Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Peacock Feather

Last weekend, nine (9) of us from the year-round Camp Gray community made our way out to the big city of Chicago for a three day camp conference put on by the American Camp Association.

It was a wonderful weekend to spend quality time with the crew from Camp Gray, as well as a great opportunity to meet folks from other Camps.  We attended many different sessions to hear camp professionals speak about everything from behavior management and supervision tips, to neat ideas for marketing.  The event's closing speaker, Scott Arizala, gave a wonderful talk on the importance of youth development, and it left me fired up for summer camp.   

Of course, no camp conference would be complete without a little competition, and wouldn't ya know it, on the first night there was an intense Baggo tournament.  I was teamed up with Jenna Keller, Camp Gray's Administrative Coordinator.  For three years running, the Camp Gray Administrative Coordinator has won the Baggo Championship, so I was honored to be paired with Jenna.  

As Yoda so eloquently put it in Star Wars, 
"Do or do not, there is no try." 
Well... we did not.  But, we competed hard and fair.  I was proud of the effort put forth by Ms. Keller, even if the pressure of keeping the Administrative Coordinator winning streak alive ultimately destroyed her.  Because of this crushing defeat, Camp's Co-Directors, Jeff & Rebecca, have decided to discontinue the Administrative Coordinator position indefinitely.       

After dinner on the last night, the organizers of the conference were kind enough to schedule some camp appropriate entertainers to aid in digestion.  "The Wacky Juggler", Andy Head, put on an impressive display of juggling and jocularity.  Early on in his performance, he asked for a volunteer from the audience, so of course I emphatically raised my hand high in the hopes of being picked.  Unfortunately, I didn't make enough of a commotion to be chosen.  However, a lesson was learned, and the following thought rattled around the brain of Chris Aderhold: 
"The wacky juggler likes wackiness...  If he asks for another volunteer, how can I get his attention?...  Hmmm...  Wait a scosh!  What is this clown nose doing here?  That's it!..."  

Luckily my brain worked quickly, because the next thing I knew, The Wacky Juggler was asking for more volunteers.  On the clown nose went, and up went my hand.  A quick thanks is due to my friends from Camp Gray for doing the infamous "point at the guy who wants to be picked and scream" technique - because IT WORKED!

Turns out, Mr. Juggler needed 8 volunteers.  Once we arrived up on stage, he handed each of us a large peacock feather, and asked us to balance the feather on our hand.  

(It should be noted that I love to write because I enjoy being very descriptive.  However, when my Baggo teammate happens to video the aforementioned events, I feel as though I should share... Enjoy!)


As you can see, the balancing came pretty easy for me.  Also, you might have noticed, at the end of the peacock feather-balance test-run, Mr. Juggler pats me on the back.  I believe that is the good vibes I needed for the next portion of our time on stage. 

Well, the test run was a warm up for a competition.  Mr. Juggler challenged us to see which of us eight could balance our feather the longest.  I accepted his challenge with vigor, and felt confident with the support of the fine folks from Camp Gray - A Catholic Summer Camp (plus the support of the WeHaKeers), I would take home the gold.  

As you'll see, the clown nose was removed, because the clown nose isn't a part of my game face...  

(You will now need to tilt your head 90 degrees to the left...)

There you have it, folks!
I am the ACA Midstates Conference Peacock Feather Balancing Champion!  I've been told that winning feather balancing competitions like this can have a major influence on future job opportunities in the fields of entertainment, wildlife management, and aviation education.
I would again like to thank the fine folks from Camp Gray for their wonderful support.  
(Also, I'd like to take a minute to publicly apologize for slamming Jenna's Baggo performance.  Baggo is the ultimate team sport, and because of a recent discovery of tendonitis in my throwing shoulder, I was less than effective in the tournament.  I take 100% blame for the devastating defeat.)  

Thanks for reading everyone!  

Peace be da journey, 


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Letter of Recommendation

Because my blog writing time this week was spent writing a letter of recommendation for my friend, Luke, the aforementioned letter has become this weeks post.  Enjoy!  

