August 5, 2012

Sure, it’s not spring anymore, but an update to the Spring Construction Journal is long overdue! A lot has happened since the last update – nearly 1,000 campers have joined us so far this summer, and with two sessions left, there are nearly 300 campers that are still to come.  There has been lots of positive feedback about the improvements that took place this spring.  The pool has been a big hit because of the record temperatures we’ve seen this summer, and also because it is awesome!  With the addition of the new basketball court and basketball hoops, the game of lightning has made a respectable comeback for “free time’s greatest past time” – though with a fresh layer of artificial turf laid in the Panda Pit this spring, you can bet that games of Panda Ball are nearly ubiquitous.  Plus, everyday this summer has seen incremental progress to our new retreat space/office complex, which sits across the basketball court from the office I am currently sitting in.  It is with sincere gratitude that we thank everyone who has played a role in seeing these improvements take place.

Enjoy the following photos of all the great improvements!


Look at that pool! B-E-A-UTIFUL!

(Click this image – plus all the images – to enlarge!)

This trio of hardworking construction workers take a quick lunch break on the porch of the new retreat space/office complex! This building is slated to be completed by the end of Summer Camp!

The improved Panda Pit got broken in during our Summer Camp staff training back in early June!

Tom and his crew meticulously built this stage at the Main Campfire Area. The stage has taken our campfires to new heights (literally, approximately 24 inches)!

A crowd has gathered to watch the finish of another exciting game of lightning!

Because of the fresh asphalt of the new BBC, the BBC isn’t doubling as a parking lot for at least a couple years – unless of course you drive the 1966 Batmobile.

Thanks again for checking out the latest update of the Spring Construction Journal.  Once the new retreat space/office complex is completed, you can expect a story and a posting of a plethora of photos!  Also, you can expect a revealing of the name of the new building, as “retreat space/office complex” simply won’t suffice.

Thanks friends!


June 9, 2012

Well friends, we are a mere three days until our first campers roll out for Summer Camp 2012!  The inaugural Camp Gray Mini Camp kicks off on Tuesday, and as of now we have 98 settlers and trailblazers signed up to experience 3-days of Camp Gray fun.  For the past two-weeks our staff have been rolling in for various trainings in preparation for our 1,200 2012 Summer Camp campers.  In addition, extensive work has been done in an effort to complete many of our major spring construction projects.  As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of explaining in detail all of the work that has taken place, it seemed appropriate simply to display some images of the improvements!  Come on out soon to see the completed projects!  Thanks for all of your support during these busy months as we continue to improve the physical structure of nearly 60-year old Camp Gray!

A stage at the Main Campfire Area?! Sweet!

The new retreat space/office complex is looking mighty fine!

This photo of the awesome new Camp Gray swimming pool was taken a few days ago… It currently has much, much more water!

May 22, 2012

Folks, construction around here has become nearly ubiquitous.  At every turn there are projects being done, and boy oh boy, things are looking mighty good.  The big 3 spring projects which have received the most ink – the swimming pool project, the new basketball court, and the new retreat space/office complex – will get quite a bit more ink below.  But first, I thought a couple smaller projects deserved some recognition.  Tom, our phenomenal Property Manger, has been hard at work this spring improving everything else besides the big 3 (which includes the rest of camp – no small task).  He’s found time to rip off the old kitchen porch and build a brand new kitchen porch.  Also (and this has got me clickin’ my heels for joy), Tom is in the early stages of building a stage at the Main Campfire Area!  With the stage comes new fire pits.  I’ll keep you posted in the coming days with photos.  This summer’s opening night Rip-roarin’-foot-stompin’-don’t-get-to-close-or-you’ll-singe-your-eyebrows-CAMPFIREs will be taken to a whole new level (literally, they’ll be approximately 18” off the ground).

The Pool:
Yesterday and today saw the fence around the pool go up.  This, my friends, was an exciting process.  With that piece of the puzzle in place, it leaves only a few steps left before the crew from Badger Swimpools comes out and plasters the pool.  Once the pool gets plastered, we’ll immediately start filling with water.  You can check out the latest photos of the pool by clicking HERE.  Friends, we couldn’t have even dreamed of a project as large as this without your help.  But you did help, and we dreamed, and now the Camp Gray family is a mere 14-18 days from enjoying an amazing new swimming pool.  Thank you.

