Andy Bachmann | July 29, 2016

PEARLS OF LAUGHTER

One of my absolute favorite things about camp is the laughter. I think I laugh harder and more often here than I do anywhere else.

We’ve reached that time of the season where the smiles come easy, the nods are affirming and everyone leans on the best of intentions in our interactions with one another. It’s a special time of year.

Today I was walking around and I was caught off guard by what I suddenly noticed. Friendship. All around. Everybody’s got a buddy. There are packs of boys lumbering and strutting around with the calm cool confidence of a boy surrounded by his pals. The little guys sprint as a posse to the next great thing. Whether it’s the last notes of the mess call at flag raising that mark the “GO!” of the sprint to the dining hall, or the bugle call announcing free time (and store time!), there is an urgency to EVERYTHING for pretty much all of them. And it’s awesome.

But what caught me off guard was when I realized that back home, there aren’t packs of pals. There may be a few if you’re lucky. Maybe one “best bud” to yuck around with. But not packs like this. Our guys are surrounded by fellows who will be their best friends their whole life long. And here, in this week, at this time of the season, they are so comfortable, so casual and so cool just hanging out. And when they do, they laugh. And that laughter is a beautiful thing to hear.

How lucky we are.

Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

 

1916 or 2016? It's all the same.

1916 or 2016? It’s all the same.

IMG_0262

These guys will be pals for a long, long time!

One Response

  1. carol v bachmann says:
    July 31st, 2016 at 12:10 am

    So true Andy..the laughter is what Lukas’s counselor loves when he writes to us about the cabin. Thanks to Camp!! Carol

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Andy Bachmann | July 19, 2016

FULL MOON FEVER

There is something magical about the full moon this time of year. It peeks up above the treeline about the time the fellows are headed down for evening dip. The beautiful skies the last few days, combined with the magical silver bridge that starts small but stretches across the water as the night grows is a wonder to behold.

On Sunday night during our brief intermission at Sunday Night Sing, the sun broke out of the clouds and an incredible double rainbow appeared above Hooks Point. Sunday would have been my Dad’s 76th birthday, and it definitely felt like a warm greeting from the man who has meant so much to this place. So I did what I figured he’d do. We all ran outside to ooh and ahh at the skies before heading back in for the second half.

Life has shifted into a gentle flow around camp. The boys are in the routine; the new guys aren’t as baffled by all those bugle calls and the kids who were proclaiming to be homesick are having a harder and harder time proving they’re not having a blast. Most cabins have made it through all our activities, and some new favorites are popping up. It’s great to watch these guys go from Archery to Ultimate Frisbee to Water Skiing to Crafts. Yet another reminder how awesome camp can be.

Most of our trips are either out and back, out on the trail or about to head out. Seniors are in Pictured Rocks, Isle Royale and about to head out to the Boundary Waters and Apostle Islands. This Wednesday Cubbies head out for their second overnight camping trip of the term. This time they go to Pallate Lake, a place Kent Overbey proclaims to be one of the best campsites in the northwoods.

Life is good up north.

2 Responses

  1. John Zokovitch says:
    July 19th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Love the posts Andy. You do a nice job of painting the picture so that it almost feels like being there. Glad too for that rainbow, a message from your dad.

  2. Kris Milner says:
    July 19th, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Up North is the best! Sorry John will not be doing it this year, but happy that his sister Kate is a counselor at Clearwater! John’s working in an accounting job in Ft Worth this summer, and I get to visit him next weekend!. Things evolve

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Tracy Bachmann | July 10, 2016

Adventure is Worthwhile in itself

adventureWho wouldn’t want their child to have a real-life adventure?

Your boys have arrived and the fun, challenges, self-discovery and friendships begin exactly…NOW.

The adventure starts the minute boys get off the bus and counselors and campers alike swoop in, grab trunks and bags and things are delivered to cabins in about 6 minutes flat. Boys who ride the bus will make their beds and head to the infirmary to check in with our two outstanding nursing team members Madi K. and Nathanial B. The bugle will blow (yes, we still use a real, live bugle at Highlands) for supper at 5:50 and then we’ll settle down to the traditional first night’s supper of spaghetti and meatballs. It’s a crowd pleaser!

Tonight the guys will play division games and get to know each other a little bit. Andy has a rule that boys can’t “throw balls at each other” until they know each other’s names. So the games tonight are all about FUN and team building. After games, they’ll get a lay-of-the-land and hear the basic rules of camp. We sweeten the deal with campfires and s’mores. At 9 o’clock, taps will play and the guys will head to bed.

I have to admit, the weather is a little glum (I’m from Florida, so I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to the temp!). But tomorrow we’re expecting 87° weather, so we’ll bundle up tonight and wake up to the best kind of camp weather. Warm and sunny!

You can find all the passwords you’ll need for the gallery and instructions for how to use the email system in the Highlands Handbook (or in one of the many emails you’ve probably gotten from me). You might also want to take a look at our Instagram account to take a peek at the hidden corners of Highlands. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us!

