A few years back, the Sjoholm family hosted another couple at their family cabin for a holiday getaway. They had such a great time that Chris Sjoholm, Seattle Pacific University Class of ’92, suggested they invite a few other friends to come along the next year. It took only a few years for the group to grow beyond the capacity of the cabin, and once the word got out, more and more friends and family wanted to join. And so, the annual Sjoholm friends and family reunion was born.
Chris, being a Seattle Pacific alum, instinctively knew that Casey was the ideal place for his growing group. He attended several SPU hosted retreats and camps at Casey during his college years, and was familiar with the various lodging options and the many indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities. This, along with affordability, made Casey the ideal selection. Now in its 18th year, the Sjoholm family and friends retreat has grown to a group of 24 men. “Somewhere along the line, the ladies decided to let it become a men’s retreat,” says Chris. In addition to Chris, the group has a strong SPU connection, boasting four additional SPU alumni: Paul Sjoholm ’83, Steve Scribner ’84, Josh Meier ’04, and Russ McElroy ’83. The youngest in the group is 15, and the oldest is just turning 60 this year.
The SPU connection, though, isn’t the most noteworthy element of this annual retreat. The friends and family retreat set aside an afternoon during their weekend reunion to get out and do a service project. Maintaining hiking trails around Casey, beach cleanup, and noxious weed abatement are all examples of service projects in previous years. This year, they were scheduled to build planting beds at the Pacific Rim Institute but made a last-minute change due to weather (frozen ground). They quickly adjusted and spent the afternoon picking up garbage around Fort Casey State Park.
The Sjoholm friends and family plans are simple. get together and enjoy each other’s company. This year everyone was asked to bring their favorite board game. They were staying in the Quartermaster building and wanted to take advantage of the large common area/meeting room. What was unexpected is that everyone brought more than just one of their favorite games. They ended up with 400 board games, and you can do the math.