The basketball court:  
It’s almost comical how excited a 96′ x 111′ brand-new slab of asphalt can make a guy…  But my goodness, I am excited.  Abundant thanks goes to ALM Charities and Gasser ConstructionA grant to rip out the old Camp Gray basketball court and to repave a new court was received last fall.  Two weeks ago, a crew from Gasser came out to rip up the old court, and then they brought what seemed to be 9 dozen trucks of fill to raise the court.  Raising the court meant we could remove the eye-sore (not to mention the knee-sore) of the old BBC moat.  The new court was paved early last week, and today a crew came out to paint the new lines.  I, unfortunately, was unable to convince them to paint an NBA logo, but they did paint 3-point lines.  Lastly, we couldn’t get a brand new court and not get new hoops, so yeah, we’ve got new hoops going up in a matter of days.  (Quick note: If you’d like one of the old Camp Gray backboard/hoops, email us at – 2 of the 5 have been claimed, so don’t delay!).

Retreat space/office complex
Amazingly, because of all of the work that is going on out the front of the current office (new bbc) and the back of the current office (new pool), the construction taking place on the far side of the BBC is getting less publicity than it deserves.  The work being done over yonder on the new Retreat space/office complex is no less important, though (one could argue it’s actually MORE important… anybody want to make that argument?).  That being said, that project is coming along great.  The day after the old ‘Joe’ was torn down, footings were dug, and walls were poured a few days after that.  The foundation gets poured tomorrow.  This project won’t be quite done before Summer Camp begins, but our hope is that the majority of the exterior work will be completed before campers start rolling in.  Did you see the photos of the destruction of the old Joe?  Click HERE.

Thanks for everything, friends.  It’s truly a blessing to be able to witness all year-round the great support you give to Camp Gray!  Without our Camp Gray family, there would no doubt be no Camp Gray.


May 10, 2012

Happy Thursday, friends!  Things have been CRAZY around here, but it’s a good crazy – and it’s never so crazy that there isn’t time to write up a construction update for you!

The Pool:
Monday the 14th is going to be a big day for the swimming pool, as a crew from K&M Concrete, Inc. in Verona will begin putting forms into place for our swimming pool deck.  The hope is to get it formed up and get the concrete poured by the end of next week.  After the deck is in place, a crew from DeSelle Fence company will immediately put the perimeter fence up (oh, and get this, Lance from K&M, and Mark from DeSelle Fence Co., are both former Camp Gray campers!).  By the early part of the following week, plumbing and electrical work will be completed, which means the only thing that would be left is to plaster the pool and then throw in one or two (or 12!) garden hoses to begin filling it with a mere 65,000 gallons of water!  Quick; if with our water pressure, we can fill one gallon in 22 seconds, how long will it take to fill the pool with 65,000 gallons if we’re using 3 hoses?

The basketball court:
Yesterday was basketball court destruction day!  If you hadn’t heard, Camp Gray received a grant from ALM Charities and Gasser Construction to remove the old blacktop and pour a new basketball court.  A crew from Gasser was rumbling around the basketball court all day yesterday tearing out the 40-year old court, in preparation of next week’s re-pour.  What am I most excited about in terms of the new basketball court?  3-point lines!  The old court was poured and painted well before the 3-point line was adopted into the sport, meaning games of basketball that have taken place since Summer Camp 1980 have been short changed.  No longer!  Click Here for photos of the BBC destruction!

The Retreat Space/Office:
Have you heard that after nearly 50-years of service to Camp Gray, the St. Joseph Hall (the Joe) – formerly the St. Joseph Chapel – is being torn down to make room for a modern retreat and office space?  Check out Jeff’s latest blog to read more about this: Click Here.  Today, crews from Terra Construction are here to knock down the building, and they’ll immediately turn around and dig footings for the new building.  Check back soon to see an image of the plans and for photos of the destruction.

And as always, check back soon for updates on all of the projects which are taking place at Camp Gray this spring!

Thanks very much for all of your great support to Camp Gray!


May 1, 2012

It’s MAY!  Happy May, friends!

I wanted to update you with a photo of how the tile is looking in the new swimming pool.  Things are coming along nicely, and we’re hoping that in the next couple of weeks the decks will be poured and fences will be put into place.  We’re getting close, friends!

Also, I wanted to fill you in on some exciting developments with the forthcoming brand new Camp Gray office.  For anyone that has ever stepped foot in the Camp Gray office (or come within a 100 foot radius), it’s not too difficult to see the need for a new office.  Another building which has seen better days is Camp’s beloved St. Joseph Hall (‘The Joe’).  ‘The Joe’ has been slowly falling apart over the past several years.  Lots of money has been spent each year not only maintaining it, but also heating it in the winter, for it wasn’t built as a year-round facility.  There had been tentative plans to remove ‘The Joe’ and build a new retreat space in the next four or five years, however, we’re always looking for ways to be more efficient and responsible with our spending.  With the building of a new office on the docket, it was suggested to instead build a retreat space/office complex, which of course would cost more now, but over the long haul will save Camp Gray money and improve our facilities.  Admittedly, there were reservations to tear down ‘The Joe’, even with the intention of making room for improved facilities in the form of a new and larger retreat space.  After discussions with our Board of Directors – notably, Fr. Larry Bakke, Camp Director from 1979-1994 – there was overwhelming support in favor of the benefit a more efficient and improved facility.  We’re excited to move forward with this project, though seeing ‘The Joe’ go will be tough.  This past weekend, during Work Day, we began removing furniture and carpet from ‘The Joe,’ in preparation for impending construction of the new complex, which will sit on the site of the former Joe.

