Wednesday, May 27, 2009

End of the School Year!

By: Sara Knutson
Program Director

It's the end of an era... yesterday marked the final day of the year-round program for 2008-2009. Here's what I have to say about that (according to the team, this is what I have to say about everything ;) ): SWEET!

Not about the year ending, of course, but about a job very well done. This year's retreat team (assisted by a number of fantastic shorter-term volunteers) facilitated a whopping 72 retreats! Nearly every parish in the diocese sent either its students or Confirmation candidates, with some sending both. The result: an exhausted but happy retreat team, and countless lives changed.

We celebrated the conclusion of the year with lunch at the phenomenal South Shore Restaurant, located on Castle Rock Lake. Doesn't it look delicious?

A huge thanks to Meghan O'Connell, Amy Baker, Sean Deignan, Jenna Keller, and Tim Chaptman for giving nine months of incredible service (okay, six for Tim!) to Camp Gray! You were (and are) amazing!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Many Thanks to the Knights of Columbus!

By: Chris Aderhold
Assistant Director

The Baraboo Knights of Columbus Council 746 has a long history of contribution to Camp Gray. In fact, Council 746 was integral in the humble beginnings of Camp Gray, and without their generous gifts of time and talent, Camp Gray wouldn't be the camp that it is today. Several of our cabins (St. Clare, St. William, St. Patrick), and the clearing of the Cassidy Athletic Field, is a direct contribution from the men of 746.

On Saturday, May 9th, several gentlemen from Council 746 came out to Camp Gray to leave yet another lasting mark.
In striving to provide the most adequate facilities for outdoor teaching in our year-round Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP), the decision was made to build a pavilion at camp's Antioch campsite. Antioch plays host to a couple ESP units, in addition to cookouts for our summer campers, making it multi-functioning!

Many thanks to Brian Thompson and the fine gentlemen of the Knights of Columbus Council 746 for your continued support of the ministry of Camp Gray!

Step 1 complete: The posts are in!


Even Relevant Radio's Brian Kelly came out to get some more quality sound bites from Camp Gray's Co-Director, Jeff Hoeben

Thanks again, Knights, for your generous contribution to Camp Gray!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reality Check: I May Be Addicted to Coffee Part 2

By: Jenna Keller
Administrative Coordinator

Haven't read Part 1? Click here

Welcome back to this mini-series. First off, I’d like to apologize for not posting this sequel sooner. Here’s a brief recap on the events of March 1, 2009 leading up to this post. I was planning on writing about the crazy weather we had going on that day, since Mother Nature dumped about eight inches of snow on us the previous night and by mid-afternoon on the 10th, it was virtually all gone. However, Sara had already posted on such events before I was able to, so I needed to come up with a different idea. Chris gave me the “brilliant” idea to write about my so-called addiction to Starbucks. Later that afternoon I had a brief conversation with my friend Lindsay about Dancing with the Stars, and decided that I now had to watch the season, being as The Bachelor’s ex-fiancĂ©, Melissa, was now on the show. Then it was off to Starbucks to write my blog entry.

Well, it’s almost two months later that I’m continuing this here series, but I’m again at Starbucks, and again enjoying my favorite drink: a Grande, non-fat, Caramel Macchiato, for here. And yes, they do typically look that delicious and taste just as wonderful.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Dancing with the Stars, you’ll be happy to hear that Melissa is still in the competition and now it the final five, despite having very little time to rehearse her first two dances and not actually being able to perform in this week’s show because of a cracked rib.

Now, on to the moment you have all been waiting for: how did the random events of Jenna’s day inspire her blog topic of choice? During the day, three specific topics came up that I could potentially write about: weather, Starbucks, and reality TV. The topic of weather obviously wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to try to find a way to combine Starbucks and Reality TV into one topic.

“How do these relate?” you ask. Well, when I was younger I made a vow to myself that I would never take part in two things: drinking coffee and watching reality television. It seems as though they have won me over. What happened that I would go back on my word and now enjoy both things so much? Let me assure you that it was not an overnight transformation, but came with some time and convincing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Camp Gray Staff Spotlight IV

By: Camp Gray

This weeks Camp Gray Staff Spotlight is Nicky Kaehler!

