a good opportunity for a child to stay fit while having fun, and teach values such as respect and commitment. Sport camps provide children with an opportunity to have fun and focus their energy while gaining many benefits from their experience by combining the traditional camp environment with a sporting atmosphere.
Everyone wants their child to be confident, happy, and successful. A competitive, athletic environment that allows children to receive individual focus and improved skills can be a great way to boost their confidence. Sports are also a great way to teach children values such as teamwork and respect for each other. The group atmosphere teaches children to work with others while feeling like a valued part of a large unit. The competitive atmosphere encourages children to work with others in order to achieve a common goal through collective effort. A team environment can also help children utilize their strengths more effectively and improve on their weaknesses.
One of the best things about attending a sport camp is that it provides a way for children to make friends. While the exercise and personal skills are obviously positive, providing a child with an opportunityto meet others with whom they can interact is valuable. To ensure a balanced program, groups like the SPU Falcon Running Camp include planned recreational and team-building activities. Doris Brown Heritage, a two-time Olympian, a five-time world champion, and a former Olympic Coach describes these as “activities with supervision that are fun and build a sense of team.”
Camp Casey Conference Center most popular package for public and private sport leagues is the Sports Team Weekend Package. The package offers 3 days and 2 nights of lodging and at least 5 meals. This affordable package gives athletes the opportunity to take advantage of our large, versatile and well-groomedfield space, as well as other recreational activities.They will also engage with nature and the fascinating history of the region while sleeping in Camp Casey’s historic barracks and exploring Fort Casey itself.
Touted as the world’s premier distance runner during the ‘60s, Doris Heritage continues her long tradition of coaching and mentoring young runners by being a Falcon Running Camp coach. This two-time Olympian, five-time world champion, former Olympic coach and longtime member of the SPU cross country coaching staff, gives her time freely at the Falcon Running Camp. In addition to the usual coaching tasks, she sat for an hour-long interview where she discussed what it was like growing up on Gig Harbor and how she developed her passion for running. As she tells it, it wasn’t until participating in a running camp in the early 60’s that she learned about training and running drills. She explained that her participation in running programs taught her much more than just the fundamentals of the sport. In a time when racial segregation was the norm and women were excluded from many activities we take for granted today, she joined a very few who stood by their principles and led by example. When participating in a running camp in Texas in the early 60s, she and a group of her running mates would site at the back of the bus in defiance of the prevailing rules stating ‘blacks to the back’. Rather than dining in ‘Whites Only’ restaurants, she and her team mates would ‘brown bag’ it. She says that she wanted to go to a Christian school, so attending Seattle Pacific University was the obvious choice for her.
Attending SPU turned out to be a great choice for Doris. SPU’s head coach at the time, Ken Foreman, founded the Falcon Track Club in 1955, the forerunner to today’s women’s varsity. Under Foreman’s direction, Doris set two American records before graduating in 1964. Her career as a runner did not end with graduation. She was named to the U.S. Olympic team in 1968 and 1972. She won the silver medal (800m) at the Pan American Games in 1967 and 1971. During her prime running years, she won 14 national titles, and set a world record in the 440m, 800m, 1 mile and 3000m. As if not to falter, she won the U.S. Masters cross country title in 1989.
Passing her knowledge and passion on to the next generation, she continued to coach at the national level, including the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, as well as the ’87 and ’90 World Championships. Her achievements on and off the track are many: First female to be elected to the prestigious IAAF Cross country and Road Race Committee, head coach of the U.S Ekiden Cup contingent in Japan and Chief of Mission for the U.S. cross country team at the world championships in South Africa.
As if all this isn’t enough, this co-founder of the Falcon Running Camp is still out there today coaching and mentoring young runners attending the 2015 Falcon Running Camp at Camp Casey. Whether it’s during the formal talk she gave to the attendees, leading drills, or simply giving some one-on-one advice, Doris’s mark is evident. It’s the kind of presence that comes from a long unwavering passion.
What makes the Falcon Running Camp so special? It’s the people like Doris who share their experience and expertise so freely. This article focused on Doris Brown Heritage, but she is one of many accomplished coaches and trainers involved in this, the longest running camp in the country.
All of us have experienced a moment when we’ve been asked about something that occurred in our past only to have memories long forgotten come flooding back. With the simple question “when was the 1st time you visited Camp Casey?” a successful professor and research scientist with the Univ. of Montana is taken back in time to the summer of ‘86. Brent Ruby had just transferred from Colorado into SPU as a sophomore with plans to attend a pre-season cross-country camp. “I remember taking the ferry over to Whidbey with all my new teammates hearing stories of running adventures in and around Casey … Running through the wooded trails around the camp made me realize that I had made the right move!”
