Monday, November 8, 2010

Secrets Revealed

By: Angela Lademan

I woke up this morning, looked out my window and realized: IT'S NOVEMBER! Now that a few months have gone by since the start of our year round program, I wanna rewind to our first group of the year, our family camp. For a question was posed to me that, at the time, I wasn't quite sure how to answer, and since then, I have continued to explore: what is it that motivates the Camp Gray staff?

I was having a conversation with a gentleman who's job has something to do with training companies in effective customer service. He was fascinated and impressed with the Camp Gray staff and was wondering what kind of secrets the Hoebens were keeping from the rest of the world on how to train for and maintain quality customer service. He said that he was going to have a chat with Jeff, and perhaps he did and was greatly enlightened, for Jeff always has good things to say, but for what it's worth, I'd like to offer some of my reflections on the secret to the joy, energy, and drive found here at Camp Gray (and maybe Jeff would agree and sir, if you are reading this, I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to give you a decent answer--I can be a slow thinker).

Conclusion #1: Coffee
On one early morning in October, we were working with our second or third Rome Corners group of 50-75 students. It was the last day of a three day retreat. I was tired, wet from a stream hike, dirty, and wearing the same shirt that I had on for the last three days. I went to pour some steamy coffee into my travel mug to drink on our way to solo hikes. One of the chaperons saw and exclaimed, "So, that is the secret to the Camp Gray energy!" I merely smiled and thought to myself Coffee is indeed a luxury, but not quite the secret.

Conclusion #2: Fun and Games
On another occasion, a sixth grader was asking me what it was like to work here. After I gave a short description, she decided that she would want to work here as well because "You just get to have fun at camp all day and play games." Well, she was close, but not quite there.

I'm sure there have been many other conclusions drawn about the Camp Gray staff, but from what I can see, and from my own experience having the joy of working here this year as a volunteer, the motivation is rooted in the center of camp in a little chapel on the edge of the woods: Jesus in the tabernacle.

From the little saints quotes posted in Moses, to the pictures of the Sacred Heart in all the buildings, to the daily duties camp requires, I am reminded that the only reason I am here is for the Lord. And so, dear sir, what does this have to do with the customer service here at Camp Gray? I'd say it has everything to do with it. Each camper is not simply a customer who walks in, purchases something and walks right back out, but a person that God has called me, specifically, in this moment, to serve in some way, whether it be through a talk, or a team building activity, or simply through cleaning his or her dishes after a meal in such a way that he or she can be drawn closer to God.

My job is to love because Christ loved...And I was thinking today that love is the most costly, precious thing in every person's life, yet, a person can never be paid for giving it...So, essentially, I am not motivated because of money (because I don't make any), or status (most people don't even remember my name at the end of a retreat), or because I will receive something in return (most people I will never see again), but because the Lord has found me to be a tool that He can work with as He writes the masterpiece of each person's life, a tool from which His love can be poured onto each page.

Final Conclusion:
I answer with a question: How can an instrument, no matter how small, not be overjoyed or working to it's full potential when the greatest of artists chooses it to work with and is holding it firmly in His capable hands?

Friday, October 8, 2010


By: Corey Sielaff

Think back, if you will, to the date September 27th, 2010. This was the day this blog was supposed to be posted. My sincere apologies for this late reflection, however it is simply a reflection of the crazy busy schedule we have been keeping around these parts. Our year-round retreat program is now in full swing. We have welcomed in several ESP retreat groups, a handful of team building and leadership groups and a pair of confirmation classes. All around camp you can hear discussion of environmental stewardship, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, teamwork and of course "Something Beautiful" by NeedtoBreathe blaring in the background. As we work through the heart of our busy fall season we are preparing for a retreat of our own. The Salt Team and many of the full-time staff are rolling out for a weekend of backpacking and fellowship in the beautiful fall colors of the Porcupine Mountains. It will be some welcome rest and relaxation in preparation for a few more months of high-energy retreats.

