Freshly Brewed: Episode 6 – Bless Us for the Journey

Bless Us for the Journey

Howdy friends! As Camp Gray continues to have huge impacts on individuals’ pursuits of holiness we decided to hear from the perspective of a long time camper, Erin Moran! Listen here as Chis talks with Erin about the many different programs Camp offers and how each different experience has played a role in how Erin continues to strive for sainthood!

Erin 4


Camp Gray Summer 2015 Schedule

Camp Gray Instagram

St. Francis of Assisi 

National Geographic Instagram

High School Camp Gray Adventure Day: Fall 2014 Recap

Quote Lake SunsetThanks to all the folks who came out to join us at Adventure Day on September 6th at Camp Gray. It was a beautiful day, and we’re here today to share more about it with you! First up, take a look at this rockin’ video of all the fun we had!

If you want the full story behind what you’ve seen, we’d suggest you reading this stellar recap of the day from Sara, the LBH Intern.

Adventure Book Pic

As much as we want to know our Heavenly Father, He wants to be known even more. With this understanding that He is constantly trying to reveal himself to us through the many gifts He has bestowed on us, the Love Begins Here and Camp Gray communities joined together to go on an epic adventure to explore our Father’s infinite love by encountering Him in His great outdoors. While rock climbing, kayaking, fire building, fishing, and praying together in the company of vibrant sons and daughters of Christ, we caught a genuine glimpse of what the Lord meant when He said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Throughout the day we talked about our Lord’s all-consuming desire to take us on the most exciting journey on earth as He leads us to our final destination in Heaven. These conversations were a perfect reminder that these beautiful experiences we share together amongst authentic friends are just a fraction of what He has in store for us tomorrow, next week, and the rest of our lives.

Adventure Day 1 Blog

For the teens that stayed overnight, we wrapped up the weekend by participating in the celebration of Mass, followed by a solo hike. It was here that we reflected on the ways we were going to continue to pursue a relationship with Jesus on a day to day basis and thus allow Him to transform our hearts.

Words of praise and thanksgiving offered to our Father did not even seem to suffice for the gift of such a perfect weekend to wrap up the summer and send us off with a heavenly vigor for the new experiences to be had this upcoming year. If this Adventure Day was just a glimpse of His glory, just imagine what He desires to share with us the more we desire to encounter Him!

Adventure Day 2 Blog

“Heavenly Father,
Give me the courage to strive for the highest goals,
to flee every temptation to be mediocre.
Enable me to aspire to greatness, as Pier Giorgio did,
and to open my heart with joy to Your call to holiness.
Free me from the fear of failure.
I want to be, Lord, firmly and forever united to You.
Grant me the graces I ask You through Pier Giorgio’s intercession,
by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!

Again, we’d encourage you to SAVE THE DATE for the Middle School Adventure Day at Camp Gray, which will take place on May 2nd!

Survey Says!

Survey Says

All of the Youth Ministers and others who work with the Middle and High School youth in our Parishes were asked over the past couple of weeks to take an online survey about a couple of new day retreats/rallies that we want to offer in collaboration with Camp Gray! It’s an exciting time (and idea!), but before we dived into the planning and work on such events, it was important to us to gather this feedback. We had 42 folks take the survey, and we’re ready to share with you the results. Of course, nothing is set and stone and the results of this survey will not magically result in new and beautiful programming (without hard work, of course!), but we’ll do our best to provide for what you need!


The first thing we asked about was if the parishes are interested in new programming for Middle School students, High School students or both Middle and High School students. The overwhelming response that was we need more for all of our youth!

Saturday Sunday

We’re not sure we could have asked a more controversial question. The response to whether folks wanted Saturday or Sunday events was split right down the middle. (For the solution, we will probably look to Camp’s availability and calendar for some more insight!) Regardless of what direction we take these events, it sounds like we’ll be looking into providing an optional overnight component for adventurous and interested parishes!


The above photo is an indication of the responses we received from the following question: For a day long event (that would provide snacks, lunch, retreat components, Camp Gray fun (potential for canoeing, tower climbing, etc.), music, and local speakers) what do you think of the cost of $45 for the day? (Keep in mind that the cost of a day at Camp Gray summer camp is about $90.) 