Since 2005 Brent and his wife, Jo, have been participating in the Falcon Running Camp. SPU’s Falcon Running Camp is the longest running camp in the country thanks to the generous contributions of alumni such as Brent and Jo. Using his experience as Director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism, Brent provides educational talks to the runners – sharing recent and past research. By sharing his excitement about science and what the human body can accomplish he teaches the runners proper healthy training habits. And given his passion for running he also assists with organizing running drill segments. His wife Jo, also an SPU Alum and current Head Cross Country Coach with Mountain West Youth Track, directs and coordinates most of the fun events. She has become “Camp Casey famous for her approach to the reading of funny love letters runners end up writing to one another.”
On a personal note Brent was kind enough to share how his career evolved from that sophomore attending Camp Casey to an accomplished researcher and professor. In fact, his name was highlighted after Runner’s World magazine did a massive 8 page story on him. He graduated from SPU in ‘89 with a Bachelors in Exercise Science. Married Jo and moved to Albuquerque for graduate school. Got a taste for research, and after completing his PhD in ’94, found his home in Missoula as a researcher/professor. His work has included topics such as heat stress, finding the ceiling of human endurance, and exercising at altitude as well as nutritional strategies during ultra-endurance work/competition, and muscle metabolism during and after exercise. Brent said he’s always tried to make certain that his research is translated into a language “that the end users we work with can understand.”
All of us should be fortunate enough as Brent to blend a love of research with a “love of physical activity, racing, and outdoor fun.” His pursuits include cycling, Ironman triathlons, hunting, fishing, stand up paddle boarding (did we mention he builds stand up paddle boards as a healthy release from the world of academics) and surfing.
Any advice for the rest of us? Brent says: “Mix up your workouts, and if you fear over training … look for ways to increase mental and physical rest. In my experience, it is not the workout...it is the decisions athletes make in the other 22 hours of the day that eventually causes problems."
So what it is that keeps those memories alive for Brent? What keeps him and Jo coming back each year for the SPU Falcon Running Camp? “I connect Camp Casey with SPU and my professors and coaches.” Brent says they helped construct the foundation for his entire professional career. Camp Casey and the entire SPU family “has a special place in my heart and I am forever grateful for my time on camps and on the various trails at the Camp “…and I’ve been privileged to watch “amazing runners grow up around us.”
2015 Falcon Running Camp Registration - Don't get left behind! Register now .
Did you know that the Falcon Running Camp is the longest continuous program of its kind in the US? This July 20 – 25th, 150-200 runners will descend on Camp Casey Conference Center. Since 1960, Falcon Running Camp has given thousands of runners in middle school and high school the opportunity to work with expert coaches and elite athletes to learn about everything from mental and physical preparation to racing strategies.
Chris Reed is the director of Falcon Running Camp, and the newest face among SPU’s cross country coaching staff. A former distance standout at Western Oregon University, he continues to race post-collegiately in both cross country and track.
If you were searching RunningCamps.org for advice on what to look for, one of their first suggestions is to find out the age of the camp. “The longer that it has been in operation, the more proof that they must be doing something right.” Check!
Other suggestions? Planned Runs – “trails should be safe, supervised by staff at critical places, varied, aesthetic and ability grouped.” At the Falcon Camp runners have two formal training sessions each day and an opportunity to run the wooded trails, fields, and beaches of Seattle Pacific University’s Camp Casey campus on Whidbey Island. The morning run is designed to build camaraderie; while the afternoon focuses on techniques and racing strategy. Check!
Planned Educational Activities – “sessions that teach you about all aspects of training with competent instructors.” Did you know that one of the instructors/coaches is Doris Brown Heritage, a two-time Olympian, a five-time world champion, and a former Olympic Coach? Apart from the quality of the instructors, runners spend their day in lecture and discussion sessions learning about schedule building, mental and physical preparation, injury prevention, nutrition, strength and flexibility training, motivation, cross-training, and race preparation. At the conclusion of each session, team members are encouraged to discuss what they have learned from the speakers and how they will apply those learnings during their upcoming season. Check!
And while certainly not last on their 10 point check list, they include Planned Recreational and Team building Activities – “activities with supervision that are fun and build a sense of team.” One thing our returning visitors to Camp Casey routinely tell us is how the experience keeps them coming back. Campers are housed in dorm-style facilities with either two-person rooms or team-space options. Meals are shared at the Mess Hall. And campers have access to the gym, the auditorium with its game rooms, the fields and the pool. And what camping experience doesn’t end with a nightly bonfire!
Registration for the 2015 Falcon Running Camp – July 19 -24, 2015 is open now! Visit http://spu.edu/athletics/falcon-running-camp to register today!
