Jay Johnson Returns to Casey

Jay Johnson Returns to Casey

The Northwest Herb Symposium was born

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.