Lake Jake in the early years (before it was even called Lake Jake!)
Lake Jake in the early years (before it was even called Lake Jake!)

By: Rebecca Hoeben

4 (four; /ˈfɔər/) is a number, numeral, and glyph. It is the natural number following 3 and preceding 5. Four is the only number that has the same number of characters as its value in the English language.[1] -wikipedia

We’ve recently been looking back at camp’s history books and realized a trend – awesome things happened in years that ended in 4!  While, it’s true, awesome things happen at Camp Gray every year – some great milestone moments occurred in years that end with a 4.   Looking back at camp’s sixty-one year timeline, it’s easy to see that since the beginning of camp’s life in 1953, change and growth are ever present.  The physical property and structures of camp, as well as the programming, has always seen continued growth and forward progress.  How great is it that change, while it can be hard, is part of the tradition of camp.  Let’s take a look to learn a bit more…

1954 – just one year after Camp Gray was established, the first cabins were completed at Camp.  While construction began in the fall of 1953 – using surplus ammunition crates from the inactivated Badger Ordnance Works – St. Patrick and St. William were completed in 1954. Originally, bunks were 3 high! St. Patrick and St. William are still used as cabins for settler boys, and many memories are forged in and around those cabins.

Susan and Jake are on the far right side of the middle row.
Susan and Jake are on the far right side of the middle row.

1964 – 50 years ago Lake Jake was created!  A freshwater, sand-bottom swimming pool (200’ x 100’) was excavated.  A spring was diverted to feed the “pool”.  The project cost $1400.  No longer did boys have to be transported to Mirror Lake or Devil’s Lake for swimming.  In the early ’90s it doubled in size to the Lake Jake we know and love today.   For a bit more on Lake Jake click here.

1974 – The construction of Vincentian Hall (currently the St. Vincent Retreat Center) took place. Currently, St. Vinnies – as it’s affectionately called – serves most of the female campers in the summer, and is home to over 40 schools and parishes who call Vinnie’s home while on retreat here during the school year.

1984 – Camp offered its first ever coed summer camp session.

1994 – Camp hired it’s first lay director – Jake Czarnik-Neimeyer was named Executive Director of Camp Gray.  Also, that year Susan Wright was hired as the on-site Food Service Director, and Susan’s Super Spaghetti became a staple at Camp Gray!

2004 – The Camp Gray Moose first appeared at Camp Gray! Other than a one time appearance as a reindeer during the summer of ’14, he continues to make appearances provided that the right song is sung. “Humba! Humba!”

SANTA! I know him!
SANTA! I know him!

2014 – JOY! Our theme at Camp Gray this year is simply, Joy! Watch here.

Oh, and Santa Claus celebrated Christmas in July with us (more about that story later!).

2024 – What does 2024 have in store?  Only time will tell, but this is for sure, the years between now and then are going to be filled with JOY!

Thanks for taking a gander back at the 4’s with me!

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