Archive for June, 2013

Tracy Bachmann | June 30, 2013

Reflections on the Worthwhile Way

Boys stand in formation before walking into Assembly, as they have for 110 years!

Boys stand in formation before walking into Assembly, as they have for 110 years!

Ahh, Sunday at Camp. It’s mellow. Most alumni will tell you Sunday at Camp Highlands means three things. Assembly, Turkey Dinner and Sing. Let’s start with Sunday Assembly, which is a quiet time lasting about 45 minutes where staff and campers offer reflections on what it means to be a Highlands guy, which is to say, a Worthwhile Man.

Today’s Assembly was great (I’m probably biased, since it was headed up by Andy Bachmann). He told stories about being a camper and the ways that he learned to live the “I’m Third” philosophy, not by walking around saying “I’m Third” all the time, but instead by modeling his behavior on older campers and staff members that took the time to mentor him when he was a camper.

He described his days back in cabin 25, when John Burnside took little Andy Bachmann under his wing. He’d invite him to go sailing with him, he’d invite him to be his buddy at free swim. And most importantly he’d let Andy twist his arm as he’d do an arm flip. (PS he probably had jeans like that guy, too)! Andy said he felt important because John was big and cool. And then he told about how he modeled that behavior when little Martin Miller first came to camp, by inviting him to be his buddy at swim and by inviting him to go sailing with him.

Those and the other stories Andy told got to me. It was hearing the names of guys that came as campers a long time ago – and who’s boys are now coming as campers! It was the idea of leading by example – through a time vortex! That’s one of the things that makes Highlands so special. I feel so lucky that I’m raising a FOURTH generation Highlands guy. I love that part of what makes MY kid so special is, in a way, John Burnside’s impact on Andy. Whew! Talk about “Pass[ing] it On.”

Couple all that the most gorgeous weather today, Turkey dinner and Sunday Night Sing, and you’ve got a recipe for general awesomeness. I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be here today. I know these boys are feeling that magic, too. It’s catching!

And on that note…

One Response

  1. Noli Matthieu says:
    June 30th, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Sunday’s assembly… John Burnside… Martin Miller… oh, this brings back such great souvenirs ! Last time I was in Camp Highlands was in 1990. Twenty three years later, I am still full of gratitude for all you brought me ! I sincerely hope I’ll be able to pass by in a near future….

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Tracy Bachmann | June 26, 2013

Socials, canoe trips and laser tag – all in a day’s work at Camp

We posted a little Facebook gallery yesterday titled, “What did YOU do today?” I tell you, these guys just GO here at Camp Highlands. And today’s no exception. It’s all in a day’s work.


Colts are off on their canoe trip today!

Today is “Division Day” at camp. That means Lois and the kitchen staff

get a much needed night off. After lunch the divisions split up and do things as a group, including preparing supper. So what are these guys up to tonight? Well, I just got to listen to the Seniors with the girls from Red Pine Camp do a scavenger hunt for the better part of the afternoon. They’ll make hamburgers for our lovely guests and then end the evening with a dance (!!). (side note: I caught my eight year old daughter spying on the whole situation, and my life flashed before my eyes!)

Juniors are in Eagle River playing laser tag, Cubs are on their overnight on a local lake and Colts took off this morning for their three-day canoe trip on an area chain of lakes. My 11 year old son is out with those guys, and I have to tell you, they were psyched!

This is where paper comes to die.

My desk: where paper comes to die.

We’ve had a quiet day in the office trying to catch up on everything. You should see my desk. It’s like a cyclone swept through. We’re posting photos and updating the social media outlets as much as we can – time to shut it down for the day! Enjoy!

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

One Response

  1. John Dingleberry says:
    June 26th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Nice blog,Tracy. I feel like I am at camp

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Tracy Bachmann | June 24, 2013

A roaring start to camp

Soccer at Camp Highlands

Soccer at Camp Highlands

I’m telling you, this weather is incredible. It’s the perfect way to start out a summer camping season. Warm, breezy (no bugs), sunny. Just awesome. I’ve seen boys sailing, playing tennis and soccer, skiing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, shooting hoops – and that was just on the walk from my cottage to the office! I’d say summer 2013 has come roaring in!

According to Lois, your boys ate 784 chicken tenders and over ten pounds of rice for lunch today, and they’ll have soup and sandwiches for supper.

I can hear the boys lining up for the store right now, and I just heard the swim bugle blow. I wish you could see and hear this. Happy boys, running and playing. It’s a sight to see.

Over the next few days they’ll be getting to know their cabin mates and their counselors. They’ll be stepping out of their comfort zones in one way or another. Even the older professional campers might be bunking with someone they aren’t crazy about, and guess what? They’ll learn to persevere and figure out how to manage. Some boys might realize that when you are really hungry, there is NOTHING better than meatloaf, and it’s so weird, because they thought they hated meatloaf. It’s the magic of camp, really.

Remember, we are already posting photos to the gallery. We sent you the password in the email earlier this week, or email me and I can give it to you. We do our best to get everyone up there! Keep checking the blog for updates, and if you haven’t liked us on Facebook, you’re missing out. (Check out the picture of the moon from last night!) I’ll email the cabin lists to you guys in the next couple days, in case you want to check out where your son ended up. And if you are on the Twitters, we are there too, posting random “overheard at camp” quotes and other nonsense. We’ll try and keep you in the know!

