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50 Years of Outdoor Education!

Posted on Jan 31 by

This past fall we welcomed students from the Tacoma Kitebridge international boarding school program. Kitebridge, a partnership with top-ranked Lutheran high schools across the United States, provides “housing, acculturation services and academic and college advising for high school students from China and South Korea.” They boast that every student who graduates is accepted to one of his or her top five college choices. This time around, Kitebridge was looking for a retreat venue to accommodate nine students plus staff. An obvious choice was the Quartermaster building, suitable for small groups and ideal for keeping activities under one roof. This building, remodeled in 2001 and fully accessible, contains spaces for groups to meet, cook, eat, and sleep within one facility. Kim Thomas said, “We simply wanted an opportunity for our students to relax and reconnect with one another in a beautiful setting. It worked!” Part of their weekend activities included the forest and meadow walk. Kim said that their guide, TJ, was terrific, and the kids (and staff) learned a ton! This walk is a two-hour class limited to 60...


Did you or your group plan a retreat this year?

Posted on Jan 15 by

Matthew Kieswether, youth director at LifeWay Church in Federal Way, is no stranger to Camp Casey.  Camp Casey was the venue for a weekend retreat for students while he was enrolled in SPU’s Master of Arts Teaching (MAT) program, and has since taken his family to Camp Casey for family camping outings.  It should come as no surprise that when his church was looking for a unique setting, something historic and surrounded by natural beauty, Camp Casey was the obvious choice. Matthew and his 36 youth and adults knew as soon as they arrived at Camp Casey that they had made the right choice. “The barracks were awesome”, says Keiswether, “it was a good way to provide an environment where students and adults could connect to one another”. The group also used the South Commons Building for their craft room and group meetings. The mess hall provided meals for their retreat. What about price? Matthew said the price for the camp was good in comparison to other camps they considered for the retreat. Apart from lip sync battles, sword...


A 40-year connection to Camp Casey

Posted on Dec 29 by

As a young boy, a photo of a small Ryan LaBrie stuffed inside a cannon was captured as he and his father toured Fort Casey State Park. It was a photo that LaBrie, associate professor of management and information systems, would duplicate years later with his own 6-year-old son. As an undergraduate student at SPU in the mid ‘80s, he again spent summers at Camp Casey, this time as a grounds keeper living in the barracks. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he met Jenifer, a new high school graduate working in the camp kitchen. They started dating and by the end of summer he discovered that she would also be attending SPU. It was then that he knew they would be wed. As a side note, Jenifer LaBrie is currently assistant director for prospect research and management, responsible for all aspects of donor research in support of SPU’s major gift department. Fast forward to 2010 when Ryan, and four other faculty members began hosting and participating in the annual Business Residency retreat. Twenty-four newly minted business...


Camp Canlis

Posted on Dec 15 by

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines camping as “a place usually away from urban areas where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or for temporary residence.”  Everyone’s idea of camping is a little different. At SPU’s Camp Casey Conference Center, we offer a varied camping experience that offers the Fire Hall, Alumni House, BOQ, semi-private Company Quarters, Barracks, and 25 campsites. Each campsite comes with water, electricity, picnic table, and fire ring. When the leadership team from Seattle’s own Canlis Restaurant was looking for a location for their retreat, they had something specific in mind. Their criteria was that the venue be a short drive away, surrounded by forest, and conducive to building community. They also wanted to be able to take meals together and have lots of open space to play their favorite outdoor activity, laser tag. It was no surprise to us that they selected our sister property, Fort Casey Inn. The Inn is the former non-commissioned officers’ quarters, circa 1909 – part of the original Fort Casey.  The 20 key managers of the Canlis team, including...


Friendships and Good Times

Posted on Nov 29 by

Over the years when discussing our campers’ experiences, we’ve shared memories of friendships and good times spent on the grounds of Camp Casey. But, until now, we were not aware of any “love connections” that have resulted. A recent discussion with Seattle Pacific University alum Danny Walter produced both. Having spent the summer of ’92 as an SPU day camp counselor, he said it was the best summer of his life. As a camp counselor he frequented our neighbor Ft. Casey by day, leading activities and playing sardine (yes, it’s a real game … look it up!) His fondest memory, however, is sharing the barracks with other day camp counselors and the cleaning and landscaping staff during that summer. While they worked hard during the day, they had the evenings to themselves. Those nights were filled with forming new and long-lasting friendships. They enjoyed playing games like Uno, basketball, volleyball – and partaking in all the other amenities the camp had to offer. A product of the relationships they built was the Thomas Parker Club. On the heels of the...


Entiat 6th grade’s 13th year!

Posted on Nov 15 by

2015 marks the 13th year that Lee Southard and his team have brought his Entiat Middle School 6th grade class to Camp Casey.  Volunteer parents and leadership chaperones from Entiat Middle School are included in this adventure.  This is Lee’s story: “Many of our students have never left our neck of the woods. Every year I have students that have never been to Seattle; most have never been to the Pacific Science Center or ridden on a ferry. We stop at Snoqualmie Falls and the Pacific Science Center on the first leg of our trip. First day lunch is always burgers from Seattle’s famous Dick’s Drive-In. We then cross on the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton. At camp, we participate in the sea lab, beach seine, and forest meadow classes, taught by Keith Ludeman. It is apparent from the students’ first contact with Keith that they are in for an educational, entertaining, and fun time. Keith draws the students in even if they are normally not inclined to do so. Whether it’s the “Velcro” he tosses on students during...

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