Casey Fremstad

 
Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry
 
It’s Christmas at Holy Trinity!  Well, not really.  We’ve just been waiting since Christmas to meet our new Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry, Casey Fremstad.  After months of searching through a global pandemic, Casey was the cream that rose to the top.  Keep reading to learn about Casey and discover what brought her to Holy Trinity.
 
I am from a very small town in Wisconsin called De Soto. I grew up out in the country on one of the beautiful bluffs along the Mississippi. My family has 1 horse, 2 dogs, chickens, and various outdoor cats (despite the fact that I am allergic to pet dander,  love animals). I have two brothers (one is three years older, Jordan, and the other is my twin, Jason), and while they know how to push my buttons sometimes, I love them both dearly. Jordan currently works as a news reporter for a local station in La Crosse, WI and is engaged. My twin brother is currently working part-time in Viroqua, WI and is living on his own. My mom (Mary) works part-time at a floral shop in La Crosse, WI and my dad (Arne) works full-time as a financial planner for Thrivent Financial in Viroqua, WI. I graduated from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Theology and a double minor in Arts Management and Theatre. I love hammocking in parks with friends, exploring new local coffee shops (I used to be a barista), singing, playing bags/cornhole, journaling, and game nights with friends! My family used to go on roadtrips every summer so I have been to most national parks and love the outdoors. I also went to Italy for a study abroad trip my junior year of college. 
My first interest in youth ministry came from serving at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Ferryville, WI the summer after my freshman year of college. I was pursuing my degree in Theatre at the time and thought that my future career would be deeply rooted within the arts. I was hired on as a middle school counselor and two weeks before staff training received a call from the director asking if I would temporarily step into the role as a wrangler (works with the horses leads trail rides, horse camp, etc.) as one of the other wranglers was no longer able to serve at camp that summer. Serving as a wrangler in a support staff role for the summer was absolutely life-changing and it showed me what it meant to be a servant leader and not get recognition for everything. I returned the next summer as a high school counselor and I also served on the praise team as a singer both summers. After that I changed my major to Religious Studies and Theology and decided to pursue ministry full-time. The summer after my junior year I accepted an internship in Ocean Grove, New Jersey as a youth intern and spent the summer on the beach helping youth invest in a relationship with Jesus. This was a dynamic ministry experience with a parachurch organization and I was with kids every day of the week for various programming, small groups, and unstructured time. Both of these experiences have deeply impacted my life and passion for working with youth and serving in ministry. 
 
I am so unbelievably excited to be a part of the HTLC community and also to be a key member of the HTLC CYF program! I am incredibly passionate about relational ministry and cannot wait to cultivate space and time for children and youth of all ages to experience the love of Jesus Christ through programming, friendships, service trips, small groups, bible study, event nights, worship, and unstructured hang time! I see so much potential for growth within HTLC’s CYF programming and am excited to work with a team that believes in that programming and potential for growth as well. HTLC is a special place and I am excited for youth to see that and call the HTLC community home.  

 23 Questions with Casey

 
Starting a new job is hard enough, but beginning your first professional job virtually, in the middle of a pandemic is tricky. Read on to enjoy the thoughtful and hilarious responses of HTLC’s new Director of Youth and Family, Casey Fremstad.

Casey “leans” into the culture of Italy.
1.  What was your most memorable trip?
I went to Italy during my junior year of college. It was my first time getting a passport, leaving the country, getting on a plane. There were a lot of new experiences, but it was so memorable because of the incredible churches we saw and because it was my first chance to study abroad. [The other students and I] got to connect with a lot of locals, which was incredible because we didn’t speak fluent Italian, and they weren’t fluent in English, but we were still able to connect, share meals, and tell stories.
 
2. Do you like to travel?
I love to travel! I love to go different places. I grew up in a road trip family, so we love to go camping, different cabins, the national parks. As far as the U.S. goes, we’ve been to quite a few places in the States.

Strategizing how she’s going to beat Pastor Ben at Spicy Uno.
3. What else do you love?  Game Nights with friends. I definitely get a little competitive with them. I strategize.
 
4. Favorite Game?  I just picked up Spicy Uno. It’s super fun and easy to pick up. Now I cannot play Normal UNO!
 
5. Coffee or Tea?  Absolutely coffee always. I like tea, but given the choice, I will pick coffee regardless of the time of day.

Before coming to HTLC, Casey worked as a barista at an indie coffee shop in La Crosse, WI.
6. What is the root of your addiction to coffee?
I think it started with the aesthetic of it. I loved the coffee shop vibe and the “hipster journaling, sipping their latte” kind of thing and I wanted to be a part of that scene. And then I started to loooove coffee. So now I’m stuck with it.
 
7. We know you like music and to sing. What are some of your favorite bands?
I do love to sing! My all-time favorite group, which was also my first concert, is Lake Street Dive. I saw them in St. Paul. They are super cool. I don’t think there’s a song they have that I don’t like. I always like to listen to them, in any mood.
 

Enjoying the back roads of Wisconsin
8. Are you outdoorsy?  I love the water. I love water activities and being on the water. I’ve never jet skied, but I love kayaking, canoeing, swimming…and just being in the water.
 
9. Do you have a favorite book?  Growing up my favorite book was The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews. It reads like a storybook, but it’s a chapter book. The first time I heard it was in the 3rd grade. It challenges you to have an open imagination for these characters, so if I needed a book to refocus myself or relearn the joy of reading, that was one I used to turn to. I still have a copy on my bookshelf.
 