Andy and I are so thrilled to have your boys with us. They are each unique, creative, energetic, brilliant creatures – 130 of them – that will make second term amazing. Thank you for sharing them with the Highlands family!

I ♥ CH!

tracy b.

One Response

  1. carol v bachmann says:
    July 11th, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the first blog here Tracy! Love to hear the news:)) Wish I were there for some adventure!!

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Andy Bachmann | July 5, 2016

A CELEBRATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Flag in Dining Hall

Our flag from 1908 (Camp was 8 years old by then!) hangs proudly in the dining room

The Fourth of July is a little funny around here. Really, it’s just like any other day–except that we have the boys board buses to head into Sayner for a front row seat at the Sayner firework display. Although it’s SUPPOSED to be a surprise, truth is most of them already know. But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Yesterday morning I had an all camp contest to see who could tell me the year and presiding President was when the flag that hangs in our Dining Hall hung over the capitol. There are 46 stars.

Believe it or not, a number figured it out. Whether it is because they are history buffs (which a few folks are) or because they remembered from our Teddy Roosevelt Theme Day last year, in total 14 boys got it right. (The answer is 1908, Teddy Roosevelt; but it’s special because the 46th state was admitted to the Union on the 4th of July of that year. Cool, huh?)

Here at Camp Highlands we celebrate the gifts of independence. Not in a, “Rah, Yay, America!” way, but in a way that is perhaps a little more in tune with the character of independence that fostered such actions to make this country great so many years ago. The gift of self-rule; self-control and personal responsibility are high on our list of what celebrating independence is all about.

Another contest I had (and will continue to have until Wednesday noon) is to see who can memorize our 18 Honor Camper Qualities and recite them in front of everyone in the Dining Hall. It’s a daunting feat; one that Hans F., Brewster H., Declan M., Jack R. and Quinn B. have already taken on, and accomplished. Impressive acts of initiative and leadership that are serving to inspire us all.

This is the kind of independence we cherish at Camp Highlands. When young men aren’t afraid to take on a task and see it through to completion, for the honor, pride (and ice cream) the accomplishment merits.

How lucky we are.

Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

AB

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Andy Bachmann | June 29, 2016

ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE

This morning, walking up to flag raising I overheard one of our staff guys comment to a young camper as he was gazing out over the boating bay, “Another day in paradise, eh?” The young man simply grinned and nodded. Another day in paradise, indeed.

It’s been quite a week at Camp Highlands. This past Saturday we had our 4th of July Army/Navy Track Meet (on the 25th of June…don’t ask…) where it was LITERALLY neck and neck the entire time, INCLUDING our final lap on our final relay which saw an absolute TIE at the finish line, resulting in the first ever TIE of the track meet. At the announcement in the Dining Hall, with the anxious Admiral Armstrong and General Fox waiting to hear who would bear the brunt of the challenge, what I thought would be a disappointing announcement actually produced the opposite result. The hall erupted in cheers, and a spontaneous chant of, “Highlands! Highlands! Highlands! We’re all friends!” Everyone was thrilled—and the General and Admiral thought it only fair that they BOTH participate in the challenge. Go Highlands!

On Sunday at our Assembly, after telling the boys the story of I’m Third, we had some powerful testimonies from some of our men from Cabin One. It was great. Then, with a heavy heart I inducted Ross Freeland into the Camp Highlands Hall of Fame, and announced that we have renamed our ball fields, “Freeland Field.”

And then we added a new Honor Camper Quality to our list of 17. The new quality added is one that is exemplified in the I’m Third motto. This trait encourages us to measure our sense of self esteem and pride against a higher moral code; a moral code that places our value in the ways in which we act and interact with the world around us, not by the amount of “likes” we get on our selfies.

Truth is we are flawed people; we make mistakes and fall short; we let our vanity take advantage of our morals, and our desires overcome our hopes and visions. And that is just part of who we are. Which is why this value is a good one to have.
This value affirms us in our brokenness, and invites us to give life a go again; to try, and to fail, and to try again.

So we add our 18th honor camper quality. It is, “Humility.”
Author CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Contrary to what popular culture may want us to believe, we believe that the greatest rewards in this life come from our ability to live well, love others and be of good service. And this trait is the cornerstone to understanding that and living into it well. And this place is one where we are affirmed in our willingness to try again, to be good to one another, and to have a great time while doing it. Another beautiful day in paradise, indeed.

Better. Wortwhile. Highlands.

2 Responses

  1. John Zokovitch says:
    June 29th, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Love this post Andy. I know how much Johnny thought of Ross and I am glad he will think of him every time he sets foot onto Freeland Field. I’m so thankful for you, your staff and family, and everyone at Camp Highlands.

  2. LIz powell says:
    October 7th, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Nicely said Andy. I love how you brought the number of likes into their reality in contrast to what we “mature” and broken adults know about leading a worthwhile life.

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