Nicky will be joining us out at Camp Gray once again this summer (her fifth!), and will be teaming up with Lindsay Becher as a Co-Leader in Training Coordinator.

Nicky has spent the last year as a first-year teacher at St. Aloysius school in Sauk City, WI teaching second grade, and loves kids so much, she couldn't imagine summer without Camp Gray!

We're thankful to Nicky for agreeing to be our latest staff spotlight, and we're excited for you to learn a little more about her!

Camp Gray Blog: Hi Nicky! Thanks for joining us! Let's get right to the questions... What is your favorite thing about Camp Gray?
Nicky Kaehler: Well, since you probably don’t want me to ramble for too long, I would have to say that my favorite thing about Camp Gray is it is one of those homey places. You know, the kind of place that you feel happier and more filled just for being there. Maybe it’s the people, the surroundings, the incredible activities, a combination of things, or God’s overall presence, but there is just something special about Camp Gray.

Camp Gray Blog: What are you most excited for about summer camp 2009?
Nicky Kaehler: This summer I'm looking forward to working with the LITs and helping young people see what an awesome joy and pleasure it is to work with kids, especially at Camp Gray. I'm also looking forward to seeing old and new faces of campers and staff. Yeaaa summer's almost here!

Camp Gray Blog: What was the best lesson you took from summer camp 2008?
Nicky Kaehler: I was an Explorer/Voyager counselor last year, and I learned that you really can do anything with God’s help and a sunny attitude. I’ve never been an ultra buff individual, and I was worried about carrying canoes and large packs while hiking up hills and rocky terrain. But, as I was struggling through it all I kept praying and trusting that I wouldn’t collapse. In the end I always made it. I felt so strong physically and spiritually because I knew who was helping me every muddy, “mosquitoey” step of the way.

Camp Gray Blog: What is your absolute favorite memory from summer camp 2008?
Nicky Kaehler: That’s not fair. Why would you ask an impossible question. That’s like saying pick your favorite blade of grass in a big field. However, I would have to say meal times with my campers (Especially ones where they are cooking fries in the village). Meals are just so fun and relaxed. Everyone’s happy and laughing while eating lovely food prepared by the Kitchen Crew.

Camp Gray Blog: What is your favorite book?
Nicky Kaehler: I love a lot of books but my favorite children’s book would have to be Walk Two Moons by Sharron Creech. It’s just an incredible book full of life lessons.

Camp Gray Blog: Name one improvement you would make to camp?
Nicky Kaehler: I would make Lake Jake’s water clear and then buy a glass bottom boat so we could see Walter and all the weird things that fell into the lake.

Camp Gray Blog: You have a free ticket to go anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
Nicky Kaehler: To Florida to visit my Grandma. She’s just the coolest and it would be nice to drink tea and chat in sunny weather by the pool. Next time I’ll try to be more extravagant about my travel plans.

Camp Gray Blog: Who is the biggest hero in your faith?
Nicky Kaehler: Our mother Mary. She’s always praying for us and helping bring us close to Jesus.

Camp Gray Blog: Who is your favorite Saint?
Nicky Kaehler: Right now it’s kind of a toss up between Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Therese of Lisieux. They’re just such awesome women with a focus on prayer, simplicity, love of the Eucharist, and faith in action.

Camp Gray Blog: What are your three (3) favorite spots on camp? Why?
Nicky Kaehler: They would have to be (in no particular order):
1. The dock at Lake Jake.
2. The Explorer Village
3. St. Francis Chapel
These are all places that are beautiful, and I can just sit and be with God.

Camp Gray Blog: When you were of settler age, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Nicky Kaehler: Well I think I wanted to be either a librarian or a cashier simply for the fact that they got to make that “beep” noise every time they scanned a bar code.

Camp Gray Blog: What's your favorite Bible verse?
Nicky Kaehler: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s constantly been a reminder to me that no matter where I go or what I do I need to follow God’s perfect plan.

