By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
Summer Camp 2016 is here!
The adventure has begun!
The Camp Gray Blog Office is busy between September and May, diligently telling the stories of Camp Gray. Come summer, the busyness of Summer Camp requires that the story telling focus gets transferred to our social sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, oh my!).
Before you go thinking that things aren’t busy between September and May, let me say, in the profound words of famed ESPN personality Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!”
More than 3,000 young people join us at the Gray during the school year. Thanks to the support of wonderful folks like YOU, Camp Gray has truly become a full-force, year-round retreat center. Schools join us during the weeks of the school year for teambuilding, leadership, and environmental stewardship retreats. On the weekends, church groups – many of them from the Madison Diocese, and others from as far away as the Archdiocese of Chicago – take part in Confirmation retreats.
A team of 6-8 recent college graduates join us each year to make up our Servant Leadership Team. The SaLT Missionaries, as we call them, selflessly serve in countless ways both in leading and supporting roles for each group that comes to Camp Gray. The Missionaries give talks, lead hikes, play games, help prepare meals, and clean following the conclusion of each retreat. They really and truly do it all! We’re abundantly grateful for the Camp Gray Servant Leadership Team, and we simply couldn’t continue thriving at Camp Gray without them. (We’re still on the lookout for a couple more SaLT Missionaries for the 2016-2017 school year. Learn more about the program here!)
There truly is no “off-season” at Camp Gray, except maybe the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s a great joy to be a part of the mission of Camp Gray – a mission that thrives all year round.
All that being said, Summer Camp is never far from our minds! I can tell you that there were 298 days between the end of Summer Camp 2015 and the start of Summer Camp 2016. It was a grand and busy 298 days. As soon as one summer concludes, we begin dreaming big about the next. We expect great things here at Camp Gray, and you should, too.
Summer Camp 2015 was superb. However, never are we satisfied. We’re always looking for ways to grow and to improve Camp Gray. We’re confident that those of you that are attending Summer Camp 2016 will no doubt see our growth and improvements. (And even those that aren’t attending, we’re confident that you’ll see our improvements simply from following our social sites.)
We’re confident too that you will love our 2016 Summer Camp Staff. From a dozen states, 58 amazing young adults have joined us to be a part of the adventure of 2016. They’re a goofy, joyful, faith-filled, selfless group of young adults that are passionate about impacting the lives of our campers.
As the adventure of 2016 continues, we ask for your prayers for a safe, fun, and faith-filled summer. Most likely, we here in the CGBO won’t be posting to the blog again until sometime in mid-September. Don’t fret; you can get your Camp Gray fix on our Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter!
Also, as a service to YOU – our loyal and wonderful supporter – we’ve listed below some of the best blogs and videos from the last few months, just in case you’ve missed them!
In closing, in the words of St. John Paul II, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”
Thanks for your great support of Camp Gray.
CGBO writings from the past few months that you simply don’t want to miss:
1. The Camper to Staffer Journey, by Erin Moran “I am hesitant to say that being a camper at Camp Gray has changed my life. Now before you start thinking that this statement is because Camp Gray has not had an impact on my life, let me squash those thoughts. I can’t say that my life, as I know it, has been changed by the magnificent 225 acres of land called Camp Gray, because I simply don’t know what my life would be like without Camp Gray.”
2. The Everyday Opportunity of a Lifetime, by Jeff Hoeben “The lines were long, and the crowds were thick but there was a beauty in that. There was beauty in the banners displayed along the streets of Philly that showed the Pope’s image and his quotes about joy. It truly was a joy-filled time. Clearly, something drew these people in. There is an unexplainable pull that causes pilgrims to travel from far and wide to join thousands of others to be in the presence of this great man. Catholics and non-Catholics alike gathered. It was a great testament to the Universal Church to which we belong. It was a sign that the Church is alive and well.”
3. True Stories of Faith, Friends, and Fun, by Topher Aderhold “Have you ever heard the thrilling story about the young camper who will always remember the deep blue waters of Camp Gray’s Lake Jake as the location of her first catch? Have you ever heard the epic saga of a misplaced hat that, once found and reunited with its proper owner, ignited a standing ovation of hundreds and nearly brought tears to the eyes of grown men? Have you ever heard the heartwarming story of the second grader that filled her grandmother with joy when she spoke of the Blessed Sacrament?”
4. There’s No Place for Ordinary at Camp Gray, by Topher Aderhold “I could have simply emailed her a list of questions, but I wanted the full “Taylor Eveland Experience.” Spending the day shadowing her on campus seemed like fun to me, and surprisingly, she agreed to show me around. After a day of pestering her with questions about all things CG, UW, and Winston Churchill, she likely wished I had simply sent an email.”
5. From the Former Director’s Desk, by Phil DeLong “My 14 years with Camp Gray began shortly after the camp Board of Directors hired, in 1994, camp’s first lay director, Jake Czarnik-Neimeyer, to succeed Fr. Larry Bakke. Jake, a “can-do”, empowering, relationship-building leader, turned our attention to making camp the vibrant, year-round ministry that Fr. Larry had always envisioned (but, as pastor of a large, growing parish in Sun Prairie, had insufficient time to devote to it). As Jake’s associate director, I focused my efforts on program enhancements and expansion, and began facilitating retreats at camp for diocesan youth groups and schools.”
Camp Gray Films videos from the past few months that you simply don’t want to miss:
The Couch Sessions at Camp Gray:
A Tribute to the Camp Gray Moose:
2016 Summer Camp Promo:
And Then There Was Something:
You rock. Seriously, thanks so much for being so awesome. If you’ve made it down this far, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the subject, type: I rock. In the body of the email, type your name and your address. A note will be coming to you soon!