Besides hiking, playing music, and being all together goofy, many of this years Camp Gray staff share a similar hobby; photography. It is a rare occasion when someone is not snapping a shot of the beautiful landscape of Camp's 225 acres, taking a photo of kids completing a low ropes element or attempting to catch someone off guard for a funny picture. So you may be asking yourself, "self, why is Corey telling us this. We don't get to see any of these pictures." Well, it is our goal at Camp Gray to change that. First off, our fearless Assistant Director and head photographer extraordinaire Chris "Topher" Aderhold often posts his most recent pictures on the CG facebook page. This is our invitation to you to become a friend with Camp Gray Catholic Camp on Facebook ( and view the pictures. But, if Facebook is not your cup of tea, we have another option for our avid Camp Gray blogspot fans. We at Camp Gray will be hosting a picture contest here on the blog. Every few weeks we will post some new pictures taken around camp by one of our many volunteers. You will be able to vote for your favorite picture, and at the end of each month we will tally the votes and post the winner on the blog! It seems so simple, because it really is.

Well folks, thanks for reading along. We hope to see you all around camp sometime soon, but if not, we hope that you are keeping the camp spirit alive in your homes, places of business and other random public places! And to send with a favorite movie quote which fits perfectly with our theme for the year, remember that you are "B-E-A-utiful".

Monday, October 4, 2010

Musings by Mo-T

It is just about one year since I was hired on as a regular poster here on Misplaced and Found. (Poster, as in one who posts, specifically in this case every other week which some might call bi-weekly, bi-monthly, semi-weekly, etc...) If you don't know what I'm talking about, you better read this for some background information: Click Here.

For all you loyal readers, it probably seems to you as if I did not make good on my promise to post something new and exciting every other week. If you think that, you are wrong. I never promised that what I write is new or exciting. Admittedly, though, I did not continue to post twice a month for the entire year. I believe that I slowed down considerably in the winter/spring time, and never attempted a post in the summer. For this I apologize. I have learned from my mistake, though. I will never again promise to post on here with any sort of regularity.

The good news, though, is that things are going swell around here. You can read all about it on our last few posts...or I can give you the short version:
The SLT (Servant Leadership Team) is already hard at work on their fifth week of retreats.
We have done two Confirmation retreats so far. (Yay for the gifts of the Holy Spirit!!!)
Our free time has included a lot of hanging out and cooking/eating together. We have also enjoyed playing football, and our own version of arena football in the Camp Gray "Elk Antlers" Memorial Gymnasium.

But...our favorite group hobby is having a "jam session". This includes (but is most definitely not limited to) 1-4 guitar players, 1 drummer (playing congas or a drum box), 1-5 singers, much talk of banjos and other such instruments, and 1 almost 2 year old Andrew Hoeben peeking over the pews at us and "dropping" guitar picks inside our guitars. At our best we sound (and look) something kind of like this: Click Here.

That is all for now folks, keep your eyes peeled for some more Musings by Mo-T some indefinite amount of time in the future!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekly Gospel Devotion

Editor's Note: Would you like to receive weekly email devotions about the upcoming Sunday Gospel written by our fine volunteers and staff? Shoot an email to with, "ADD ME TO THE DEVO LIST (please)!" in the subject line, and we'll add you to the list so that you'll start receiving excellent, thought-provoking devotions like the one below, written by Kathleen!

Gospel for Sunday, October 3:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied,
"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to the mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?
Would he not rather say to him,
'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'"


It is no secret that we, as a society, have come to like big things. We gawk at large wrapped packages addressed to us as if it is infinitely better than a smaller package, though we have no idea what's inside. We like Venti coffees, extra large pizzas, walk-in closets, big screen TV's, and buying in bulk. We have adapted the mentality that bigger IS better though we may not finish our Venti coffee, the pizza will probably be packed up as leftovers, we may not have enough clothes to fill the walk-in closet, and the game we watch on the 73" TV is goin gto have the same plays and calls on the 20" TV. So what does it matter?!

The apostles fell into a very similar trap in this week's Gospel. They said it to Jesus, "Increase our faith," as if He would just snap his fingers to give them greater faith. One wonders why they desired MORE faith when they already had faith to begin with. Jesus responds to them by saying, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." In other words, "The size of your faith doesn't matter! Even with the smallest amount of faith you can do great things!" Faith is faith-you either have it or you don't.

