Camp Gray 60 years ago was built on faith, fun, and dynamite

BARABOO — Parishioners at St. Joseph Parish in Baraboo helped Fr. Francis Xavier Gray — later Monsignor Gray — buy the land for a Reedsburg youth camp on Shady Lane in the early 1950s.

Not long after, they used dynamite to clear stumps from the athletic field and built cabins from wood they salvaged from crates of ordnance produced at the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant just outside of Baraboo.

Today, as it marks its 60th year, the Catholic youth camp and retreat center has weathered change. Generations of campers built memories as they spent summer weeks in those cabins, went on snipe hunts, and tagged up at first base on the ball diamond.

Now Camp Gray is preparing for the future.

“We are improving Camp Gray — project by project — but the same fun, values, and faithfulness all remain. That’s what we’re all about,” said Jeff Hoeben, who, along with his wife Rebecca, directs the camp. “We know how important the Camp Gray experience is. We’ve kept the experience intact and are working to upgrade the facilities."
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1 comment:

  1. My wife grew up going to Camp Gray as a kid and still loves the place. She even remembers the "Helen" for whom Helen Hall is named (she was the head cook). We go there every May for a family retreat.

    Why do I always focus on the 1% negative and not the 99% positive? I have no idea. But with that flaw of mine in mind, I do hope the renovations include taking out the prayer labyrinth and the tick-infested outdoor chapel. They're both in terrible shape and I don't think they do a lot for anyone. I was at an outdoor mass (different place) in a Catholic cemetery over a year ago and the priest was most reverent; unfortunately the wind blew up, consecrated hosts flew out from the ciborium on to the altar and one that landed on the stairs almost got stepped on because the elderly priest didn't even know what had happened.

    But Camp Gray is lovely, the staff wonderful, the place is by the Dells, and just a couple miles off the interstate -- easy-to-get-to, calm, large pond, the peace of the woods, and fellow Catholics abound! Long live Camp Gray!


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