By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
Here we are, in the latter half of the final month of the year 2012. It has been quite a year!
As I began thinking about what this “year-in-review” post would entail, it was overwhelming trying to remember all of the great things that occurred at Camp Gray over the course of this past year. Seriously, it’s just been one heckuva year. I sent Jeff & Rebecca an email last week seeking help in remembering all of the monumental events from the past year.
This was the entirety of Rebecca’s almost immediate and extremely brief response:
Yes indeed, let’s start with the helicopter. On the final day of Summer Camp staff training back in early June, a helicopter landed on the Athletic Field at Camp Gray. (read all about it! watch it!)
In the blink of an eye, the Chopper appeared above the trees of Camp’s AF, landed, delivered a note, inspired our staff, and flew away. Our 50-person staff then went on to inspire over 1,200 Summer Camp campers. If the actions of our full-time staff inspire our seasonal staff to dream more, and to become more, and the actions of our seasonal staff does the same for our campers, we’re taking steps to make this world a better place.
In everything we do at Camp Gray, impacting the lives of campers, and inspiring them to dream more, and to become more, and to grow closer to the Lord, is our number one goal.
Speaking of a blink of an eye, this year, it seems, has gone by just as fast.
I recently stumbled across an article I wrote back in January 2012 for our annual winter newsletter, “The Camp Gray Gazette” (be on the lookout in mid-January 2013 for the next issue!). The article covered, with excitement, anticipation, and hope, the many improvements that were to come during our 59th year of existence.
The article spoke of a new swimming pool, a new basketball court, a new office, a new retreat space, and a new morning time adventure called PODS. Now, nearly 12 months later, it’s fun to reflect on those words of anticipation and hope with the clarity of hindsight. At the time of writing that article, the funds had been raised for the new pool, the grant for our new basketball court was secured, and early plans were in the works for the office, retreat space, and PODS.
Even still, I couldn’t have imagined how this year would turn out, and just how incredible all of these improvements would be for Camp Gray. While it’s fun to read those words with the clarity of time, it’s also extremely humbling. The support that we’ve received over the course of the past year to make all of these improvements a reality has been an enormous blessing.
Our new, twice-as-big-as-the-old-pool swimming pool was a huge hit this summer (it didn’t hurt that Summer 2012 was one of the hottest Wisconsin summers in recorded history!). The new basketball court, the center of our main-camp area, is more beautiful and safer than before. We received loads of positive feedback regarding our new morning adventure, PODS, and it inspired a popular 12-week youtube sensation, MUSIC MONDAYS. The new retreat space, which replaced “The Joe,” and was completed this fall, has been a wonderful new addition to our year-round retreats and events. And the new office has already borne much fruit for the future of Camp Gray.
All of these physical and programming improvements, when coupled with the inspiration of impacting lives, have given our staff the tools to inspire hundreds of young people each year. We thank you for your support in helping us to grow the future of the Church, and we thank you for trusting us with this great responsibility. Also, we thank you for spreading the word about Camp Gray, and for registering early for Summer Camp 2013 – we’re thrilled that registrations for Summer Camp 2013 are up 109% from this day last year!
With the end of 2012 coming fast, the time has come to start looking forward to what lies ahead for Camp Gray in 2013. While 2013 won’t entail as much in the way of physical improvements as 2012 (keep an eye on 2014 for more of that!), it is a big year for Camp Gray. 2013 marks sixty years since Monsignor Francis X. Gray’s dream of creating a safe and fun environment for youth first started to become a reality with the purchase of 125 of our current 225 acres, back in 1953. In 60 years of existence, over 100,000 youth have come and gone down our long driveway off of Shady Lane Rd., and have been inspired by our thousands of staff that have served at Camp Gray.
We want to hear from you – ALL OF YOU! There will be more information about the gathering of stories, photos, etc. in the aforementioned “Camp Gray Gazette,” so please be on lookout for that, again, in mid-January.
For now, from all of us at Camp Gray, we wish you a wonderful Christmas! The Tuesdays with Topher crew will be taking the next two Tuesdays off from blogging to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Come on back on January 8th for the kick-off to another great year of Camp Gray blogging!
We invite you to check out the Camp Gray facebook page daily for the remaining 13 days of 2012 for a daily “Best of 2012” post of blogs, videos, photos, etc. (in addition, there are two more Music Monday videos set to premiere on Dec. 24th and Dec. 31st!).
God bless you all!
Do you have questions (about CG, sports, faith, coffee… anything!) for the semi-regular Tuesdays with Topher mailbag? Email! Thanks to those that have already emailed over questions! Check out the latest mailbag by clicking here.