By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold

Many moons ago, a tall, quiet feller from Oklahoma was hired to serve as a camp counselor at a summer camp in Wisconsin. The feller was me, the camp was named Gray, and the year was 2006. I had just graduated from college, and I thought it would be fun to work at a summer camp for one summer before I found more permanent employment.

Just a couple weeks after I arrived, I realized that one summer wasn’t going to be enough. I fell in love with the mission of Camp Gray, and serving at Camp Gray made me feel more fully alive than I’d ever felt before.

If you would have told me back in 2006 that I’d still be here today, in 2017, I’d be in disbelief. Also, I would have considered myself just about the luckiest feller around. It’s been an incredible blessing to serve atop the Camp Gray mountain for so long – it’s a gift that I don’t deserve. I’ll spend the rest of my life thanking God for this humbling and amazing gift.

Nobody wants to leave Camp Gray – the community, the joy, the fun, and the faith that is so vibrantly lived out at Camp Gray is infectious – but eventually, we’re all called to leave the mountain. Eventually, each of us must journey down into the valley, bringing with us the hope and love found in abundance here on the mountain we call Camp Gray.

I write this letter today to share with you that Summer Camp 2017 was my last at Camp Gray. Throughout the past several months, it’s become clear that the Lord is calling me to new challenges and to new adventures.

I’m not leaving right away – I’ll be here until late-October, doing everything I can to ensure there’s a smooth transition for the future of Camp Gray. I have a handful of blogs I’m hoping to write before I leave, as well, including one more mailbag (so get those questions in fast by emailing bigfun@campgray.com).

If you’re interested in serving full-time at Camp Gray, the job description for Camp’s Assistant Director position and the application will be posted early next week.

The future is incredibly bright at Camp Gray. Our new dining hall will allow Camp Gray to serve more people throughout the year, as well as give us adequate indoor space for inclement weather. Next month, we’re breaking ground on our new gymnasium, which will enhance our programs, allowing us to much better serve our 5,000 annual campers and retreatants. Plans to improve the athletic field and resurface the roads are on the docket, as well.

Finally, I’m struggling to find the words to properly thank you for your abundant support of Camp Gray, and for your support of me personally, as well. It has been an absolute joy to serve at Camp Gray for all these years, and one of the biggest reasons is you – the Camp Gray family. Perhaps it’s cliché that we call the people of Camp Gray the “Camp Gray family,” but there’s a very logical reason for this. The wonderful people of the Gray – campers, camper families, staffers, and benefactors – become like family. It truly is the people that make Camp Gray Camp Gray. Though I’ll be leaving Camp Gray, I’m blessed to always remain a part of the family.

So while I look for the words to properly thank you for your support, I’ll begin by simply saying “thank you.” And I’m grateful for the time I have left at Camp Gray to continue searching for the appropriate way to offer my most sincere gratitude.

Thank you.

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