If you have any questions about these latest construction developments, feel free to get in touch with us!


April 26, 2012

In the past couple of weeks, the crew from Badger Pools has pulled the forms from the outside shell of the new pool, and they’ve run much of the pipe for the plumbing of Camp’s new pool.  The weather the last few days hasn’t been the most conducive to outside work, but thankfully the sun is out shining today, which means work is underway. Currently, the “tile crew” is here putting tile into place around the top of the pool.   Once the tile has been put into place, there is a little bit more back-filling to be done to cover up the piping, and then it’ll be time to pour the decks!  It’s super exciting to be able to look out the window and see progress nearly every single day.  In case you missed it, there was a story about Camp Gray’s swimming pool published in the Madison Catholic Herald… Click here to check it out!

In addition to sunny and warm weather being conducive to swimming pool construction, it’s also great for asphalt work.  In the coming days, a crew from Gasser Construction will be out to re-pour the Camp Gray basketball court.  Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact date for the start of that work yet, but no doubt when we know something, we’ll alert the masses!

April 10, 2012

Greetings friends!  Because of the long and restful Easter break, it’s been a little while since the Spring Construction Journal received an update.  Allow me to remedy that!

On Thursday of Holy Week, a large crew from Badger Pools was at Camp Gray spraying the concrete into the hole of Camp Gray’s brand new swimming pool.  “Spraying” concrete is not a typical way to describe concrete work, but when you connect a large air compressor to hoses which are being run with concrete, spraying is the result.  As you can see from the images posted, the pool is actually beginning to look like a pool.  The pipes, which are necessary to circulate the pool water from the pool into the filters, were set into place yesterday and today.  Also, the large piles of sand which are surrounding the pool from the dig are being spread around to cover the pipes and to get the area surrounding the pool ready for the pool deck.  In the coming weeks tile will be put into place around the top of the pool and the enormous pool deck will be poured.  We are well on schedule for the opening of the pool to be at least two weeks before Summer Camp 2012.

Check back soon for the schedule of the upcoming work to be done on the Camp Gray basketball court!

Thanks for all of your support of Camp Gray and for the many much-needed improvements of Camp Gray!


March 26, 2012

Thanks for tuning into the Camp Gray Spring Construction Journal.

A few updates:

– The crew from Badger Pools was back at it early this morning, grading out the hole of the new pool in preparation for forms and steel rebar.  Currently, it just appears to be a large hole in the ground in lieu of the old swimming pool.  In a matter of days, the new pool will begin to actually take shape, and no doubt excitement – which is already at a high level – will only increase!

– John, from Gasser Construction, came out late last week to hash out the details of our new basketball court.  We’re thrilled to have received a grant from Gasser for this project.  Because it’s still early in the spring season, the Gasser plant isn’t up and running with projects, yet.  Gasser’s plan is to be out in the next 3-4 weeks to grind up the old court, and then to re-pour a new court.  We’re uncertain if the old hoops will be salvaged, or if in the process of tearing out the old court, the hoops will be destroyed.  Also, we spoke to John about the best way to go about painting lines on the new court.  Because the current court was poured in the early 70s, 3-point lines weren’t painted on, for the three pointer hadn’t been adopted by basketball, yet.  We’re excited to have the regulation ‘3’ included on the new court!

Do you have any questions about all of the construction improvements taking place at Camp Gray this spring?  Email us!


March 22, 2012

Dig Day 2012!  We’re live blogging about all of the excitement of Dig Day 2012.  Click Here to tune in!  Also, check out our facebook page to see updated photos and video of the day!

March 19, 2012

Good news from the home front today, friends!  The demolition of the old pool, and the digging of our brand new ‘twice-as-big’ swimming pool by Terra Construction and Badger Swim Pools is scheduled for this Thursday, March 22nd!  We’ll be updating you throughout the day on our facebook page with exciting updates and photos.  Thanks for all your support of this much needed project!  (oh, and Tricia is still doing her best trying to find affordable pure gold shovels to break ground with…  we’ll keep you posted!)

March 12, 2012

Spring’s early arrival bodes well for us here at Camp Gray, as the major improvement projects taking place this spring will need lots of time for completion.