Perhaps a Running Camp wasn’t on your list of activities this summer. Whatever your need or interest, Camp Casey appeals to a broad spectrum of groups.
Be sure to visit the Falcon Running Camp Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/falconrunningcamp
With vast open spaces, ample options for lodging, great dining facilities, and a natural setting that provides for unique opportunities for learning and discovery, the answer to this question should be YES! Sports, education, personal growth or team building, we have the facilities and resources to facilitate them all.
Year after year, programs like Crossfire Residential Camps and Soccer Plus visit our facility. The camps provide premier soccer instruction and coaching for young adults. SPU Women’s Soccer team and many other local high school teams are annual visitors prior to the start each season.
Our fabulous football field is used by Gridiron Football Camp annually. Gridiron is a nonprofit that provides a safe fundamental full-contact football instruction for players in 3rd thru 8th grades. They have made using Camp Casey an annual tradition.
Roosevelt High School Cross Country team has been coming to Camp Casey Conference Center for running retreats since the 1970s and continues to bring the top 10 Varsity girls for a leadership camp and more intense training. Athletes can run along miles of our beaches or on quiet country roads.
Kiwanis Camp Casey is a special place for children with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spin bifida, congenital limb disorders or childhood spinal cord injuries. Children between the ages of 6-17 have the opportunity to spend a week with other kids with disabilities, being able to “just be themselves” and make friends that will last a lifetime.
Not really into sports and need an environment to be more reflective? We’ve also hosted Bellevue College, as well as the University of Washington’s Robinson Center for Young Scholars. Both offer leadership retreat programs. Various church organizations have found our unique location a plus for unplugging and building a sense of community within their organization.
You are not on your own when you plan your visit to Camp Casey. We have various programs we can offer you during your stay. Our Beach Seine Program has been used by everyone from senior citizens to preschool students. Groups have been challenged by our instructor in his quest to find and share fascinating sea life from the shores off of Camp Casey Conference Center. It’s much more fun to participate in the gathering of specimens in their natural environment and to see them first hand than to simply read about them.
The list of examples of the vast number of connecting, learning, and discovery is long. If you are still unsure if Camp Casey is the right place for your next retreat, call us. We will be happy to work with you to make your stay a success.
With its rambling network of woodland and prairie trails, idyllic waterfront views and easy, comfortable accommodations, it is no wonder that Camp Casey Conference Center makes the perfect runners retreat. Donna Jornlin, head cross-country coach for Roosevelt High School, has been coming to Camp Casey Conference Center for running retreats since the 1970s and continues to bring her team for two retreats every summer.
“I bring the top 10 Varsity girls in June for a leadership camp and more intense training,” Jornlin said. “We rent the Alumni House, cook together, train, play games, walk the beach and explore the fort. The entire group comes in late August for running and socializing as the season begins.”
The Roosevelt team uses the Alumni House and barracks for accommodations and takes advantage of the gym and pool for recreation. They also use Camp Casey food service and enjoy the recent improvements to the mess hall and food offerings.
“The setting is extraordinary. I've always loved the bluff run, and the wildlife,” Jornlin said. “Before I began coaching, we'd come for New Year's and stay in the Firehouse, when my daughters were young. Casey holds a lot of great memories for me and I saw it as a place to do the same for my athletes.”
After a long run, there are evening campfires (with S’mores of course), swimming and ice cream. The team makes a ferry trip to Port Townsend for a run at Fort Worden. Casey’s close location and variety of activities has made it an exciting place for the student athletes to return to over the years.
“Several girls have been a couple times and really look forward to being there. They even got up at 7 a.m. our last morning so we could run the fort loop one last time!” Jornlin said. “The moms who chaperone also ask to return each year because it's so peaceful. A bit of history, combined with such a unique setting and a great place to run, make Casey a real treasure,” Jornlin said. “I'm happy to promote it and hope it never changes.”
Affordable, beautiful and fun, Camp Casey is the perfect location for team members to become acquainted and form friendships. That’s why the Seattle Pacific University Crew Team retreats to Camp Casey every winter to play games, relax, unwind and build bonds that last all season long.
“As nearly two thirds of the team are new each year, we have found this retreat to be the most important thing we do, other than actual training,” Keith Jefferson, Seattle Pacific University Crew Coach, said. “Winter training is very demanding, and the team members’ relationships are pivotal to perseverance and success.”
The SPU crew teams include 25-30 men and women who stay in the Camp Casey Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQ). The BOQ is an all-inclusive space where groups can sleep, eat and hold group meetings. There is a commercial kitchen, dining hall and meeting rooms with AV capabilities in the building or adjacent. The Crew team enjoys using the BOQ as space to play games or watch movies. The gymnasium and field serve as perfect locations for energy burning activities and Fort Casey is the ideal setting for a game of Sardines (a hide and seek game).