Some (8 folks) thought this price was far too much; some (5 folks) thought it was a bargain. The majority agreed it was either spot on or that with opportunities to provide scholarships to kids in need, $45 would be a good price. Going forward, we’ll be running the numbers and finding out how we can maximize the value for the lowest price possible. Stay tuned!

Top Selling Points

It sounds like whatever we do, as long as we keep our Catholic faith at the top of the list, enlist the stellar Camp Gray staff and enthusiastic youth ministers of our Diocese, give the youth an opportunity for classic Camp Gray fun and adventure, and give them a day out in nature with other teens to bond with, we’ll be on the right track. Thanks for all the great ideas about what will sell this new offering to our teens!

Overall, we could not be more thrilled with the response to this survey! Hopefully in the next month or so, we’ll have more details and a clear idea of what these events might look like in the 2014 – 2015 school year. Also, stay tuned for future surveys! This collaboration business is mighty fun.

(Also, in case you’re curious, one interesting piece of information we learned from the survey on the topic of Confirmation is that HALF of the Parishes that responded are either moving to Chosen for their program or already have! That’s great news, especially considering the exciting announcement we made last week.)

Live Your Vocation

Hey blog readers,

I’m glad you’ve tuned in for another #resrally2012 review!

In the midst of a weekend learning about the universal call to holiness and encouraging the young people of the Diocese to LIVE THEIR VOCATION, it was extremely beautiful to have the Camp Gray Chaplain, Fr. Tim Renz along for the weekend, who was recently ordained in June of 2011. While the young people were encourage to think about what God is calling them to in life and Not Yet shared what vocations they are not yet living out, Fr. Tim was present to LIVE his vocation out all weekend. He slid down the water slides with joy, heard Confessions for 4 hours and presided over Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Mass. Having Fr. Tim around surely inspired everyone around to consider their vocations in a deeper way.

Speaking of the universal call to holiness, the Second Vatican Council broke open the teaching on this topic in Lumen Gentium, which the teens learned about during the weekend. It’s a solid read. Spend some time with it if you have never done so!

How beautiful is that photograph?

In other beautiful news, facebook and twitter were going crazy during the days post-Rally. Take a look at some of the best #socialmedia evaluations:

Facebook Highlights
Shannon C.: the whole weekend was awesome, but the Testimonies and adoration were my favorite. I’m so glad that I’m able to be apart of this wonderful community of people who are so strong in they’re faith and just support each other it is truly amazing.

Keith L.: My favorite part was entering the next week being so on fire with the Spirit thanks to all the amazing people and testimonials. This year especially is going to have a lasting effect on my spirit and how I define “being a man”.

Twitter Highlights
#thatamazingmomentwhen all my sins that i’ve racked up over the past 7 or more years have been forgiven and I feel like I can fly. #ptL (Katie Greenwood, Reedsburg)

So thankful for all the youth, youth ministers, and priests of the Diocese of Madison. What a perfect weekend! #ptL #resrally2012 #boom (Bill VanWagner, Seminarian & Keynote Speaker)

Wow! What a weekend. You’re still in for one more blog post that is going to recap the weekend. Don’t miss it.



I had the extreme pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding this past weekend of two good friends from Camp Gray. While celebrating and praying with the lovely couple (the Chaptmans!), I spent much time reflecting on how blessed I have been to found a family within the Camp Gray community. There is an abundance of many things within it – support, friendship, and love. Those you may expect from any close group of co-workers, but what I think is more incredible is that this group of 40 who gathered are all abundantly and passionately living the Catholic faith. And, there are an abundance of them who are currently serving the Lord by working for the Church (or in school with plans to do so after finishing). This gang is quite inspiring. Check out the stats.

Members of the Camp Gray Family: 40
Inspiring/Holy People: 40
Former Campers: 11
Catholic School Teachers: 6
Youth Ministers: 5
Madison Seminarians: 2
College Campus Ministers: 1
Current Camp Staff: 11
Children 3 and Under: 3

And those stats are just a few – there are people using their gifts and talents to serve the Lord in the medical field, one who is an administrative assistant for Rachel’s Vineyard, another going to be a missionary for FOCUS after graduation, a lovely young woman who is looking for help to pay off her debt before joining a religious order and many others living out the call to holiness in their everyday lives.

These people inspire me. If you haven’t checked out the life changing work Camp Gray is up to lately, I think it is time. You will probably be inspired. (They have a Facebook and a twitter, if that helps you out.)