By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
I don’t remember what we were looking for, but I remember what we found. It was a few years back – during the era whilst we were crammed like sardines in Camp’s former office. While searching for the aforementioned forgotten item, found instead was a black plastic rectangle device that, according to an unnamed “older” staffer, was a VHS videocassette tape. Evidently, centuries prior, humans would use these devices to view films. Written in black marker on the case of the videocassette were two simple words: Summer Camp.
I later learned – after attempting to insert the videocassette into a DVD player – that to view a VHS videocassette, one must acquire a VCR machine. Acquire I did, and excitedly I inserted the tape into the VCR. I was so curious – what on earth would I find recorded on this tape?
I hit the play button, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a promo video from Summer Camp 1991. NINETEEN NINETY ONE! ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY ONE! ONE-NINE-NINE-ONE! The footage was choppy. The production value was poor. The colors were drab. The video was lousy… And it was oh-so-beautiful.
Beautiful? Beautiful! Just like that, images from Summer Camp’s past were on my screen. All of those faces from an era before my time – all of those former staffers rocking wicked awesome haircuts spreading JOY to all of those former smiling campers. I remember thinking, Who are these people and what are they doing today? That tape contained historical footage of Camp Gray. Unfortunately, the footage was hidden on a VHS tape for very few to see (on second thought, perhaps some of those hairstyles are better off staying hidden…).
I am a fan of history – whether it be American history, the history of my beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys, or the history of our Church. I like it all, so naturally, I’m a fan of the history of Camp Gray. With 61 years under our belt, there’s quite a bit of Camp Gray history. To have a video of Camp Gray from NINETEEN NINETY ONE! – that is pretty neat (do you have any videos, photographs, or artifacts from Camp Gray’s past, please let us know!).
In the last few years, as you probably know, here at Camp Gray, we’ve been cranking out videos like it’s our job (because frankly, it is…). August 31st marked the four-year anniversary of the launch of the Camp Gray YouTube Channel. Since that time, we’ve premiered 98 videos that have been collectively viewed over 56,000 times in all 50 states and 107 different countries. That’s a whole bunch of support for our videos, and for that, we thank YOU!
You, my friend, are the reason we create our videos. Are you missing your Camp Gray experience? Visit our YouTube Channel any time of year, and you’ve got hours of footage to take you back. Four years of videos. Four years of striving to make our audience – YOU! – smile, laugh, and sometimes even cry (but don’t worry, only good tears…).
In those four years, Camp Gray Films has grown by leaps and bounds, and our Camp Gray Family has played a large part in that growth. Each of our three high quality cameras (plus the Mac computer which has edited many of Camp’s films) were donated by camper families or former staffers. We say it often: Without you, Camp Gray wouldn’t be Camp Gray. We don’t say it enough: Without you, Camp Gray Films wouldn’t be Camp Gray Films. We’re confident that we’ll continue to grow and improve this upcoming year, too. Molly Sweeney, our photographer/videographer for the last two summers, will be with us this school year, creating masterpieces to keep you engaged with Camp Gray. Have you seen “Images of God,” the latest Camp Gray Films production? I certainly recommend it!
Sometimes I like to think about how our videos will be cool for the future of Camp Gray, too. The faces that are on today’s videos – the haircuts and clothing styles of today – are tomorrow’s historical videos. So long as YouTube doesn’t go under, today’s videos will be easily viewed for years to come. No longer are our videos hidden on VHS tapes.
It’d be fun to know what future generations of Camp Grayers think of our eclectic mix of videos, from the fun, the goofy, the informative, the beautiful, the touching, the international, and the downright ridiculous. Many years from now, when tomorrow’s Camp Gray watches today’s Camp Gray, perhaps they’ll think our videos are choppy and that the production value is poor. Perhaps they’ll think that the colors are drab. Perhaps they’ll think that our videos are lousy. However, I hope that the future of Camp Gray will find our outdated work beautiful, for the footage will tell the story of Camp Gray’s past.
Thanks for four great years of Camp Gray Films!
We’d love to hear from you! Seriously! Please let us know how Camp Gray Films is doing. Which is your favorite Camp Gray Film? What kinds of videos would you like to see Camp Gray Films create in the future? Please fill out the form below!
Lastly, as you know, we’ve got a few fundraising projects on the docket here at Camp Gray. This fall, I’ll be spending some of my time writing grants to help keep these projects rolling. Ergo, I’ll be reducing my Tuesdays with Topher Blog posting from every week to bi-monthly (which can mean both every two months and twice a month – not to worry, I mean the latter.). It’s a joy keeping YOU! – the Camp Gray Family – up to date on all things Camp Gray. For the next few months, it’ll just be every other week. Thanks for understanding, and thanks for your support!
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