Meet the Camp Gray Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Name: John Karsten
Resides: Sun Prairie, WI
Parish: St. Albert the Great, Sun Prairie
Occupation: Civil Engineer/President Terra Engineering and Construction Corp.
Connection to Camp Gray: Fr. Larry Bakke was my Pastor at St. Albert’s in Sun Prairie – I had 3 kids attend Camp Gray in the mid-80s
Affiliated with Camp Gray since: 1983
What do you love most about Camp Gray? The fact that kids can be ‘kids’ and experience, sometimes for the first time, what faith means to them and, what it means to have a relationship with God. It’s wonderful that kids can experience what He has created in a safe and fun environment.
Name: Fr. Larry Bakke
Resides: Monroe, WI
Parish: St. Clare of Assisi Parish, Monroe
Occupation: Pastor – St. Clare of Assisi Parish & Diocesan Director of the Apostolate to the Handicapped
Connection to Camp Gray: I was appointed Director of the Camp in January 1979 thru December, 1993 by Bishop O’Donnell.
Affiliated with Camp Gray since: I have been a part of Camp since 1979, and have officially been on the Board since 1993 when I was no longer Camp Director.
What do you love most about Camp Gray? The wonderful, spiritual, Gospel atmosphere of love, faith, and prayer.
Members at Large
Resides: Waunakee, WI
Parish: St. John the Baptist, Waunakee
Occupation: President, Endres Manufacturing Company
Connection to Camp Gray: I was a camper my entire childhood, graduated to CIT and Counselor.
Affiliated with Camp Gray: since childhood
What do you love most about Camp Gray? That Camp has an environment for kids to play and feel safe to be themselves.
Resides: Middleton (aka The Good Neighbor City)
Parish: St. Bernard’s in MIDDLETON (not to be confused with those Bernies on the east side )
Occupation: Director of Music, St. Bernard Parish in Middleton.
Connection to Camp Gray: I was on staff at Camp from 1981-1986. Worked as a counselor and as kitchen staff. I had met Fr. Bakke when I was in high school when he led a retreat. And in my freshman year of college, a friend told me she was applying to work at Camp Gray and encouraged me to apply. I honestly thought I wouldn’t get the job because I had no previous camp experience. But I got hired and stayed for 6 summers! Once Camp gets in your blood, there’s no turning back.
What do you love most about Camp Gray? I love that when I pull into the driveway at camp, it feels like I am coming home. There’s a peace that just comes over my body. I look over at the athletic field and the memories come flooding back and my heart smiles. Some of my very best friends in this world are people I met while working at Camp. I haven’t worked there in 25 years, but there’s a connectedness to the Camp and to the people there that transcends time. And I think my experience at camp was instrumental in my pursuing work in the church – first as a youth minister and now as director of music. Camp Gray is a slice of heaven on earth!
Resides: Middleton, WI
Parish: St. John the Baptist, Waunakee
Occupation: Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Formation, Diocese of Madison
Connection to Camp Gray: I came to Camp Gray as a camper for the first time in 1999. After that week, it was a life goal to someday work as a staff member. (From that one week, Camp staffers were my greatest role models, and many I met through the years continue to be so!) I was a CIT in 2002, and then joined the summer staff from 2004 through 2009. Since then, I have worked with the SaLT missionaries to plan and facilitate great programming for the youth of our Diocese!
What do you love most about Camp Gray? The inspirational staff, beautiful environment, and opportunity and encouragement to joyfully live out the Catholic faith.
Resides: Middleton, WI
Parish: Cathedral Parish, Madison
Occupation: Director, Office of Evangelization & Catechesis, Diocese of Madison
Connection to Camp Gray: It is my privilege to serve on the board due to my position with the Diocese of Madison. However, I have fond memories of attending Camp Gray as cub scout in grade school, and a retreatant in high school.
What do you love most about Camp Gray? Its excellent fulfillment of the call of Vatican II: to impart the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new and effective way to our modern world, and in particular to our young people.
Resides: Cottage Grove, WI
Parish: St. Patrick, Cottage Grove
Occupation: Payroll Administrator, Terra Engineering and Construction Cor
Connection to Camp Gray: My children were campers at Camp Gray for many years, and every time we picked them up after a week (or a couple days) they could not stop talking about the great time they had. All three of our children have been/are staff members. As a family we have attended Family Camp since it first started in 1998 – since 2005 we have been part of the Family Camp staff. When I was approached about becoming a part of the Board of Director of Camp Gray I felt very privileged and honored.
What do you love most about Camp Gray? The positive Catholic role models that continue to be developed and formed on that sacred soil. In these days of diminishing Priest, Sisters, Deacons, and Catholic leaders, the number of people touched by Camp Gray that have stepped up to fill these roles is astounding. I am very proud to be able to serve the young saints that pass through the camp.
Resides: Mineral Point, WI
Parish: St. Joseph Parish, Dodgeville
Connection to Camp Gray: I had the opportunity to chaperone my son’s 7th grade class on an Environmental Stewardship Retreat. In particular, I spent the entire day with a group of kids who had Tim Chaptman (a veteran CG counselor) as their counselor. By the end of the day, I was AMAZED at Tim’s ability to relate to these kids…he was fun, funny, inspiring and a great role model for these young people! For me he was “The Face of Camp Gray”…and one I have seen time and again in the counselors and staff at Camp Gray. Our two sons just finished up their third year as campers which they described as ” Our best year yet”! I am so grateful to God for the privilege of serving on this Board!
What do you love most about Camp Gray? In terms of the actual physical structure, I love the Chapel! It is so lovely in a simple way. However, the best part of Camp Gray is undoubtedly the people at the top! The last two years were beset with difficulties relating to Jeff’s diagnosis. However, the staff stepped in with little time to prepare…and somehow maintained that “sporting spirit” and a spirit of joy!
Resides: Stoughton, WI
Parish: St Ann’s
Occupation: Construction Sales, Friede & Associates
Connection to Camp Gray: Both my boys attended camp when they were in middle school and they enjoyed the experience a great deal. During one of the summer’s they announced that they were creating a capital campaign and I offered my assistance and then I was offered a spot on the board.
What do you love most about Camp Gray? The setting and the staff. Spending any time on the grounds instantly relieves any daily stresses I might have when I turn into the drive. I truly feel God’s grace and love when I’m at camp.
Also serving as Members at Large on the Camp Gray Board of Directors:
Chris Van Wagner, Madison
Brad Fulton, Madison
Fr. Paul Ugo Arinze, Madison
Brian Pillsbury, Baraboo