In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus compares the apostles to servants, saying "When a servant comes in from tending the fields, you would say to him 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished.' Then you would thank him." In my reflecting on this Gospel, it seems that Jesus has two messages to share. The first is that things are not just granted to us, but rather worked for. We must be diligent in our duties if we want to obtain something as a result. However, (and this leads me to his second message) we should not do things out of pride or extreme self-indulgence, but rather for the glory of God.

In our Christian life, we are called to be servants of the Lord; not slaves to ourselves. It is so easy to get caught up in the quantity of everything. We feel we need to be more holy, more faithful, or just better because there are other people who are just so much holier, more faithful, or better than us—and we want others to notice we can be bigger and better. We often become more concerned with what others see us as than what God sees us as. It is at this point that we stop serving God and begin to serve ourselves. While it is important to realize where we fall short spiritually, it is just as important to remember that with faithfulness and holiness, you either have it or you don’t; quantity is irrelevant. God doesn’t call us to be the MOST faithful; He just calls us to be faithful. So let us always keep God the focus of our lives so that we can be the simply faithful servants He calls us to be. And let us never become proud or seek glory for ourselves when we follow God’s commands, but rather look at our obedience to His will as our obligation to the God who loves us unconditionally.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It Has Begun!

By: Nicole Heit

Our retreat season has started! We started off our week with a day of team building and fun as St. Henry's in Watertown came to Camp Gray. We continue the week with a two day team building retreat with students from Sacred Hearts in Sun Prairie. Both groups were amazing to have around and we can feel that fall is here. We also welcomed our first confirmation retreat on Sunday and are looking forward to our first ESP (environmental stewardship program) this week as well.

Speaking of fall, we had our fall picnic on Saturday. The day started with a great alumni softball game where Team Geriatrics (this team was made up of those alums with 5 or more summers of staff experience) won 22 to 20. The day ended with Mass and dinner. Everyone seemed to have a great time all afternoon. Fall is off to a great start here at camp and we are excited to continue to search for the beauty all around camp and in all the students that will be coming throughout the year.

Team Geriatrics

Team Newbies was made up of alums with 4 or less summers of staff experience

It was a great day for softball at Camp Gray!

Friday, September 17, 2010

On a Search for Something Beautiful

By: Angela Lademan

I know it's not New Years, but sometimes I think that January is a very bad time to begin with new commitments and practices when you've been in the race for a good four months already. Fall would be a much better time. Everything seems to transition in the fall and begin a new rhythm. Schools go back into session. Summer fun comes to an end. The world starts to pick up again, bringing new opportunities, challenges and memories. The air gradually ceases to smell of suntan lotion and barbecues and starts to smell of chimney smoke and apple pie...

For Camp Gray, it is the start of a new year round program. The Camp Gray staff has recommitted itself to another year of service to making the person of Christ known, loved, and served through the wonders of creation and the unique experience of a vibrant Catholic Community, welcoming people of all ages to delve deeper into their relationship with Christ and neighbor through a little time out of their busy new rhythm of life to seek God in the laughter and fellowship, stillness and graces that can be found here at Camp Gray.

To accomplish this, the Camp Gray staff has begun a search for something beautiful--the theme for this years camps! Unanimously, we have discovered that in seeking the beautiful, God's work can no longer lay in hiding. Like the clues laid out on a treasure map, all of creation, beautiful and alive, point directly to God, who desires desperately to be found and sought after. We hope that this search will begin to catch on so that God might be discovered, praised, adored, and loved in every heart.

As you begin to dive into creating a new set of commitments for this year, I encourage you to make a little room to seek God in all the little blessings around you. When you wake up in the morning (whether it's going to be a good day or not), praise God for the gift of breath. When you step out into the cold morning air, praise God that the sun is shining. When you're at work, praise God for the gift to serve others. When you come home to those you love, praise God for the gift of family...for truly, your life is something beautiful.

"Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works." --Psalm 139

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall is Here!

By: Chris Aderhold

Fall is upon us! We absolutely cannot believe how fast summer flew by, but as Jeff (and Kermit the Frog) always says, "Time's fun when your having flies."