Dear Selection Committee:

I am writing to recommend Luke Meinholz for the SEEA 2009-2010 Scholarship.  I have had the great privilege of knowing Luke for nearly three years, and have had many opportunities to witness his strong character.  I first met Luke in 2006 when I was his counselor at the summer camp at which I am employed, Camp Gray.  Spending two weeks with Luke left me extremely impressed, and I remember encouraging him to consider working on our staff when he was old enough.  Two years later, Luke was hired as part of our summer staff.  Having the opportunity to be both a mentor and a peer to Luke has given me plenty of insight into his attitude and character.  

The summer that I was Luke's counselor was my first summer at Camp Gray.  Luke had been a camper for several years.  He was the type of camper that our returning staff knew well because of his great love of Camp Gray, his strong leadership among his fellow campers, and his terrific attitude.  Upon meeting Luke, I instantly recognized these qualities, and  was also struck by his incredible work ethic.  Luke was a camper in our two week Advanced Ranch Camp that summer.  Before the campers were permitted to ride, they would feed and tend to their horses, and then complete other chores around the stables.  Luke was, without question, the hardest working and most positive camper in our group those two weeks.       

During the fall of 2007, I was thrilled when Luke told me that he had applied to be on Camp's summer staff for 2008.  Luke wasn't old enough to be a counselor, so he instead was hired as the Maintenance Assistant.  Not the most glamorous of positions, I was confident that Luke would nonetheless shine, and shine he did.  Allow me to share an incident from last summer that I think exemplifies Luke's strong commitment and dedication.  I returned to the office one evening and was informed that there had been an unfortunate sewage disaster in one of Camp's bathrooms.  I headed toward the bathroom to assess the situation, and was pleasantly surprised to find Luke already nearly finished cleaning the bathroom.  To make light of the situation, he had donned a helmet and an orange reflection vest.  What impressed me most was that he hadn't been asked to clean the bathroom.           

Luke will be on staff again this summer, this time as a counselor for our campers in 2nd - 8th grade.  I can't help but feel like a proud Grandpa as one of my first campers will soon have campers of his own.  Luke's strong character and attitude will be on display for hundreds of campers this summer, and I'm ecstatic for those campers to have the opportunity to be mentored by such a wonderful young man.   

In closing, when I step back and think about Luke's positive attitude, his loyalty to his friends and family, his strong work ethic, and the wonderful example he is for both his peers and young people, he stands out in my mind as an ideal recipient of your 2009-2010 SEEA Scholarship. 


Chris Aderhold

Assistant Director

Camp Gray

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Luke Meinholz

Luke asked me to write a letter of recommendation for him for a scholarship.  I enjoy both writing and Luke, so I agreed.  I will have the letter finished by tomorrow evening, and will then post it to "a blog".  Feedback and suggestions would be great.  Let's make Luke some money.  

Peace be da journey, 


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sorry friends!

I meant to get a post up yesterday, but my only access to internet was with an iphone, because I'm in Tennessee at a conference for guys only.  I briefly attempted to type an article, but it was my first experience with an iphone, so things did not go well.  

Come back next week when I'll be posting an article that I think could be one of my best.  

Peace be da journey. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Lakeland Loppet Part 2

The first heat of 8k skate style skiers (14-18 year olds) left 4 minutes before, and the heat I was to be sent with (19-39 year olds) would be getting the green light in a mere 60 seconds. As the rest of the skiers from my group were lining up to start the race, I was still trying to decide whether or not I should race with my fleece jacket on. If I kept the jacket on, I would be somewhat warm, however, if I removed the jacket, I could show off my sweet "Team Aderhold" t-shirt; the brain-child collaboration of my Aunt Jan and Grandma Aderhold. Ultimately, it was a no-brainer; Team Aderhold it was. I removed my jacket, strapped on my gloves, and got in my ready position (which looked a lot like this: click here).

The Lakeland Loppeteers line up for the start of the big race

Yup, that's me in the white. At 6'4" and weighing in at an impressive 178 lbs., the old man to the right can't help but be impressed with my terrific ski posture.

"3... 2... 1... GO!"
And just like that, we were off!  

