At Camp Gray, we know a thing or two about bathrooms. As Camp Gray’s Expert Bathroom Correspondent, Lance Dooce’ likes to say, “At Camp Gray, our #1 is to take care of your #2.” (*see link below to enjoy some good ol’ CG News Team).
Speaking of massive loads, outside of our St. John Paul II Dining Hall sits an enormous, 2,000 pound rock. Bolted to the rock is a plaque that recognizes and gives thanks to the countless men and women of the Baraboo community who gave so much of their time, treasure, and talent during the early years of Camp Gray. Without their service and dedication, Monsignor Gray’s dream – to create a safe place to inspire young people in their faith – likely would have never come to fruition.
In those early days, when the future growth and success of our great Camp was still uncertain, many locals spent untold numbers of hours ensuring that not only would there be a future, but an extraordinary future. Weekends would often be impromptu service opportunities. Locals would arrive with tools in hand ready to build cabins, clear brush, and of course, because our #1 is to take care of your #2, they built high-quality, long-lasting, bomb-proof bathrooms.
Well, one in particular: St. John’s.
The simple cinder block building, which was built to provide bathroom amenities to the campers that stay in the St. Patrick and St. William cabins, was built in 1969.
Back in the late 60s, Fr. Cassidy (yeah, that Cassidy!), was the Camp Director at Camp Gray. By all accounts, he was a magician at inspiring the people of Baraboo to contribute their aforementioned time, treasure, and talent to Camp Gray.
One such young couple that would spend many weekends pitching in, were Pat and Barb Stone. Married in 1952 by Monsignor Gray (yeah, that Gray!), the Stones would come to Camp with their three young kids in tow. Pat helped with the construction projects, while Barb saw to the kids and helped prepare food for the many volunteers.
As more and more campers were flocking to Camp Gray in the late 60s, a much needed addition to Camp was a new bathroom. Pat got to work building the now infamous cinder block building.
Coincidentally, the day that Pat and his crew finished the bathroom happened to be the wedding anniversary for Pat and Barb. Fr. Cassidy felt that Barb had earned the right to name the new bathroom. When Fr. Cassidy asked Barb what the new bathroom should be called, without hesitation she quipped with whimsey, “St. John!”
One of the three kids of Pat and Barb, Mary Klingenmeyer, was hired at Camp Gray in February of 2021 to help around the office in the wake of our Covid shutdown. Of course, as a kid, she spent many weekends at Camp with her parents, but neither she nor her parents had been out to Camp Gray in a long time.
After Mary began working at Camp, she brought her mom out to show her what Camp Gray looks like all these years later. Sadly, Pat passed in 2002, but Barb, who is pushing 91, still lives in nearby Baraboo. Barb hadn’t visited in many years, so to see the abundant growth and the new buildings moved her greatly. To see St. John’s still standing, the building her beloved husband helped to build and that she cleverly named, brought back many fond memories.
The story of Pat and Barb is but one of the countless stories of how the local Baraboo community gave such great support in the early days of Camp Gray. These selfless men and women ensured that Camp Gray would not only survive, but would thrive.
Many thanks to Barb, to her family, and to all the many locals who so generously gave of their time, treasure, and talent. Many of the buildings built in those early days no longer stand, but we stand on the shoulders of those before us. Camp Gray wouldn’t be here without the dedication and support from friends like Pat and Barb Stone.
*CG News Team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeJQ-sOc_gE