Camp Gray Blog: Well thanks so much for your time, Nicky!
Nicky Kaehler: Well you're very welcome. In closing, I just wanted to talk briefly about the Bubba Keg (a container for serving and pouring milk at camp meals). I know this might seem random but here goes. Last summer, the Bubba Keg was mocked for spilling by staff and campers, alike. As the great granddaughter of the inventor, Bubba Kaehler, I needed to defend my family. To put it simply the Bubba Keg is a lesson for life. BK (Bubba Keg) asks us to commit. Don’t start your pour assuming something bad will happen. Take a chance and go for it. Pour that glass of milk! You will be surprised to find liquid in your cup, no mess on your table, and confidence in the decisions you make. Thank you. Additionally, I would also like to mention that Bubba Kegs are perfect for transporting food items such as hot chili, which was recently done by Lindsay Becher of Baraboo, WI. Just one more way the BK saves the day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Restock 2009!

By: Chris Aderhold
Assistant Director

The timing of the overwhelmingly successful Inaugural Camp Gray Bassmaster Tournament two weekends ago was perfect, as last Friday we had a special early morning delivery.

Greg, from the Gollon Bait and Fish Farm, visited us at camp to restock Lake Jake with 310 beautiful bluegills. A thriving bluegill community means more fish will be caught this summer, which ultimately translates to more happy campers!

As this was the first restock experience for Jeff, Rebecca, and I, we were anticipating some sort of canon style apparatus that would launch the hundreds of fish into our humble lake. Turns out, Greg simply emptied the not-yet-full-grown bluegills into a bucket, and then slowly released them into Lake Jake. With the release of an equal amount of fatheads (feed minnows), the bluegills should be primed and ready to put smiles on hundreds of campers faces by week 1 (which starts one month from today!).

Special thanks to John Karsten, the Chairman of our Board of Directors, for his generous donation of the fish!

Here are several pictures from the exciting morning!

Greg wasted little time filling buckets with the hundreds of fish!

Release the hounds (aka: fish)!

Even though the delivery truck didn't come equipped with a launching apparatus, it was still quite an imposing presence pulled up next to Lake Jake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Campers Overrun Camp Gray!

By: Sara Knutson
Program Director

The 3rd annual Happy Camper Fun Run/Walk was a great time once again! We had a great time seeing both familiar and new faces, and hope to see you back again! A special shout-out goes to the eight participants who have now completed all three Happy Camper runs (an impressive number considering we only had 27 participants the first year!).

With the rain letting up before the start of the race, conditions ended up being great – as long as you don’t mind clouds! On the women’s side, Maureen Hunt defended last year’s win with Katie Kleczek only seconds behind. Michael Krueger, last year’s runner-up, crossed the line first this year with an impressive 20:06. One of our founding race directors, Mitchell Bechtold, took advantage of being a “regular” participant to take second. Perhaps the most impressive finish came from Jack Champeau, who led the under-18 division and took second place overall with his time of 20:57. Whether it was your first race or one of hundreds completed, we’re glad everyone could join us!

And it’s never too early to post next year’s date, right? In keeping with our Mother’s Day weekend tradition, the 4th annual Happy Camper Fun Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2010. If you can’t stay away from camp that long, join us for our Fall Community Picnic on September 19, 2009 (more details will be available on the main website page as the date grows closer). Until then, keep on walking, running, and happy camping!

Check out all the results of the 2009 Happy Camper Fun Run: Click here

Michael Krueger: Your 2009 Happy Camper 5k Fun Run Champion!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Camp Gray Staff Spotlight III

By: Camp Gray

Thanks for tuning in to "Misplaced & Found"!

Our latest Camp Gray Staff Spotlight is Luke Meinholz! Luke was a camper at Camp Gray for many summers before joining staff last summer as our Operations Assistant. This summer, Luke will be back on staff as a counsleor for settlers and trailblazers! We're certainly excited to have Luke back this summer, and we're excited to hear how life has been for him since summer camp 2008. So, without any further delay... Luke Meinholz!

Camp Gray Blog: Well howdy, Luke, what have you been up to since summer 2008?
Luke Meinholz: Hi everyone! Since leaving Camp at the end of week 8 last summer, I have been busy with my studies at Oklahoma State University in environmental sciences, where I also run for the OSU Track team.

