Archive for the ‘Sunday Assembly’ Category

Tracy Bachmann | July 1, 2017

Strong Foundations

Cairns – not just a pile of rocks.

Several cairns have popped up around camp. At it’s most basic, a cairn is a pile of stones. But cairns have meanings other than *just a pile of rocks. Cairns mark the trail for our guys hiking across Isle Royale right now. Cairns can be found on the beaches of Lake Superior, possibly denoting a place or a time of significance for somebody. And at last week’s Sunday assembly, I talked about how our honor camper qualities and our camp motto can serve as cairns or wayshowers for us in our time at Highlands—and beyond. Now, we’ve got all these rock piles around camp. Which I love.

It’s a nice reminder that these guys aren’t just running around, tossing Frisbees and balls, paddling canoes and kayaks, sailing or skiing across the lake, or jumping in to the chilly waters for kicks. It shows that they’re also taking to heart the things that make camp so worthwhile. They’re recognizing that the words, “if he will, he can” aren’t just words; they’re goals accomplished, new friends made, new experiences tried. They’re building their own little way showers, using the stones of experience and opportunity to become a better, worthwhile, Highlands man. And they’re doing it all with a big ol’ grin on their faces.

Better, Worthwhile, Highlands.

– Andy

And now for some general updates…

We’re heading into our last week of first term, if you can believe it! Our trippers start to return this weekend – the Seniors have been hiking on Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks, sailing on Lake Superior and canoeing in the Boundary Waters. Juniors have been hiking in the Porcupine Mountains and will all return by this afternoon. If your kid is anything like ours, trip stories will trickle out over the coming year – it’s one of my favorite things about Camp.

Today’s theme day is Hobbit Day! The weather is gorgeous this morning – sunny, clear and calm. A great day for waterskiing. Tuesday night we’ll head into Sayner for the fireworks show, Wednesday night is Stunt Night, Thursday is the Kerchief Ceremony and then….we’re on to Friday and the final picnic and banquet!

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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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Tracy Bachmann | June 28, 2015

Whaddaweek!

Division Daydreams

What an amazing first week we’ve had! Boys have had so many new and fun experiences. Wednesday was Division Day, (a.k.a. cook’s night off). Boys hang out as a division and have great time. Cubs went on an overnight campout on a local lake. Colts were all out on their 3-day canoe trip. Juniors got to go out of camp to play laser tag and get ice-cream at the Corner Store. Seniors canoed and kayaked en masse all to the way down the lake to Sayner where they ate a picnic supper and played softball in town.

Senior Social Surprise

Thursday we surprised the Senior boys by going over to one of our fantastic sister camps, Red Pine for a social. It’s been reported to me that staff waits to break the news to the guys right up until they are about ready to go. Apparently it helps with nerves and cuts down on excessive cologne use (ha!).

On Track for Fun

IMG_0633

Many young men have learned to love track at Highlands.

Saturday we celebrated our all-camp Track Meet. We had an incredible day. Perfect weather, really, warm and sunny, cool in the shade. Each boy participated in all events and when the points were tallied up, Army was a clear victor. The afternoon brought clubs, where boys could sign up for different activities ranging from slack line to rocket building. The day wrapped up with a picnic on Junior Hill, followed by the world-famous Games on the Hill. I didn’t run in any event, didn’t play any game and I fell into a puddle of exhaustion at the end of the day!

Sunday Reflections

Lucky for us Sundays are very mellow around Highlands. After a delicious breakfast of egg casserole, fruit and cinnamon swirl coffee cake, boys took care of cabin chores, had one activity period and then headed off to soap swim. Boys put on their nice white Highlands t-shirt and headed up to Sunday Assembly. They look so handsome quietly lined up on the Hill before filing into the clubhouse.

Assembly is a great time to reflect on the accomplishments of the week. Andy posed the question, “Who tried something new this week?” to the boys and I’d guess 85% of the room stood up. A few boys shared what they tried: Cooper T. shared he tired the adventure ropes course, Drew L. taught lacrosse by himself, Michael C. slalom skied for the first time, Mason W. learned to bridge playing cards (!!) and Tanner S. kayaked for the first time. I’d say the new experiences covered the gamut.

Hula-hoop of Safety

Andy talked a good bit about our hula-hoop of safety and how we’ve all had to step out of that hoop slightly this first week of camp. It’s in this next “hard-but-safe-ring” where we are challenged and learn the most. Boys were tasked with three things this week: to continue trying new things, to “be somebody,” (ask your camper about what this means) and to put the other fellow before ourselves. Probably good advice for all of us!

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

One Response

  1. Laura Robertson says:
    June 28th, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Whaddasummary! thanks for sharing the fun details of camp – love the photos too. See you in 11 days when I’ll experience the adventure first-hand.

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Tracy Bachmann | August 3, 2014

Strength in Failure

It’s official. We’re in our last week here at Camp. It’s a series of “lasts” now. The last turkey supper (my waistline will be happy about that), the last Sunday Night Sing, the last Sunday Assembly.

Andy and Ross went out with a bang today during Assembly. Our discussion was about vulnerability and failure. Wait, what? Aren’t we here to make your boys into strong young men? Failure?

Yes.