But, as much as we love summer around these parts, the cooler weather, beautiful colors, and college football that comes with the fall puts a smile on all of our faces. Plus, it means that our year-round retreat season gets under way led by our selfless Servant Leadership Team. You'll be hearing lots more about this amazing group of young adult Catholics as the year goes on, but for now, I'll simply leave you with this terrific group photo of the new crew!

(left to right, top row): Angela, Red Basketball, Mo-T, Brown Basketball, Paul, (left to right, second row): Corey, Nicole, Lauren, Soccer Ball, (left to right, third row): Brown Basketball 2, Kathleen, Badger Basketball, Kristen, (left to right, bottom row): Blue Basketball, Badger Basketball 2, Yellow Mini Soccer Ball, Black and White Soccer Ball, Black Street Basketball.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring Work Day!

By: Chris Aderhold

Though the weather conditions for our annual Camp Gray Spring Work Day were a bit rainier and chillier than years past, the roll out of volunteers was no less impressive!

Leaves were raked, windows were washed, cabins were deep cleaned, and a band of rake strumming ladies was formed:

Yes, all in all, it was a wonderful day! Thanks to everyone who came out in support of Camp Gray. We're that much closer to being prepared for summer camp!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Musings by Mo-T


Whew, has it been a busy month here at Camp Gray. It was all really fun and exciting, but I'm happy to be able to slow down and catch my breath. Here's a summary of everything that's happened:

Over New Years we had a celebration and reunion with the staff from this past summer. It was great to have everyone here, playing snow football and basketball, staying up a little too late and enjoying lots of meals together. We also had some great prayer time as a group!

After that it was full steam ahead to our VISION college retreat. It was a great success with a mix of returning participants and people here for the retreat for the first time. Everyone, the staff here were able to relax and enjoy the retreat for themselves as well. The talks and discussions were enlightening and the community was fruitful for all.

Next it was on to a ski race. This didn't exactly affect all the staff, but it sure made my schedule a bit more crazy.

Finally, it was time for the March for Life. A group of 7 year round and summer staff flew out to Washington, DC for the event. We were able to attend two awesome rallies, be inspired by all the Catholic people there, including the many Priests, Seminarians and Religious Sisters we saw and talked to. We also had a beautiful and relaxing visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We were also able to meet up with some other summer staff who went with different groups.

Most importantly, however, we were able to March in the March for Life. This was truly a great opportunity to represent Camp Gray in defending the right to life for all people. It was a great experience to be there with everyone else and really stand up for what we believe it. As we reflected, we all agreed that it was very powerful to see so many people there who feel as strongly as we do about this, and about their faith. It made us think about how many people must feel the same as we do, even though they couldn't make the trip.

Are you tired yet? Because we were! And right after we got back from that, it was time for our annual volunteer retreat. This was a time for us to get away and grow closer together as a group, just like many of you get to do when you come on our retreats! We really enjoyed the bonding as well as the sharing and prayer time we had.

Now, we are busy getting ready for the Resurrection Rally to be held at Chula Vista Resort this coming weekend. We are looking forward to getting pumped up for our faith along with about 250 other teens and youth ministers. We will be sure to keep you updated on how it goes.

Enjoy this snowy afternoon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Musings by Mo-T

Question: What does Frosty the Snowman say when he comes to life?

Answer: Happy Birthday!

A friend of mine, actually my brother (some of you might know him as Bro-T) asked me this question when I was home for Christmas. I was convinced that Frosty actually said, "Happy New Year!" He doesn't, but Happy New Year to all of you anyway!

Our New Year's celebrations were fantastic, with much of the '09 summer staff able to return for a little reunion. There was much jocularity to be had, including, but not limited to, football, basketball, prayer, eating, praise and worship, skiiing, and staying up a little bit too late...

We had a great time playing football in the snow, but we were pretty exhausted afterwards.

Luckily we had a fire to keep us warm. We all agreed that we looked like a JC Penney catalogue.

Even baby Andrew made it out for the big game!!!

But alas, it is time to get back to serving the Lord! All the volunteers are back and we are getting ready for our college retreat tomorrow, and two travel retreats this weekend!

Until next year, er... month... week?