Just a couple of kids serving on Camp’s 2011 Summer Staff!

By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold

Outside, it was a quintessential Wisconsin autumn afternoon, the bright shining sun warming those out enjoying the day’s beauty. The deciduous trees in the area clung tightly to their remaining brightly colored leaves, trying their best to extend fall a few more days.

Inside the little Church on Main Street, it was a quintessential Catholic Nuptial Mass. The pews were filled with abundantly joyful and supportive family and friends of the bride and groom. Sweet music filled the Church, its beauty only surpassed by that of the bride.

Saint John Paul II once said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

For the last few days, I’ve been feeling especially confident in our nation and the whole world.

On Saturday, I was privileged to witness the marriage of Ryan McGrath and Kari Hanson. You might recognize Ryan and Kari. Both have a long history with Camp Gray. Both are incredible human beings from wonderful families.

I first met Ryan back during the summer of 2007 – he was an Explorer camper here at Camp Gray. He wowed his counselors with his energy, his contagious joy, his kindness, and his top-notch musical abilities.

In the fall of 2007, I first met Ryan’s girlfriend, Kari. Ryan and Kari were at Camp Gray for a Confirmation Retreat. It was obvious Ryan had found himself a keeper – a caring, fun, and inspiring young woman who was (and is!) his biggest fan.

Such joy!

Such joy! (photo credit: Maison Meredith Photography)

A couple years later, they would serve on Camp’s Summer Staff together. He was the goofy, guitar-playing, hard-working Maintenance Assistant that kids and staffers clamored to be around. She was the kind, caring, funny, and musically talented Camp Counselor that inspired both her campers and her fellow staffers.

Ryan and Kari’s first chapter together was many pages long – they’d been dating for 8 years! Celebrating their Nuptial Mass – helping to kick off their second chapter – was Fr. Val Zdilla, the pastor of Resurrection University Catholic Parish in Bozeman, MT. Ryan and Kari both attended school in Bozeman, forging a tight friendship with Fr. Val. He (along with many of Ryan and Kari’s friends!) traveled from Montana to be a part of the big day.

We’re blessed at Camp Gray to have beautiful facilities, fun activities, and lots of wooded land to explore. It’s been said before many times though: it’s the people that make Camp Gray Camp Gray. It’s the relationships that are forged between staffers, campers, benefactors, and camp families.

To know these two wonderful people, and to be a witness to the beginning of their next chapter, is an incredible gift.

On behalf of the entire Camp Gray Family, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Ryan McGrath! Praise the Lord for the beautiful vocation of marriage. Praise the Lord for wonderful servant-hearted people like Ryan and Kari. Praise the Lord for our awesome Camp, which gives so many a safe place to create long-lasting friendships.

Yes indeed, friends. I’m feeling especially confident in our nation and the whole world. Ryan and Kari’s love for each other is a bright shining light in this sometimes-dark world.

Thanks for reading!