10. Do you have a favorite book now?  I really liked The Book Thief. The storytelling is so unique and I love that the perspective of the narrator is Death. It talks about a lot of hard topics in a way that’s engaging and helps you reflect.
 
11. You initially pursued a Theater degree at the beginning of college. Why did you choose that?  I didn’t start singing or do anything arts-related until middle school. I was inspired by my choir director to pursue it and that led to drama and acting, in school and 4H. I found out I was passionate about performing and theater seemed the best route. That seemed like a general arts degree and I thought being multi-disciplinary would be a good route. 
I loved performing. I wasn’t always a fan of the most technical part of performing, but I liked the creative part of it.

“Degree Made Possible by Jesus + Coffee”
12. In the middle of your sophomore year of college, you changed your degree to Religious Studies. What happened to help you make that choice?The summer after my freshman year at college, I served at Sugar Creek Bible Camp, hired as a middle school counselor. A few weeks before, I was asked to change to horse wrangler. This meant getting the horses and the barn ready for the campers. It was a lot of behind the scenes work, really hard work, very difficult. It was hot and we didn’t always get to participate in the camp activities and I noticed…. The Lord had to change my heart a little bit because I would be envious of some of the other staff members and think “That should be me doing these activities and games. That’s what I was hired for and instead I’m working my tail off, behind the scenes and not getting recognized for it.”
I had a heart-to-heart with some of the other staffers and I realized what a gift it is to serve as a support staff in my first summer. They helped me to understand what it looks like to be a servant leader in ministry. This is what true ministry is. We shouldn’t be looking for recognition for the ministry we’re doing. I had a big change of heart that summer.
The next summer I worked with kids more and I loved that. I remember thinking, “I want to pursue this full time ministry and I think I need to change my education track to do so.”

“I am a Warri(her)!” Yes, she is!
13. Is this the experience that made you want to work with kids?  Yes, I worked a lot with the kids the first summer and I knew then I wanted to make a change. The second summer solidified my decision to go into ministry.
[When I was younger], I served as a babysitter. I love the youthful energy kids bring, but I always saw [kids] as a “growing up job.” I knew I connected with kids, but I didn’t know what that looked like as a career.
Working with kids feels like home, it’s comfortable. I was able to step into roles at camp with a confidence I didn’t know I had. I love being a mentor, someone the kids can turn to, even just to be goofy when they are too cool to participate. I like being someone they can count on and connecting with them in so many ways, showing them what it looks like to have a healthy role model and have healthy friendships.
I loved to watch them build a healthy relationship with Christ. All I could think was “Wow! This is so important. This is everything. How can I continue to connect kids to Jesus because it’s so fundamental.”
 
14. Are you a foodie?  I love food! I love trying new things. Love going to trendy/unique bar and grill style restaurants that have their own signature menu. My favorite food is pizza. I could have it every night of the week.
 
15. Do you prefer sweet or savory?  I like both, preferably in combination, but if push comes to shove, I’ll say sweet.
 
16. Are you an animal lover?  I am. I’m allergic to pet dander so I take allergy meds to be around them, but I love dogs, cats, horses. Anything furry that moves…
 

Trying to stay upbeat through COVID-19!
17. What did you do during lock down for mental health?  I moved back home when the University shut down so I tried to stay connected with friends via Facetime. Spiritually, I did a lot of devotionals, journaling, and reflection on the devotional.
Finding a routine was really helpful. I tried making sure I wasn’t sleeping in too much and that I got outside regularly. The routine was a big part of it.
 
18. What did you do during lock down for fun?  I tried to stay connected with friends via FaceTime. We had movie nights with streaming parties where we used apps to watch the same movies. Other times, we just hit PLAY at the same time.
 
19. In your life so far, what accomplishment makes you the proudest?  Going to school for what I was passionate about and following that. Coming from a small, rural community with a tiny, almost non-existent arts program….. trying to go to these big schools and auditioning was super intimidating. I didn’t have the vocal background a lot of other students had so I knew I was going to be behind. An accomplishment for me was going, auditioning, applying, and sticking to it.
 
20. In your life so far, what do you regret?  I regret trying to please everyone through most of HS and freshman year of college. I wasn’t confident in my identity and who I was because I was so busy changing to fit the molds of how people saw me versus who I was… and am. I don’t want to say I wasted time, but I spent a lot of time trying to fit into the boxes people put me in. I created watered down friendships and associations that didn’t make it through to where I am today. I wish I had spent more time investing in genuine friendships with people who supported me for who I am, no matter what.
 

Go, Enneagram 6!
21. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Before high school and the first part of college, I would have sworn I was an extrovert. But now, as I’m growing into myself and recognizing tendencies, I’d say introvert. I need to.process and think before I speak. I love that alone time at the end of the day to relax and process. But then again, I love being around people and certain groups definitely energize me. I always have that “FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).” (Casey had to explain this to me.)
 
22. Some of the staff are slightly obsessed with Enneagram. What number are you?
I recently retook the test and it said I was a 6. My top 3 scores are 6, 9, and 3. So–Go, Enneagram 6!
 
23. Do you follow any sports teams? I’m a Packers fan!
 
HTLC is so lucky to have you on the team, Casey! We look forward to that Spicy Uno game!