Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Musings by Mo-T

By Mo-Theresa Wilks

Weather Update:
Cold and rainy.

For those of you who live near Camp Gray, you may not be all that surprised at this weather report, for two reasons.
1) You are currently experiencing the same weather
2) It has been like this for about a month

Granted, we have had a few nice, sunny, moderately warm days. But it seems as if most of this month has been cold and rainy. Rain isn’t so bad. It’s even necessary. It also helps us to appreciate more the dry, sunny days. But when it’s in the 30s or 40s, it’s just uncomfortable. Some might even call it “bone chilling”. I hear that it makes some people just want to curl up inside with a nice mug of hot cocoa and a snuggie? (Yes, I intended that question mark.) Personally, I most strongly dislike this weather because if it is going to be this cold anyway, it might as well just snow. Snow is clearly way better than rain (at least if you are trying to ski…)

So this is what we have been dealing with at Camp recently. But the staff here and all the groups who have visited have been taking it in stride. Everyone gets on their rain gear and heads on outside. That’s because the truth is, Camp is beautiful and a gift from God, whether you’re looking at it through rain, fog, snow or sunglasses. And, even despite less than ideal weather, it’s still such a blessing to have the opportunity to be outside exploring our 225 acres. Besides, we wouldn’t want to miss the beautiful fall colors all around us, would we?

So onward we press, working with all our ESP, teambuilding and Confirmation groups. And yes, onward we look – to some different weather. But we still won’t forget to thank God for all the blessings that we are experience right now, and take full advantage of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Musings by Mo-T

By Mo Theresa Wilks

October 12, 2009, a day that will live in infamy. Well, maybe not, but it is my half birthday! I will be celebrating another 6 months of life by doing what I do most Mondays…working in the Camp Gray office.

My job here as weekend retreat coordinator is pretty cool. I work with the volunteers in planning and running all the, you guessed it, weekend retreats. This happens to be mostly spiritual retreats. When I am not working on those, I spend my time researching topics within the faith we want to learn more about, thinking of new programs/ideas for retreats, or helping out around camp in many other ways.

Everything I do during the year though, does not make me forget about the awesome things we also do during the summer! While we don’t typically do anything special for half birthdays here at camp, if you are here your birthday you are in for a treat!

Traditionally, especially during a session of summer camp, the birthday boy or girl gets the privilege of sitting on a stool in the middle of the pavilion, being sung to (very loudly and boisterously) and getting a special birthday dessert. It is truly a great way to celebrate.

Having a springtime birthday, though, I have never had the pleasure of experiencing this. This saddens me greatly, but I figure I can make up for it by celebrating my half birthday as well…

Inaugural Camp Gray Alumni Softball Game

By: Skip Carlson
Camp Gray Sports Writer

In what turned out to be a perfectly marvelous afternoon, dozens of Camp Gray staff alumni past and present recently gathered at the Fr. Cassidy Athletic Field at Camp Gray for the Inaugural Camp Gray Alumni Softball Game.

After players warmed up, and caught up (late 90's staff members Brian Spader and Shaun Crumb made the trek back to this humble camp - meaning there was a lot of time needed to catch up!), teams were chosen. Those staff that have at least 4 years of experience serving at Camp Gray were placed on one team (affectionately known as the Geriatrics - or Jerrys for short), while those that are bit more green to the Camp Gray staff were placed on the other team (known simply as the Domin-8-ters).

The Jerrys won the pregame coin toss, and so were awarded with the home-field honors, which seemed appropriate as the Jerry's had nearly 60 years of combined staff experience.

After two innings, the Jerrys had a commanding 6-1 lead, which had the mostly pro-Jerry crowd in an absolute tizzy! Before long, however, the Domin-8-tors settled in, and came storming back with 10 runs over the next 3 innings. After five innings, the score was 11-10, in favor of the Jerrys, but the Domin-8-tors weren't backing down.

The game continued on in this back-and-forth fashion all the way until the top of the 9th, when the Domin-8-tors came to the plate looking to extend their two-run lead, because due up in the bottom of the 9th was the top of the order for the Jerrys: "The Big 3" of Jeff, Shaun, and Brian.

The Jerry's defense came up big in the top of the 9th with several clutch plays, and were able to keep the Domin-8-tors from scoring any runs, however, the Jerrys were only able to score 2-runs in the bottom half of the 9th, knotting the score at 16.

Not unlike the 2002 MLB All Star game, this game ended in a tie, not because the players didn't want to continue, but because the annual fall community picnic at Camp Gray was on-deck (pun entirely and excitedly intended!), meaning hundreds of local folks would be arriving at camp anytime to take in the celebration of Mass, a delicious meal, and fellowship with the staff and volunteers of Camp Gray.

While the decision to end in a tie was difficult, it adds fuel to this young rivalry, and will make future alumni softball games at Camp Gray even more exciting. Won't you join us next year? Thanks to all those that made the first-ever Camp Gray alumni softball game such a huge success.

There's no DH at Camp Gray.
Jerry's starting pitcher Brian Spader crushes this pitch to left-center.