After 1k I still hadn't fallen, which was a small victory in itself. However, 20 yards after the 1k sign, I guess I got a little cocky, and biffed it pretty hard on a winding downhill. Was I embarrassed that I wiped out so horrifically? Not really. I was so far behind the pack that nobody actually saw me. I picked myself up and continued on. I was pretty content that I could just enjoy the beautiful trails and not worry about people passing me or, unlikely as it sounds, me passing other people. On the way to the race I was a student in "Ski Race Passing Etiquette 101", which to me definitely seemed more like a 400 level course.

This contentful (it's a word... look it up) thought process came to a sudden and crashing end near the 3k sign when out of nowhere I got passed on a steep uphill by a man on my left.

"What the heck?", I thought to myself, "Where is he coming from?"

I was, without question, in last place. How could I be getting passed? I didn't say anything, just smiled and watched him fly by me.

Approximately 45 seconds later, another man flew past me. Then another. Then another. Then a woman.

Then it hit me... This was the 40-59 year old wave of racers that began 5 minutes after my group started. And yes, they were smoking me. I could only think one thing, and those were the classy words of my friend, Eddy: "Cheese and biscuits!"

I began to wonder if wearing the Team Aderhold shirt might have been a bad idea. I was concerned that I would be giving us Aderhold's a bad name. "Oh well", I thought to myself, "At least I'm not Roger Clinton."

Finally, after only falling a half dozen times, getting passed by another dozen or so races, and then repassing a woman with less than 1k to go, I finished the Lakeland Loppet in just under 52 minutes! Such sweet relief!

Following my race, I watched Mo-T finish the 25k race, and then we packed up our gear and loaded our ski's into my truck. With a 4 hour drive in front of us, I was pretty intent on heading on home. Mo-T had other plans. She asked if I wanted to stick around for the awards ceremony, which initially I thought was a joke. She wasn't very happy with her time, so I assumed she had no chance at winning a medal. Certainly there was no reason for me to stick around. Not only did I get last in my heat, I think I was close to last in the "old folks" heat as well.

She finally talked me into staying, so we headed back up to hear the official results of the race.

After only standing there for a couple minutes, the PA system announced, "And in 2nd place in the male 19-29, 8k skate ski division, Chris Aderhold (which sounded more like "AID - ear - hold"). Pandemonium ensued! For exclusive video footage of the chaos, click here.

Sure, there were only two of us males in the 19-29, 8k skate ski division, but that didn't matter. Ten years (or more likely 2 months) from now, I'll forget to mention to people that there were only two of us. I have my second place prize (a Lakeland Loppet travel coffee mug) prominently displayed in my apartment, and will forever boast of winning the silver in my very first nordic ski race.

(Oh, and Mo-T ended up being the only female in the 19-29, 25k classic ski division, making her the champion. Not a bad weekend.)

Peace be da journey.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Lakeland Loppet Part 1

As I promised last week, this week's story is the non-fictional tale of a novice cross country skier (me) attempting  to successfully complete an 8K cross country ski race in sub-zero temperatures.  Be warned; the events of this story are real.    
After spending last Friday night at a friends house in Land O' Lakes, WI, I awoke at 6:15am from a delicious Sealy PosturePedic slumber, only to learn that temperature were hovering near -20 (that's negative twenty) degrees Fahrenheit.  2018 Winter Olympic Cross Country Skier Mo-T Wilks joined me on this adventure, as she would be skiing in the 25k Classic Race later that morning.  I had a scrumptious bowl of strawberries and cream oatmeal, and we hit the road by 6:45am.  An hour drive to Minacqua loomed, which is home of the annual Lakeland Loppet Nordic Ski Race.

As we pulled into the Minacqua Winter Park, I couldn't have felt more out of place.  Talk about a fish out of water.  I felt more out of place than Christian Laettner on the '92 Dream Team.  I felt more out of place than Gus Frerotte's neck after he celebrated a touchdown by head-butting a wall.  I felt more out of place than I did during the one semester I spent as anArchitecture major.  Okay, you get the idea.  I felt out of place.  Why?  Because sometimes I agree to do things before I really think them through.  An 8k race when I haven't been on cross country ski's more than 10 times total?  This had disaster written all over it.  

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Not quite done with this week's post.  Check back on Thursday!