A treasured place to call home for a week.
Camp Seabeck takes place on the beautiful grounds of the Seabeck Conference Center. Located on scenic Hood Canal, the Seabeck Conference Center (www.seabeck.org) is surrounded by forests and spectacular views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. Once a logging community, the grounds and facilities of the Seabeck Conference Center, offer campers a setting like no other. As you arrive, you will cross the bridge over the old mill pond with rowboats floating there now instead of giant logs. There is a strong sense of the past with early pioneer homes and the remodeled Inn (which look the same as they did in the early 1800s) interspersed with modern buildings. It is as comfortable as much as it is beautiful.
Camp Seabeck is an independent volunteer operated 501(c)(3) non profit that is dedicated to maintaining, sustaining, preserving and enhancing the camp for future generations.
While they are separate entities, the histories of Camp Seabeck, the Seabeck Conference Center and town of Seabeck are intertwined. In the 1850s, Marshall Blinn and William Adams combined their resources and vision of a modern lumber community to create the town of Seabeck. A few decades later, two prominent Seattle men, Laurence Colman and Arn Allen, formed a similar partnership to realize a dream for a facility for YMCA and YWCA groups to hold summer conferences. Laurence Colman was the son of timber pioneer, James Colman. Arn Allen was the General Secretary of the Seattle YMCA. Laurence and his brother, George, purchased the town and surrounding land in 1914. Many of the old buildings were restored. Arn took over the administration and operation of the grounds. For 29 years Arn Allen managed the Seabeck Conference Center as part of his YMCA responsibilities. His influence on the mission and character is still felt today.
In those early days, Seabeck Conference Center hosted groups only in summer. At the end of June, when school was out, several YMCA families would hold a work camp to set up all the empty houses and some tent buildings for summer occupancy. This became known as Seabeck Family Camp which eventually, years later, spawned Camp Seabeck. When the conference center moved to year-around operations, the need for that June work camp went away, but Family Camp remained, moving to a week in July. As their population grew, they elected a Board of Directors and incorporated as Family Camp, Inc. By the Eighties, Family Camp had grown beyond the 250-person capacity of the conference center. The Board instituted a waiting list, then were forced to institute a strict rule that if a family missed one year, they’d drop to the bottom of the list.
This would not do. Generations had enjoyed Family Camp each summer, and some of the families had grown so that each July was a large family reunion. The Baby Boomers were now having babies. Why should the next generation be left out?
Around this time, about 1990, one of the Family Camp leaders, Dr. John Kirkpatrick, was having lunch with a fellow doctor at Virginia Mason, telling him about the plight of his camp’s growth beyond capacity. Dr. John Rieke had direct ties to Family Camp as his parents had met there. Between the two, they decided to offer some of the younger families a second opportunity. They approached the Seabeck Conference Center and found that the last week in June was available. The Family Camp Board approved the start of another camp in the summer of 1991, which is known as Camp Seabeck.
The Kirkpatricks were the first Chair Family of Camp Seabeck. About a dozen other families joined them and invited others. For the first decade, the two camps, Family Camp and Camp Seabeck, shared legal identity, insurance, by-laws, etc. Then, in 2011, Family Camp suggested that the groups were separate enough for Camp Seabeck to become its own organization. During a yearlong process, bylaws were written which included a legally responsible board of three: a president, treasurer and secretary. The Camp Seabeck board is responsible for guidance and legalities, finances and registrations. The one programming committee, the combination of past and future Chair Families, organizes and evaluates camp each year and recruits new Chairs. The IRS approved non-profit 501(c)(3) status in 2012. Camp Seabeck is operated and led entirely by camper volunteers.
Seabeck Conference Center Address:
13395 Lagoon Drive NW, Seabeck, WA 98380