During two nights this summer, lodging at the Camp Casey Conference Center will reach capacity with every bed and bunk filled.
Robyn Myers, manager of conference services, estimates that number to be about 600, which for at least one night in July and another in August, will make the population of Camp Casey greater than the population of 100 small towns in Washington.
“It’s fun,” Myers said, “except for when you’re the person who’s on-call.”
Myers is kidding, of course.
Promoting the sprawling conference center grounds owned and managed by Seattle Pacific University is chief among her responsibilities.
A Camp Casey Open House from noon-4 p.m., Friday, June 13, will be a means to helping achieve that goal as the public is invited to get a close look at everything the center has to offer.
It’s also a way to answer questions to clear up some confusion that tends to come with the camp’s name and signs that reveal private ownership.
Seattle Pacific University owns 240 acres that make up Camp Casey, which is located next to Fort Casey State Park, on the west end of Coupeville.
The center of activity is a much more concentrated area that contains a large field, outdoor swimming pool, mess hall, gymnasium and various barracks that once housed more than 400 enlisted men at the former U.S. military installation known as Fort Casey.
Separate houses that were once officer’s quarters also line a portion of the property, including the Colonel’s House on the far west end.
The Open House will give visitors a chance to swim for free in the heated pool, play games in the gym, fly a kite on the lawn or visit the “Sea Lab,” a marine biology teaching facility.
There will be a special Colonel’s House tour at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
At Fort Casey State Park, tours of the fort (1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and Admiralty Head Lighthouse (1:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.) will take place.
Camp Casey has served as a popular conference and youth camp destination, a place where kids in the community have learned how to swim and a spot to hold sports camps and athletic practices.
The former officer’s quarters, now known as the Fort Casey Inn, are also rentals in demand. Entire wedding parties sometimes stay there.
“We’re busy,” Myers said.
Seattle Pacific’s ownership of Camp Casey dates back to 1956. Myers, who grew up in Oak Harbor, said some are still unclear about camp access.
Is the general public allowed to walk the grounds at Camp Casey?
“Yes,” Myers said. “We do require folks to check in at the office.”
Parking a vehicle on the grounds is OK, too, as long as visitors check in at camp “headquarters” at the center’s north entrance during hours it is staffed. This is for safety purposes as well as liability, Myers said.
Camp Casey is open seven days per week.