This morning, as rains poured on Camp Gray, folks from Terra Construction, Friede & Associates, Gasser Construction, and Badger Pools met with Jeff, Rebecca, Tom, and me, as we began attempting to coordinate the exciting improvement projects to come.  A date for the digging of the new pool hasn’t officially been set, yet, but it appears as though it will take place sometime next week!  When that date is nailed down, we’ll let you know.  In the meanwhile, we’re on the lookout for gold shovels for our “groundbreaking ceremony.”  Unfortunately, gold shovels aren’t a part of the budget, and turns out, gold is really, really pricey.  We’ll keep you posted on our search for shovels of faux gold.


January 22, 2012

One might think that after a summer as incredible as the summer of 2011, there would be very few improvements needed in gearing up for 2012.  However, another amazing summer at Camp Gray has only raised the bar for even more amazing summers to come.  With valuable feedback from you, our Camp Gray Family, we’ve focused our efforts in two specific areas to maximize your experience at Camp Gray.  Early on in the feedback process, the need for a new swimming pool became very clear.  Additionally, many of you simply wanted to experience more activities during your week here.  Friends, you asked for it…you got it.

Plans for the brand new Camp Gray swimming pool!

Summer Camp at Camp Gray has outgrown our current pool, which was built nearly 30 years ago.  Additionally, the surface of the pool floor had become rough and unsafe.  Initially we looked into replastering the pool, but we concluded that it wasn’t worth the high cost to merely replaster a pool which was too small as it was.  About the same time we came to that conclusion, a donor stepped forward offering to donate up to $100,000 of matching funds to build a new swimming pool.  You, our Camp Gray family, responded generously to our Swimming Pool pledge letters in November, and in less than six weeks, we reached our $100,000 goal.  Our new swimming pool will be built by Summer Camp 2012.

During a session of Summer Camp, campers participate in only two of our 10 program areas.  You told us that wasn’t enough, that campers want to try it all.  We’re in the process of putting the finishing touches on our brand new Summer Camp schedule.  It allows campers to experience a wider variety of camp activities.  The new schedule will be published to the Camp Gray website soon!

Two other projects have been high on our improvement list for quite some time.  Both the basketball court and the Camp Gray office are literally falling apart.  We’re thrilled to announce that we recently received a grant for a new basketball court from ALM Charities and the Gasser Construction Company.  The new basketball court will be completed by Summer Camp 2012.  The project includes removing the current drainage moat that surrounds the court, which will no doubt make this area a safer place to play.

Additionally, plans for a new office to be built in 2012 are underway.  Camp Gray’s office, which has been in use since the early 80’s, consists of a converted garage, and a later expansion which was fitted with old chicken coop windows. It goes without saying that it has outlived its life as an office. The necessity for a new modern office – without chicken coop windows – has been pushed to the top of our Improvement List, so we’ve begun looking at ways to move out of the “garage.”

Lastly, we’re constantly brainstorming new and improved ideas for summer camp programs and activities.  The Cassidy Games, which was created in the months leading up to Summer Camp 2011, will be back in 2012.  Plan on the excitement of the Cassidy Games to be better than ever!

For nearly 60 years, amazing things have happened everyday at Camp Gray. With your support, we’re putting the pieces together to experience another sixty-plus years of faith, friends, and fun!


December 15, 2011

Greetings Friends!

It isn’t every day that a donor offers to match up to $100,000 of donations for the long overdue construction of a new Camp Gray swimming pool. When that day did occur, back in late October, we were beyond thrilled! Immediately, we were ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work talking to you, our Camp Gray family and support system. You answered the call. A new pool, twice as big as the one before, will be a reality this summer due to your generosity. Today, you can share in our joy knowing that we have surpassed our goal.

WE DID IT! Thank you for your support! We’ll be swimming in a new pool by Summer Camp 2012!

It is difficult to put into words just how thrilled and appreciative we are with the amazing outpouring of support that we’ve seen, so we’ll keep it simple; Thank You.

Your support is instrumental in the growth of Camp Gray, which directly assists in the growth that campers experience at Camp Gray. When you help Camp grow, you help campers grow. If you’ve not yet donated to the pool fund, please still consider donating to Camp Gray. Although the pool goal was reached, improvement possibilities abound!

We’re excited to carry this momentum on to some other critical projects. At the very same time we began looking for “water” to fill our pool, large amounts of unwanted water began pouring in through the roof of the very building I am writing to you from today. Camp Gray’s office, which has been in use since the early 80s, consists of a converted garage, and a later expansion which was fitted with old chicken coop windows. It goes without saying that it has outlived its life as an office. The necessity for a new modern office – without chicken coop windows – has been pushed to the top of our Improvement List, so we’ve begun looking at ways to move out of the “garage.”

For nearly 60 years, amazing things have happened everyday at Camp Gray. With you’re support, we’re putting the pieces together to experience another sixty-plus years of faith, friends, and fun!

Jeff & Rebecca