By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
A great thrill for me personally in working at Camp Gray is that I’ve been here long enough to literally watch kids grow up each year, one week at a time. My first two summers on staff, I had the privilege of counseling every age group of campers, from 2nd – 11th grade.
This past summer there were several Pathfinders (the oldest campers on main camp) who had been my campers as Settlers (the youngest campers on main camp) 5 years ago, my first summer on staff. Our Settler campers look up to our Pathfinders, so it put a smile on my face to see those campers come full circle and become the camper leaders of Camp Gray.
However, even more special to me, is working alongside staff who attended Camp Gray as high schoolers during my first two summers on staff. The stories I could tell (and that I do tell) about the hilarious things they did as campers make me laugh just thinking about them.
I could write a story about each one of the campers-turned-staffers that I’ve seen in my time here. I am proud of each and every one of them. For now, we’ll just start with one: the gentleman responsible for the creation of Camp Gray’s spiffy new website – Brian Dvorsky.
Way back in 2007 I was a counselor, and young Brian was a camper, in the Explorer Village during Session 7. I greatly enjoyed my time as an Explorer counselor, because as 10th-12th graders, these campers can be challenged more than the younger campers. I look back fondly on all of the sessions that I was a part of. This particular session, however, stands out for the crazy, fun assortment of people in the group, and because four of the 15 campers eventually served on our staff. Though this whole week stands out in my memory, one small part of it stands clearer than the rest. This is when, at the end of the week, as I was bidding farewell to all the campers, Brian, speaking on behalf of the gentlemen Explorer campers that week said, “Thanks for teaching us how to be men.”
Now, usually when I read in books and articles exact quotes that took place several years ago, I can’t help but be a little skeptical of the quote’s authenticity, because frankly, how can anyone remember a direct quote from more than four years ago? This quote stuck with me though, even this many years later, because it was a great reminder of the impact staff have on campers of all ages at Camp Gray.
After Brian graduated from high school, he was hired in 2009 to work in the kitchen, and lived out wonderfully, a verse which we cite often during Summer Camp; “Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, the leader as the servant. (Luke 22:26)” Brian was a great servant leader that summer, as well as the next two summers, when he was hired back in 2010 and 2011 to be a counselor (talk about seeing a camper come full circle!).
Early this past summer, during a conversation with Brian, I mentioned that we had begun exploring options to get a new website created for Camp Gray, and Brian (who, I should add, has extensive website building experience and knowledge), without skipping a beat, told me he would be happy to take a swing at building us a new site.
Brian sacrificed two weeks of counseling this past summer while he worked on the site in the office, plus many hours this fall, to help Camp Gray continue to grow. It’s an exciting time at Camp Gray, as improvements are nearly ubiquitous – the new website will be joined by a new swimming pool and basketball court to be built in the spring. It’s humbling to be a part of Camp Gray because, at every turn, someone else is stepping up to help Camp grow and when Camp grows, kids grow.
Brian, once again, was a true example of what it means to be a servant leader. So, in closing, Brian, thanks for teaching us how to be servant leaders.