Jeff Hoeben manages Camp Gray, a Catholic youth camp in Madison, Wis., but says he found his calling in Nepal. When the 2002 graduate went on Xavier’s academic service learning semester to the South Asian country in 2001, he had a life-changing experience. “It was my time in Nepal that taught me to love service,” Hoeben says. “I thoroughly enjoyed giving of myself and, upon returning to Xavier, I began seeking ways in which I could serve others here in the States.”
Hoeben first became aware of Camp Gray during a young adult conference he attended after graduation. After seeing its logo on a water bottle, he returned home and began researching the camp. What he found was a perfect fit, combining his passions for faith and the outdoors. Soon afterward, he landed a position as a volunteer program specialist.
Today, Hoeben lives at the camp year-round and serves as the camp director along with his wife, Rebecca, whom he married there in 2005. Together, they manage the budget, hire and train staff, communicate with parents and work with the board of directors to plan for the future while remaining faithful to Camp Gray’s mission.
“The best thing about working at Camp Gray is that each and every day I have the ability to, as the mission states, ‘Offer a natural sanctuary for people of all faiths to experience God, discover self and walk hand-in-hand with friends,’ ” he says. “We are very fortunate to have been called here, and we are excited to stay and do the Lord’s work for many years to come.”