Boys shared their greatest achievement at camp and what else they'd like to accomplish this summer.

Boys shared their greatest achievement at camp and what else they’d like to accomplish this summer.

We talked about how through failure and perseverance comes experience and ultimately success. It teaches us GRIT. Falling down on skis over and over again can be frustrating. Judah B. shared how he’s been going for his “drop a ski” Achievement Credit (AC) for two years. He did it last week, and this week he easily got his “deep-water slalom AC.” Success­–after a lot of falling down. Charlie Z. shared his experiences in baseball this summer working on a particularly difficult AC. Ross would hit the highest fly ball possible and Charlie had to catch it. It took him try after try to do it. Lots of failure there. But guess what? He did it.

So often we think that if we fall down we’ve failed. In our culture of Facebook bragging and Instagram showoffing we don’t want to admit when things don’t go quite right. But your boys heard it loud and clear today. Fail! Do it often! Get back up! Try again! Andy even made us chant it: “Don’t give up, don’t give up. You can do it. Try again.” (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something along those lines!)

Your guys are out running around today, making the most of their last few days at Highlands. Tomorrow will be the last regular day of camp. Tuesday is Division Day, Wednesday will bring us the stunt show, Thursday the Kerchief Ceremony and Friday… well, you know, Friday’s the end. Saturday morning by 9 a.m. camp will quiet.

We get let down easy, though! We don’t have to go right back to it, thankfully, as Friends and Family Camp starts on Saturday evening!

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

Things you’ll need to know for these coming days:

Friday’s festivities: Please arrive at 3 p.m. for some end of term fun. The picnic supper is on Junior Hill at 6 p.m. followed by the banquet ceremonies in the dining room and wrapping up about 8:30.

If your child is traveling by car you may take him home that night, or you may pick him up in the morning at 9 a.m.

If your child is traveling by bus, he’ll be on his way by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. The bus will arrive in Madison at the Pinecone Shell at 1 p.m. The bus reaches Rockford at 2:15 p.m. and then depending on traffic is scheduled to arrive at O’Hare

Airport about 3:30 p.m. Once boys are dropped off at the airport the bus travels over to the O’Hare Oasis and should arrive between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m.

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Tracy Bachmann | July 27, 2014

Highlands Time

Whew!! What a weekend! Have you had a chance to look through the gallery? Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Hot and sunny. It may have been the best day all summer! The Steeplechase, Senior Carnival and Games on the Hill were EPIC. Call me crazy, but it’s a day like yesterday that really makes camp feel like a big family. We are bonded after participating in decades-old traditions. One hundred and eleven. Now that’s a birthday, you guys. We did our very best to celebrate in style!

The biggest Seniors start off the race with a bang.

The biggest Seniors start off the race with a bang.

Today it seems like someone must have known that we were tired and gave us a cool, quiet and intermittently rainy day. The kind of day that makes turkey dinner taste especially good!

During Sunday Assembly, we got to take a look at some old medium-format photos of camp from *way* back in the day. Andy walked us through a little history of the first few summers at camp, when the boys simply felled trees and cleared the space for what is now Junior Hill (not sure what that activity would have been named. Lumberjacking?). You might find the history of camp interesting, too, and if you haven’t already, take a look at the Highlands Archives for all sorts of fascinating stories about former campers and staff members.

After our brief history lesson Shaun Trenholm offered a reflection on the art of saying “thank you” in a letter. Shaun’s words remind me how lucky we are to know each other here at Camp and how each one of us has something unique and important to offer to the group. Shaun’s legacy at Highlands is legendary. He started Highlands as a camper in 1968 and then started coming back as a counselor in 1984. I’ve not met many people that illustrate the Highlands Honor Camper Qualities so well. THANK YOU Shaun for all that you do for Highlands!

After the noon meal, we enjoyed an extended rest hour. Then boys enjoyed open activities this afternoon. The best thing about Sunday, though, is Sing. The fun just keeps on coming!

We are looking forward to the week ahead. Week three of four, my favorite week at camp. The boys know each other now, and real friendships have developed. Many guys have been on their trip. They have attended all the activities and had the opportunity to experience trial and failure and then…success! I am incredibly happy that *my* kid has the time and space to work on dropping a ski. He’s been at it for two whole summers, and he got very close on Friday. He’ll get assigned to skiing this week, and he’ll turn up at free-time and I bet he is slaloming by this Friday. That’s the true gift of four weeks at Camp. Time and space to figure out what you are good at, and what you would like to improve upon.

These boys amaze me. From the Cub that’s learning to repel in Adventure, to the Senior that’s hiking 100 miles across Isle Royale – I’m inspired by them. I’m inspired by our counselors that have the patience to teach and coach them. I’m inspired by the opportunities for leadership our older campers have.

Your boys will have four (or maybe seven) weeks to play, grow, learn, stretch and lead. And Camp has had 111 years to play, grow, learn, stretch and lead.

How lucky we are.

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

One Response

  1. Enrique Azcarraga says:
    July 27th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Its been around 40 years since I was a Highlands camper. The experiences I had and what I learned then, will allways be a part of whom I am today.
    111 years is a lot, but there are surely more to come.

    Enrique Azcarraga
    70’s camper

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