Camp Gray Blog: What is your favorite thing about Camp Gray?
Luke Meinholz: One of my favorite things about Camp Gray is the community that is formed by everyone who goes there. That’s what’s been bringing me back year after year since the mid to late 1990s. It’s probably my favorite place to be.

Camp Gray Blog: What was the best lesson you took from summer camp 2008?
Luke Meinholz: Hmmm… There were a few things. I learned quite a bit from Joe Van Tassel the week that I got to be his co-pilot. And throughout the summer I learned about having to deal with all sorts of different stuff (remember 7/9/08!!)

Camp Gray Blog:
What is your favorite book?
Luke Meinholz: I'm a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings, and since they all go together, we’ll count it all as one book.

Camp Gray Blog: You have a free ticket to go anywhere in the world. Where would you fly?
Luke Meinholz: I’d love to go to Germany someday and visit my ancestral homelands. See the castle that belongs to my family.
Meinholz Day is on a Saturday this year, so we may all have to help celebrate…

Camp Gray: Who is your favorite Saint?
Luke Meinholz: St. Michael and St. Luke. Michael because he rocks, and St. Luke because, well, we have similar writing styles. At least that’s what my senior English teacher said.

Camp Gray Blog: What are your top 3 favorite spots on camp? Why?
Luke Meinholz: La Hacienda, the Cassidy Athletic Field, and the Stables.
I spent a few summers as a Ranch Camper and really grew to love La Hacienda. Not too many people get to experience it, but I really like it. The Cassidy AF just because I love the Tuesday game of CTF and just running around in general. And as a Ranch Camper, I really liked going down to the stables and seeing what Jim Riggs was up to.

Camp Gray Blog: When you were of settler age, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Luke Meinholz: In all honesty, I wanted to be a camp counselor. Ask my Grandma.

Camp Gray Blog: Favorite Bible verse?
Luke Meinholz: "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified"
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Camp Gray Blog: Well thanks for your time Mr. Meinholz!
Luke Meinholz: My pleasure! I can’t wait to get back to Wisconsin and for the summer to start! Anyone who is free this Saturday, May 9th, should come on up to Camp Gray to participate in the 3rd Annual Happy Camper Fun Run!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Inaugural Camp Gray Bassmaster Tournament

By: Chris Aderhold
Assistant Director

Editor's Note: Because of an overpopulation of bass in Lake Jake - an overpopulation of bass equates to an under-population of sunfish, bluegill, and perch - Camp Gray's Operations Specialist, Tom Thill, challenged the Camp Gray community with the best solution possible: a bass fishing tournament (which, with any luck, would be followed by a delicious fish fry).

Overcast skies during the Inaugural Camp Gray Bassmaster Tournament made for optimal fishing conditions, as a dozen intense competitors took to the shores of Lake Jake in the hopes of achieving the largest total weight haul of the day.

Tom Thill, fresh off his 2.5 month stint on the DL (Tom broke his leg back in February, and the tourney was one of his first opportunities to get back out to camp), started the day nicely by pulling in two 11 oz. bass before the rest of the field could even get their hooks wet.

Tom's grandsons, Hayden and Sawyer, made it onto the leader board early as well when they teamed up to pull in an 8 oz. bass:

Meghan settled on the unorthodox fishing style of attempting to catch fish with a net while laying over the dock. After nearly two hours of struggles and near-catches, she scooped up an impressive crappie! The crappie, of course, wasn't added to Meghan's total weight haul, but it did provide extra food for the post-tourney fish fry.

When the horn blew at 5:15, indicating the end of the tourney, the tension in the air was thick with anticipation as Pat, the Official Bassmaster Tourney Judge, added the day's catches.

When it came down to it, nobody really stood a chance at beating Tom, who was crowned the 2009 Camp Gray Bassmaster Tournament Champion with a total haul of 2 lbs. and 15oz.

Regardless of who won, it was a fun afternoon for all, and the challengers caught enough fish to feed everyone, even those of us that only caught sunfish.

Thanks to Tom and Micky (Tom's lovely wife), for a wonderful afternoon of fishing!

Work Day Continued...

Here are a few more pictures from Camp Gray Work Day. Thanks again to everyone who helped make it a successful day. We hope to see you all next year!