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

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Tracy Bachmann | June 22, 2013

The artful goodbye: How to say farewell to your child before camp

When you start to feel blue, imagine you boy doing this!

When you start to feel blue, imagine you boy doing this!

Tomorrow’s the big day. I know this because I got a calendar reminder today on my computer: “Boys arrive tomorrow.” Gee, thanks, I hadn’t noticed. While we here at CH HQ are getting ready to say hello to those boys, you are getting ready to say farewell. Here are some thoughts we have on saying good bye when you send your child to camp. Tomorrow.

1. Recognize that you will be as emotional, if not more, than your son. Being intuitive little creatures, they will pick up on your emotions. It’s important to be positive, even if you are feeling unsure and weepy. Crying or over-worry will undermine his confidence. Remind him that he *can do this*! Remind him you are just a letter away and that you love him and *believe* in him. Tell him you are excited for the experiences he’s going to have.

Or imagine him doing this!

Or imagine him doing this!

2. If you haven’t already discussed homesickness with him by now, go ahead and have that conversation. Tell him missing home is natural, and that you’d be sad if he didn’t miss you. Tell him to talk to his counselor if he’s feeling blue. Remind him that you aren’t going anywhere and you’ll be there at the end with open arms dying to hear all the, as one parent emailed me today said, “the usual amusing, heroic, enlightening, and eyebrow raising stories that the boys come home with.” (Remember we are well-versed in helping boys work through homesickness.) If you have any doubt, check out Michael Thompson’s book, Homesick and Happy. It’s GREAT. Also, I recently spoke with Michael Thompson on summer camp and these issues, and it’s available on podcast.

3. Keep it short and sweet. Make a plan ahead of time, so that there’s no surprise at 2:00 p.m. when you say, “OK buddy, we’re headed home.” If you’re taking the bus: Arrive at 9:15 – 9:30 a.m., check in with the counselor on duty at the bus, help your boy load his stuff on the bus. Make sure you’ve communicated any last minute instructions to the counselor and hang out until they move the boys on to the bus. Give him a big hug! Wave! Pat yourself on the back for keeping a stiff upper lip!

...or this!

…or this!

If you’re dropping him off at camp, tell him the plan. “First we’ll check in. Then we’ll make your bed. I’d like a tour of camp, and once we check in with the nurse, I’ll walk you back to your cabin and give you a hug from there.” Everyone likes to know what’s happening next (believe me, I have a two-year old, I know what I’m talking about). Knowing what comes next helps set him up for a confident start.

That’s it! Positive attitude, preparation and a plan. With those three things, that goodbye will be sweet and relatively painless.

We’ll Facebook it when the busses arrive and camp is fully underway. If your son is flying in, you’ll get a phone call from the counselor when they arrive.

See you tomorrow!

I ❤ CH // tracy b.


2 Responses

  1. Laura Gilkey says:
    July 6th, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Reading this AGAIN. And probably not the last time this week…

    • Augusto Cubillos says:
      June 21st, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Good advise, thank you Tracy!

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Tracy Bachmann | June 20, 2013

Communication at Camp

Dear Moms and Dads,

I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know a few things about communication at Camp. My name is Tracy Bachmann. I’m Andy’s wife and Mike and Sharon’s daughter-in-law (not to mention Judah, Stella and Remy’s mom). I am the person that you will be hearing from when you read our daily blog during camp. As a mom, I understand how important it is to feel connected! I’m in the office every day answering the phone, shepherding emails and making Camp Facebook updates. Communication is my passion! I’m also wearing the new hat of database wrangler (yippee kai yay), and I’m still learning the ins and outs of this great system. Please bear with us as we live through our first summer with CampMinder.

A few things I’d like you to know:

• Feel free to call or email me any time. Do not hesitate to ask for an update on your camper – I’m happy to make inquiries and give you a report. I am in the office all morning long, and much of the afternoon. If we are not at the phone, leave a message and we will call you back shortly.

• We make frequent blog posts all week long reporting on the weather, fun stuff going on at Camp, what the boys are eating for lunch and MORE. It’s a great way to feel connected to your camper, as well as a great way to relive the memories once he’s home from Camp.

• Sign in to the gallery on the website.  We upload photos often. We try our best to get as many faces as possible on there, if you don’t see your child don’t worry.

• If you’d like to email your son, please use our two-way email system through Bunk1. Just click on the “send an email” link on the home page of I can usually answer questions you have about this system, and their customer service is great.

• Like us on Facebook! We will be making daily posts there. Tell your friends and family! It’s a great way for them to stay connected with your camper, too!

• Follow us on Twitter @CampHighlands  and on Instagram too! (ok, full disclosure, I even have several Highlands Pinterest boards!

We so appreciate your son’s attendance at Camp Highlands. We try our best to keep you informed about what’s going on at Camp. If you have ideas about things you’d like us to report on, just let me know! I love hearing from parents, and am always available for a chat. If you have any concerns at all just give me a ring.

Tracy B.

P.S. I’ll be sending my 8 year old, Stella Plum, off to four weeks of camp in July. I completely understand the mix of excitement and apprehension about shipping a child off to camp. So, seriously, if you’re worried, please call me! I can run recon for you and let you know how that boy of yours is doing!


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