“We would have significantly less unification, or achieve it more difficultly, without the Casey experience each year,” Jefferson said. “Casey is invaluable to us, and the only affordable way for us to do this really. The staff are great and the facilities are perfect for what we need.”
Camp Casey hosts many other sports teams throughout the year, who use the facilities for training and team bonding. The Camp offers a gymnasium and expansive high-quality play fields with the option to rent sports equipment (goals etc.). Guests are also able to take advantage of Camp Casey’s outdoor education programs, beachside fire pits and swimming pool (summer only).
National champion rower David Covey founded the Seattle Pacific University Crew team in 1973. The crew race season runs from March through June when the SPU crew competes in approximately ten race events around the Western U.S. For more information on the SPU Crew team, log on to http://www.spu.edu/depts/crew/ .
It’s no secret that one of the most popular features of Camp Casey Conference Center is its enormous playfield. After all, there aren’t many places that can accommodate two football fields and four soccer fields at the same time. Add the spectacular views, brand new restrooms and top-notch service by Casey staff, and it’s no wonder these fields fill up fast. Whether shared between groups, or booked exclusively, the playfields at Camp Casey are the perfect place to host a wide variety of athletic or recreational events.
“No one has huge field space anymore,” Robyn Myers, Manager of Conference Services at Camp Casey Conference Center, said. “We’ve really taken steps to be sure the field is level and is a safe playing area. We aerate, sand and fertilize once or twice every year. We have two fields now that we can water.”
Camp Casey has taken steps to drastically improve the grass on the field to satisfy higher-level soccer players who require quality turf. They’ve also recently installed brand new restrooms near the field, for easy access. They can provide soccer goals, both large and small, for rent. Groups can arrive early to line their own fields.
“We’ve had various groups use the field, from football to soccer to lacrosse. The field is also popular with marching bands. ROTC groups have been set up obstacle courses. Karate used the field for some practices in the summer. Some groups do yoga in the field in the morning,” Myers said. “We had a Tai Chi group out there one time. Flag football, ultimate Frisbee, softball games, Izzy Dizzy relays, Kiwanis has even used one of the little hills for a Slip’N Slide.”
The playfields at Camp Casey grow ever more popular every year, especially during the summer months. Guests are encouraged to reserve early in fall or winter if they are looking for a prime summer week. It’s often easier to book weekends and holidays, when summer camps are on hiatus. For more information on how to reserve the field log on to http://spu.edu/depts/casey .
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 .
Whatever the weather, it is hard to deny that Whidbey Island offers a uniquely beautiful landscape. Our Puget Sound island location makes the stormy days just as exciting as the sunny ones. Camp Casey Conference Center offers an ideal blend of outdoor and indoor spaces, to accommodate the needs of our guests, regardless of the weather. Read on to learn about the vast indoors spaces available for rent year-round at Camp Casey.
The Meeting Spaces
Camp Casey Conference Center has two auditoriums available for event rental. Auditorium A is the largest space, accommodating up to 350 people. The original design of the World War II era building has been preserved, but it has been upgraded with technology to suit today’s world. Guests of Camp Casey use the space for large performances, ceremonies and presentations. The auditorium has a built-in PA system and a wide variety of AV equipment and podiums and/or tables are available upon request.
The second, smaller auditorium at Camp Casey is ideal for groups up to 162 people. Chairs and tables are readily available and the space is equipped with a wall-mounted white-board, pull-down screen, ceiling mounted digital projector with DVD/VCR player, and connections for a laptop.
The classroom building is ideal for a groups looking for a more intimate setting, or for breakaway small groups. Each is equipped with a white board and optional AV and IT equipment. The building is a classic 1940s era construction, with wheelchair access and two restrooms. Each of the three classrooms spaces can be rented individually, or as a set.
Another very popular space at Camp Casey is known as Company Quarters F. The space is centrally located, fits 75 people and is moderately priced, making it accessible for clubs and crafters. This space is ideal for indoor games or large group classroom activities.
The Recreation Spaces
Camp Casey Conference Center is known for its amazing natural beauty and outdoor recreational amenities like vast parade field, outdoor heated swimming pool, blacktop basketball courts and sand volleyball courts, and tennis court. But, the recreational opportunities don’t end there. Camp Casey Conference Center also offers indoor recreation options, including a gymnasium with a ¾ size basketball court, and a game room, which features a pool table, Ping-Pong tables and a Foosball table.
To learn more about any of our indoor spaces, see diagrams and get pricing, visit us on the web at http://spu.edu/depts/casey .