By: Angela Lademan

I woke up this morning, looked out my window and realized: IT’S NOVEMBER! Now that a few months have gone by since the start of our year round program, I wanna rewind to our first group of the year, our family camp. For a question was posed to me that, at the time, I wasn’t quite sure how to answer, and since then, I have continued to explore: what is it that motivates the Camp Gray staff?

I was having a conversation with a gentleman who’s job has something to do with training companies in effective customer service. He was fascinated and impressed with the Camp Gray staff and was wondering what kind of secrets the Hoebens were keeping from the rest of the world on how to train for and maintain quality customer service. He said that he was going to have a chat with Jeff, and perhaps he did and was greatly enlightened, for Jeff always has good things to say, but for what it’s worth, I’d like to offer some of my reflections on the secret to the joy, energy, and drive found here at Camp Gray (and maybe Jeff would agree and sir, if you are reading this, I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to give you a decent answer–I can be a slow thinker).

Conclusion #1: Coffee

On one early morning in October, we were working with our second or third Rome Corners group of 50-75 students. It was the last day of a three day retreat. I was tired, wet from a stream hike, dirty, and wearing the same shirt that I had on for the last three days. I went to pour some steamy coffee into my travel mug to drink on our way to solo hikes. One of the chaperons saw and exclaimed, “So, that is the secret to the Camp Gray energy!” I merely smiled and thought to myself Coffee is indeed a luxury, but not quite the secret.

Conclusion #2: Fun and Games

On another occasion, a sixth grader was asking me what it was like to work here. After I gave a short description, she decided that she would want to work here as well because “You just get to have fun at camp all day and play games.” Well, she was close, but not quite there.

I’m sure there have been many other conclusions drawn about the Camp Gray staff, but from what I can see, and from my own experience having the joy of working here this year as a volunteer, the motivation is rooted in the center of camp in a little chapel on the edge of the woods: Jesus in the tabernacle.

From the little saints quotes posted in Moses, to the pictures of the Sacred Heart in all the buildings, to the daily duties camp requires, I am reminded that the only reason I am here is for the Lord. And so, dear sir, what does this have to do with the customer service here at Camp Gray? I’d say it has everything to do with it. Each camper is not simply a customer who walks in, purchases something and walks right back out, but a person that God has called me, specifically, in this moment, to serve in some way, whether it be through a talk, or a team building activity, or simply through cleaning his or her dishes after a meal in such a way that he or she can be drawn closer to God.

My job is to love because Christ loved…And I was thinking today that love is the most costly, precious thing in every person’s life, yet, a person can never be paid for giving it…So, essentially, I am not motivated because of money (because I don’t make any), or status (most people don’t even remember my name at the end of a retreat), or because I will receive something in return (most people I will never see again), but because the Lord has found me to be a tool that He can work with as He writes the masterpiece of each person’s life, a tool from which His love can be poured onto each page.

Final Conclusion:

I answer with a question: How can an instrument, no matter how small, not be overjoyed or working to it’s full potential when the greatest of artists chooses it to work with and is holding it firmly in His capable hands?