Camp Gray completes summer of faith, friends, and fun Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
camp gray
Campers at Camp Gray Catholic Camp near Reedsburg participate in morning praise and prayer, discussing Works of Mercy with members of their cabin group. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

REEDSBURG — “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”

That quote from St. John Paul II was this summer’s theme at Camp Gray, near Reedsburg.

Camp Gray is the Catholic summer camp and year-round retreat center of the Diocese of Madison.

This year, summer campers of all ages got to experience adventure in numerous forms.

‘Trailblazing’ adventures

Campers entering grade six to eight are known as Trailblazers.

They are “willing to try new things, step outside of their comfort zone, and they guide themselves with the conversations,” said first-year counselor Jessica Winters. “You get to participate with them more instead of supervising like you do with the younger kids.”

On a Wednesday in early August, during the camp’s final full week, one group of Trailblazers got to hike in the woods and build boats with “three pieces of nature and one piece of string.”

The eight boats were then entered in a tournament and raced in the camp’s Harrison Creek.

The boat “Two Sticks,” made from two sticks, a leaf, and a piece of string was the winner.

It was built by 11-year-old Jayden Reyes of Chicago and 11-year-old Oliver Sweet of Milwaukee.

Reyes said he enjoyed “building it and naming it and watching it — the whole thing.”

Some Trailblazers later got the chance to build their own fire in some of the camp’s fire pits.

Eleven-year-old Henry Mayes of Madison enjoyed the whole week and said it was “awesome” meeting new people and added he was happy seeing “how much they have in common with me.”

“I love Trailblazers,” said first-year counselor Katie Dunbar. “They’re so impressionable, but fun, at the same time, willing to do anything — it’s awesome.”

The 19-year-old also enjoys “embracing the kid in me” as a counselor and getting to do “the random stuff that I would have liked to do, that I didn’t get to do at home.”

Some of the “random” adventures for the Trailblazers included a mud fight in the water, going on a water hunt on a hot day, and playing “junior reporters” and going around interviewing and getting to know various Camp Gray staff members.

Super Crazy Adventure Time

Another highlight of the week is “Super Crazy Adventure Time” or SCAT.

“The counselors plan out an activity for the kids,” said Dunbar. “We just do things that are often times related to our weekly theme.”

Her cabin’s theme for the week was based on the 1998 movie The Parent Trap.

One SCAT activity included reenacting a scene from the movie and having Camp Gray Assistant Director Chris “Topher” Aderhold pretend to nap while being pushed onto a board on Lake Jake and “waking up” to find he’s in the water.

Some Pathfinders, campers in grades eight to 10, got to have a cookout at the lake during their SCAT, and even jump into the lake from a rope swing.

Adventures in faith

Along with opportunities for Mass and Confession, campers grow in faith through daily morning praise and prayer.

During one morning, staff and campers prayed a morning offering, sang and danced with a praise and worship song, and got together in groups to discuss how they can perform Works of Mercy for each other and others outside of camp.

Join the adventure

Registration for 2017’s summer camp at Camp Gray opens Tuesday, Nov. 15.

For more information on Camp Gray, go to or visit its Facebook page at

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