The Domin-8-ters
left-to-right: Emily, Chris, Amanda, Kevin C., Meghan, Pat, Sean, Emilio, Kevin E., Kate

front row, l-to-r: Rebecca, Mo-T, Nicky, Lindsay, Jenna, Sara
back row, l-to-r: Topher, Gus, Shaun, Jeff, Brian

A soft grounder is easily collected by Domin-8-ers shortstop Kate Earleywine, which she effortlessly turned into a double play.

Jerry's "BIG 3": Jeff, Shaun, Brian

Once again, the Fr. Cassidy Athletic Field played host to a real nail-biter.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Doug - All-Pro Counselor. Scratch golfer. Aspiring closer for the Chicago Cubs.

Well howdy Doug! What have you been up to since summer?

I’ve been living it up out in corn country, at THE Iowa State University. I just started my junior year there studying Journalism and Religious Studies. Also, I’m a CA (community advisor; same thing as an RA) on campus. Between that and homework, I’ve been keeping plenty busy.

What is your favorite thing about Camp Gray?

Oh man, that’s tough…there are so many things I absolutely love about Camp, but if I had to choose, I’d say parent feedback. It feels incredible to know just how much of an impact we as a staff have on our campers. There’s not many summer jobs where you can say, “man, I really made a difference in that person’s life,” as much as you can as a camp counselor.

What was the best lesson you took from summer camp 2009?

Patience! When you are responsible for 8 Settler boys, you better have some. If you don’t, you’ll learn it quickly, like I did. Holy Cow…let’s just say I have a new found respect for mothers and elementary school teachers.

What is your absolute favorite memory from summer? (I know you have like 39, but I’m confident you can narrow it down to one)

The Week 8 CTF was epic. I was a Pathfinder counselor that week, and between us and the Ranchers we had about 35 people against about twice as many Trailblazers. It was a really close fought match. The Pathfinders were down pretty much the whole game, but we scored the winning point with like 2 minutes left. I mean, you could put that game on ESPN Classic it was so good. That was also my last CTF match of the summer, so it was especially sweet to end it like that.

What is your favorite book?

I’m a big Harry Potter fan, but I think I’d have to say The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn. Or anything written by Scott Hahn for that matter. In The Lamb’s Supper, he talks about how the book of Revelation relates to the Catholic Mass…reading it gave me a completely new outlook on the Mass. It went from something I just did every Sunday to something I look forward to every week.

Name one improvement you would make to camp?

I would love to see more Praise and Worship music…We do it after Mass on Fridays, but it would be sweet to have 20 minutes every day just to praise God through song.

You have a free ticket to go anywhere in the world. Where would you fly?

Is it cliché to say Rome? I’m a big history nerd, especially when it comes to Church history, so I think I would just be beside myself in the Vatican. There’s so much faith and history there; I could probably stay here for months and still not see everything.

Who is the biggest hero in your faith?

You know, I really can’t say I have a biggest hero. There have been a lot of people throughout my life who have had a great impact on my faith…one is definitely Fr. Larry Bakke. This summer I got to know him, and he is truly a great man of God.

Who is your favorite Saint?

Hmmm…I’ve always been partial to St. Sebastian (my Confirmation name!). Any guy who goes up to the Roman Emperor and tells him off for persecuting Christians, then gets ordered to be put to death, doesn’t die, but goes right back and tells him off again is seriously cool.

What are your top 3 favorite spots on camp? Why?

3. Cassidy Athletic Field – CTF on the AF. Nuff said.

2. Patrick and William Picnic table for lots of good conversations with staff when campers are asleep.

1. St. Francis of Assisi Chapel because, well, Jesus is there! Mass, Adoration, No Rosary No Dinner; every powerful faith experience I had this summer happened there…it is truly a special place.

When you were of Settler age, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think my mom told me once I wanted to be a chemist, but I also remember wanting to be a reporter. Ironically, I started college as a Chemical Engineering major and ended up in Journalism. Oh, and a professional baseball player (actually, that’s still true…can you say Fantasy Camp?)

Favorite Bible verse?

Colossians 3:17 – “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of Christ Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Honorable mentions – 1 Timothy 4:12, Luke 22:26, and Jeremiah 17:7.

Well thanks a lot, Doug! Do you have any closing words?

Sure. I firmly believe in God putting people where they need to be. Way back in February, I got a call from my old boss telling me that she didn’t have a job for me that summer; I had been planning on working 40 hours a week developing pictures at the Walgreens I had worked at since I was 16. “Well, that’s great,” I thought, “now what?” I was a counselor for a week long camp my parish ran back in high school, so I thought that might be fun to do for the summer. Now, this is the God part. I wanted to work at a Catholic Camp (in truth, I wasn’t sure if those even existed) close to Chicago, where I’m from. So I Googled “Catholic Summer Camp” and just applied to the first one on the list. Camp Gray was number one on that search, and my life will forever be changed because of it…I guess you could say Google (but really, God) changed my life.

Doug teaches this camper the appropriate way to celebrate your first catch at Camp Gray!