Pandemic weary teens benefit from retreat

Pandemic weary teens benefit from retreat

A worship bonfire warmed the spirits of high school students visiting Camp Casey on a crisp January night. “Everyone was super excited about it, even though it was super cold,” said Elise Sanderson, a minister at the Seattle Church of Christ, where she works with teenagers. Her husband, Riley, led worship that took place at the burn pit located near the shore.

More than 40 teens from around the Puget Sound region came to Camp Casey in mid-January to enjoy a weekend of worship, games, and fellowship during the Seattle Church of Christ’s annual Winter Rally, which drew adolescents from sister churches in Seattle, Tacoma, and Oregon.

“We do our best to teach the Bible and, at the same time, have fun with each other,” Sanderson said. They spent nearly three days at Camp Casey. In addition to Bible lessons, discussion groups, relay races and games, Sanderson said the teens also enjoyed a decent amount of free time together walking the grounds and the beach, which was a benefit for the pandemic-weary teens. “We felt like we were able to do it safely,” said Sanderson of the rally. “We had noticed a really big decline in the kids’ mental health and spiritual health prior to the weekend.” She added that teens have been hard hit by the lockdown and isolation that took place during the pandemic.

Camp Casey remains open for group events and family gatherings. Bedrooms are available for single occupancy. Mess Hall A, which is Casey’s only ventilated building, is the only place on campus where indoor meetings can take place.

The Seattle Church of Christ brought their own food for breakfasts and then catered lunches and dinners through Camp Casey. Sanderson complimented the efforts of Chef Jackie Huerta. “She was the absolute sweetest. The kids just adored her,” Sanderson said. She added several reasons factored into the decision to hold the rally at Camp Casey: affordability, great location, historic buildings, and fabulous views. “It was beautiful,” Sanderson said. “Everybody just loved the scenery.”